We put Max down just a few hours after I published Friday's post. It was a horrible, scrambling-type decision, but Max was no longer declining by the day. He was fading by the hour. The at-home vet squeezed us into her already fully-booked day and said she'd be there as soon as possible.
Jason spent a quiet hour one-on-one with Max saying goodbye (Max was always extra-ultra-special to him), then loaded the kids and Beau up in the car and drove them to a playground. Unlike our final pleasant days with Ceiba, the boys had almost zero notice or time to process this loss. They knew Max was sick and probably wouldn't be around much longer, but it was awful to tell them that "not much longer" was basically boiling down to "15 minutes, please give him a kiss and then put on your shoes."
I was the only one holding him when he passed. I sobbed into his head, handed his tiny shell over to the vet, and then sat alone in the house until all my boys came home, completely numb with shock and grief.
Ceiba at least had a "HEY STOP THAT" reaction to the initial sedative shot, and its effects on her were visible. She yawned and bobbed her head, then slowly curled up in the crook of my arm and fell asleep.
Max didn't even flinch. And there was really no difference between pre-sedative Max and post. He was already so out of it. I feel awful that we waited so long -- honestly he probably should have gone weeks ago, to spare him this final, brutal decline. Typical cat stoicism mixed with stupid human denial. We loved that cat so fucking much. No matter how old he got it was just never going to be enough. I miss him so, so much and nothing feels right without him.
I would not be here typing these words, though, if it weren't for Beau. I would not be upright or even close to functional. I never, ever considered that I would lose both my pets so close together, and while there were DEFINITELY times when I felt really guilty about getting a new dog so soon (unfair to Max and a betrayal of Ceiba), I cannot even imagine how awful I would feel right now without him.
Beau (aka Bobo, Bowie, Beau Dameron) is amazing, by the way. He's just...the canine embodiment of the phrase I CAN'T EVEN.
We don't even know half of what this dog has been through, and yet from the moment we brought him into our home he was just like, "Okay, you are all my people now. I will love you and protect you and do whatever I can to please you. Please to let me crawl up your body to lick your entire head for the next 20 minutes." His sweet resilience and capacity to love and trust again makes my chest ache, in a good way, a healing way.
He certainly has his quirks (he's a runnnnnnner, OMFG, invisible fence here we come), and we are getting little hints here and there about what his early situation was possibly like. (If he is sleeping on one of the boys' beds, only I can order him off or pick him up; Jason triggers an aggressive and protective reflex. He loves Jason and doesn't have any problems with other men in general, but there's just something about that particular sleeping-kids-in-the-bed scenario. Which. Shudder.) He gets super upset when any of us leave, and anxious if I'm out of his sight for even a second. And while he does very well in his crate at night, he's my little shaggy shadow most of the day.
But he's learning, slowly, that we always come back. We're always happy to see him and cuddle and play with him. He will always have food and toys and treats and no one is going to steal any of it from him. This is your forever home, and we promise it's gonna be a good one.
Otherwise, he is very smart and playful and super well-behaved. If you have a lap, he would like to sit on it, please. Our vet gave him a clean bill of health, confirmed his age as likely three, his mix as probably all various terrier breeds, and his current weight (16, up from barely 13 when rescued) as pretty much ideal. House-training and general obedience? Perfection. Interactions with new people, kids and dogs? Unbelievable.
Who is a good dog? Beau is a good dog.
Beau is a very, VERY good dog.