Thursday 23 January 2020

My Pet: Biscuit-loving Max is in dog heaven

Max, the therapy dog
Max, the therapy dog

Marian Greer Murphy

This beautiful white-haired Japanese Spitz began life on a puppy farm. He was rescued by a kind lady, and adopted by our son and his wife. They moved abroad, so we fell in love and my husband and I and two cats became his new family.

He came in, became boss and immediately became our burglar alarm. He hated walking on our road, disliked other dogs and naughty boys but loved our second son and little girls who called him a "fluffy white cloud".

He was kind and sweet with huge brown eyes that could look deep into your soul.

He had a job - yes, he became a therapy dog in our local nursing home - where for seven years he gave so much love and care. He gave special attention to elderly residents in bed, and when he gave a special hug, we knew that he was saying goodbye, as if he were psychic.

He watched TV, one favourite programme being sheep dog trials. Afterwards he would fall asleep with his legs in the air and he would snore. He sure was a funny sight.

He understood many words - an important word being 'biscuit', his favourite ones were ginger nut and shortbread.

As I have MS, he became my minder. He slept on my bed and last thing every night he checked that I was ready for bed before going to sleep. He loved having his hair brushed and I kept his hair. A talented lady in Sligo used that wool to knit a lovely cardigan for our new grand-daughter whom he saw wearing it. He wasn't sure what she was. We have a piece of him always.

He loved his special place in Sligo - it was peaceful and quiet. He chased swans and walked on the soft sand. He sat by the river - it was heaven to him!

One day we noticed him staring into space and he didn't greet us any more when we came home, wanted to be alone and seemed a bit blind. He didn't care about food and we felt we were losing our pal. A vet diagnosed a virus but Max wouldn't take medication. We knew that last night the end was near so we took him out to see the full moon and the Milky Way. A falling star lit the sky so we told our friend, 'you may go'. We lay him on his blanket and he closed his lovely eyes and went to sleep for the last time. He was buried by the river in his favourite spot on July 24, 2017. If there is a dog heaven, Max is in it!

Marian Greer Murphy, Ratoath, Co Meath

Name: Max

Finest hour: Every Wednesday at 2.30, visiting the 'home'

Likes: Shortbread

Dislikes: Other dogs and cats

* If you would like your pet featured in this column please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET

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