I spent the majority of last night searching for my dog, Max. He’s not the most creatively-named animal, but as dog specimens go, he’s tops. My first encounter with Max was actually over the phone. My wife had called (way back when we had a land line!) to say that she was considering adopting a dog from a nearby animal rescue.
She told me she’d found one she really liked, but that he was a little different. What followed (accompanied by barking in the background) was a grab-bag of worst-possible pet descriptors– a large, unfixed male dalmatian; two different colored eyes; abandoned as a chicken-killer; previously hit by a truck.
She might as well have said she wanted to adopt a potentially blind, crippled version of Cujo; and I advised against it. With a three-year-old in the house, every negative story I’d heard about dalmatians being as quick to bite as they are to go deaf, I just didn’t see the draw.
Boy, was I wrong.
In the five years I’ve had this wonky-legged beast, he’s been one of the best dogs ever. He’s relaxed; enjoys taking walks; can retrieve a ball; has champion slobber genes; and will happily wait three days to defecate while on a car trip, no matter what you feed him.
I can easily imagine Max speaking with a high-class British accent, and know from experience that if you mount a teddy bear to his back like a cowboy, he will proudly strut his stuff around the neighborhood– even in my daughter’s old pink-flowered capris. It’s not metrosexuality, it’s pure balls.
(And don’t get me started on his balls. This dog is half-tanuki, no kidding.)
I know that when you take Max for a walk, every kid wants to pet him… right up until Kid’s mommy sees his pit-like head, and pulls lil’ Junior back:
“Leave the doggy alone,” they plead, knowing that Max could eat two kids this size for a snack. “Let’s go home and see Rags, okay?”
You go home to Rags! I’ve got Max. He’s the one who sits in his yard, at attention as my wife comes home. He could easily walk through the fencing, but he seems to know that he’s got a nice thing going, what with his personal living quarters being nearly twice the size of any efficiency apartment.
Max has been to more U.S. States than most adults, and has given the Fear to panhandlers and window-cleaning bums in half of them. Hotel maids won’t come near the door, and you better believe he gets the lobby elevator all to himself. As part of our ongoing Max-is-the-Best Outreach program, we’ve encouraged him to make his mark on fire hydrants from Lynchburg, Mississippi to Las Vegas, Nevada.
You can imagine how I felt last evening when I went to check on him, and he wasn’t there. The door to his barn was open, the concrete block by the door was missing, and Max was nowhere in sight! Within minutes, my wife and I were out searching– we drove all over town, wondering why our “elephant on a string” would run away, especially in the middle of a thunderstorm.
That’s when it dawned on me… someone must have stolen him. Barn doors don’t blow open against the wind. Concrete blocks don’t just disappear. Happy dogs who are reluctant to leave their couch on a nice day surely don’t walk out into bad weather. By this time, it had been hours. We had contacted the police, the local convenience store, and questioned every person we saw on the street. We had even taken a drive to a nearby town, where we had previously heard rumors about dog fighting, taking a headlight-less drive into someone’s backyard to scout around for our beloved furry family member.
The possibility that I might never see Max again hit me hard. I didn’t want to picture him, frightened and alone, being tortured for some redneck’s kicks. I was in despair when we got a text message from the folks who ran the convenience store– they had Max, could we pick him up?
I hit the gas, and blew a red light. 1 AM, who cares? My Max was alive! The couple had found Max wandering in the street across town, miles from our home. Pretty weird for a dog who has never run away, or chased an animal (except one donkey, but that’s another story) during the five years I’ve known him! My suspicion is that someone attempted to steal Max, but couldn’t get away with it.
Max is back home now, and as happy as ever. Following his bath today, I took some photos of him. The camera makes his eyes the wrong color, but the I think the total magnificence of Max comes through just fine. Take care, –DaveX