to the max

A few years ago my son Alex became friends with Max, who was old, smallish and stout, and had a bad heart. Alex walked around the neighborhood with Max every day, visiting neighbors and generally nosing into everybody’s business. Every now and then, Max fainted—passed out because his heart stopped—and Alex shook him to revive him and they continued with their walk, after which they came home so Max could visit. Max was the most personable dog we have ever met.

One weekend Alex invited Max to sleep over. Max’s owner brought a bed, food, and a water bowl and said good night.

But Max was not a great house guest. He sat in front of the refrigerator and stared while I cooked dinner. He wanted our lunch meat. He was not happy with tap water. He would not let anyone pick him up. He howled when people played musical instruments.  And he growled at the TV.  Max was a curmudgeon.

At bedtime, Max wandered from bed to bed, staying an hour here, an hour there.

photo courtesy
photo courtesy

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but sometime very late I woke up to someone yapping in my bathroom.  He was yapping just enough for me to hear because if he had yapped any louder he would have woken everyone else up.

So I got out of bed to see what Max’s problem was.

Max yelped when he saw me.  He was stuck in the soaking tub.

I reached in and picked him up—which was OK only as long as it took to be rescued, growl at the tub, and trot down the dark hallway.  That was fine with me because Max was certainly old enough to take care of himself.

The next morning, we found lots of little “care packages” that Max had deposited throughout the house during the night.

Alex tried taking him out for a walk, but Max had other plans and posted himself in front of the refrigerator and growled for lunch meat until lunchtime. Then we packed him up and sent him home for dinner at his own house.

The next day Alex and Max continued their walks through the neighborhood and remained the best of friends and are now the best of memories.

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