I cried on the way to work today. I cried for my daughters, gay and straight, for my granddaughter and my nieces. I cried for all the beautiful LGBTQ people I know, who are terrified of losing everything. I cried for myself and for every woman who has ever been sexually harassed, abused, demeaned, raped or made to feel that she’s somehow less because of her gender.
I cried today for all the people who came here, to America, looking for a better life for themselves and their children. For the people of all races, colors, genders, and religions who have fought and struggled for basic human rights.
I cried for the people who believe that the man they elected cares about them, because if you don’t look like him, if you are not a rich, white, middle-aged male, he really doesn’t.
I cried because yesterday America decided that none of that matters.
The vet called today. She told me that she had Max’s ashes ready for us.
We adopted Max when he was 10 months old. I wasn’t sure I wanted a German Shepherd, but my husband did. I agreed that if he could find a GSD at a shelter we would talk about adopting it. So one day on a whim, he stopped at the local animal shelter with our two youngest in tow; and there he was. He’d just been brought in as a stray a few days before, so he wasn’t even available for adoption yet. The kids begged and pleaded so I agreed to go see him.We waited the required few days and set up a “meet and greet”. Usually the shelter staff will name the animals brought in, but he hadn’t been there long enough. They put us in a small room and went to get him. When they brought him in he didn’t even hesitate, he just ran right over to me, put his paws up on my shoulder and gave me a hug, tail wagging furiously. Somehow he knew I was the one he had to win over. I looked at my husband and said “His name is Max.”. The poor guy was so skinny, he must have been on the streets for quite awhile. But he was smart and sweet and gentle, and he stole my heart.
We were lucky, and so blessed. We had 16 years with Max. Most German Shepherds have a life span of 10-12 years. For most of those years he was happy and healthy. He didn’t slow down until he was almost 14. The vet was always amazed and would tell us “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it!” We didn’t do anything special, we just loved him. That was easy to do.
I could talk forever about Max, about how intelligent he was, or how patient he was with the kids. How he never growled or barked or nipped at them, even when our granddaughter rubbed petroleum jelly all over him. But I would never be able to convey what a wonderful dog he was. Max gave us so much love and trust that letting him go was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I wanted to share all my memories of Max, but I’m not quite ready to let them go. So I’ll share them a little at a time, when I’m missing him the most.
Two weeks ago today, our buddy Max crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Tonight he’ll be coming home for good.