You were the much wanted family pet, especially by Steven who you were a companion to. At a time when he was having problems at school and very sad, I was compelled to give in and let him have a four legged friend of his own. You fulfilled your role perfectly, although there were a few teething problems at first.
We decided to go to Battersea dogs home and I remember when I first saw you, sitting in your pen quietly and patiently while all around you were making such a din. Ross spotted you first and when we approached you, through the bars of the pen, you lifted your neck for us to stroke and you fixed us with your big brown eyes and I knew you were the one for us.
We had to make sure though, so after taking a look around all of the other dogs we came back for you. There you were, still waiting patiently. One more test for you to complete, we had to make sure you were good with cats as we had two at home already. You were taken upstairs to where the stray cats were housed and came nose to nose with a black fluffy kitten without chasing it.
So far, so good, little did we know that you had tricked us; for when we got you home and you bumped into Tiger, our cat, by the back door, you chased him straight down the garden and up a tree! Poor Tiger, he was of a nervous disposition already and wasn’t expecting to be faced with this brute of a dog living in his house with a penchant to chase anything that moved.
Cats were not the only thing you like chasing. Trains were one of your favourites, you used to go over the local Rec and Beverley Park where the railway line ran alongside and every time a train came along you couldn’t help but chase it. But balls were your favourite, by a long way. You lived for your balls being thrown for you to retrieve. You were relentless and used to run like a greyhound, you were so fast. In the garden you would bring the ball back each time all wet and muddy from dust and dribble and drop it down by my feet to have it thrown yet again. You never tired.
You learned to live with the cats eventually and they managed to get their own back a few times by cornering you, hissing and spitting between them, giving you many a bloody nose where they had swiped you with their claws; but I’m sure you deserved it.
You all used to fight for my attention, Tiger, Lucky and you to see who could get on my lap first when I eventually sat down in the evening. I have a photo of you, me and Tiger sitting on the settee with your bums almost together, facing different directions and you look so scared and sheepish in case Tiger lashed out at you but he didn’t and I had to get a picture of this rare occasion. It never happened again.
You liked Cassie, auntie Tracy’s Jack Russell. We used to look after her sometimes and she ran you ragged, she especially liked to chew your ears and you let her, you old softie.
Steven’s friend Liam had two dogs as well – Sabre and Samson who you used to go walking with to the farm until they moved away.
That was a few years ago now and you haven’t been for many walks lately, not even to the farm with Steve. The walks to the woods with us all stopped a long time ago when it was clear that your legs were giving in; that last time we went we had to lift you back into the car.
So now you are asleep, on a perfect summer’s evening, when you met your end at six pm on May 22nd 2012 aged 16. Goodbye, dear Max we will miss you.
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