There once was a man who desperately wanted a dog. For five years he badgered his wife. A lovely lady, but unwilling to budge. Until one day when she finally realized this issue was not going away. So when the man’s in-laws asked about something special to give him as a seminary graduation present, the lovely lady surprised even herself by telling them he really wanted a dog.
And it was so.
The man, ecstatic over the gift, began right away researching breeders, selecting the very best from a champion line of show dogs. Soon after the little yellow lab puppy was born, the date of the man’s precious daughter’s second birthday in August 2000.
The man who loved the movie Gladiator named the dog after the hero, Maximus. And on an October day, little Maximus came home with the man and so his story began.
From that day forward, the man and his daughter were smitten by their new companion.
The lovely lady did think he was adorable though not amused when she found one of her tall black boots chewed up. But other than puppy-stage chewing and digging, he proved to be a very obedient dog. Never jumping up on guests or hardly even barking.
His sole desire was to just be next to the man who he adored or to play with the precious little girl.
Then when he was not even a year old he happily wagged his tail and welcomed another playmate.
A playmate who he let climb all over him. But Maximus remained gentle, protective and loving through it all.
And in a couple more years, when a third playmate arrived with the lovely lady feeling maxed out, Maximus’ motto remained, “the more the merrier”.
Oh, to be a dog!
The children grew, but Maximus seemed to always stay the same. A constant presence. A familiarity. A loyal companion.
For years Maximus laid on the floor next to the precious little girl’s bed until she was sleeping peacefully before moving to his own dog bed in his master’s bedroom. And then every morning it was the lovely lady who was the dog’s best friend. A smart one, as Maximus knew she was up first so next to her bedside he would move about 5am.
But his one true love has always been the man. When the man was outside in the yard, so was Maximus laying near by. And when then man worked, Maximus laid at his feet in the office. If the man got up for a drink, he followed. While endearing, it led to the phrase, “Be your own dog!”
But now as we come to the end of era. An era that has spanned 13 1/2 years, the man will miss that wagging tail behind him. The lovely lady may not know what to do with all that extra time not having to vacuum up the fur :). The boy who feeds him at 5 pm won’t have him waiting under foot. It will just be one sad Fat Cat.
And for the precious little girl and the boys, who don’t know a day without him, they will hold on to his memory. A marker of their fleeting childhood.