On Max…Five Months Later

Written by Irina Gallagher

The last time I posted about our family happenings, we were moving into a new house. It was a very emotional experience for everyone involved. A lot of feelings were raging about leaving our home of nine years and most of our little unit didn’t know how to deal with any of it. Little did we know that before we were settled, before the boxes were unpacked, we would encounter an even bigger emotional avalanche.

Today is the five month anniversary of the passing our dear pup Max. I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about it because no words are adequate. We still miss him enormously. We talk about him daily. We long for all of the, seemingly, little things that he contributed to our family – the clinking of his collar; the sleepy slinking off the bed which turned into a tail-wagging greeting at the door every time anyone came home; the grunting of dissatisfaction if we, heaven forbid, attempted to move our legs while sleeping; his nightly checks at each door before he fell asleep for the night. There are countless moments that happen throughout the day still, five months later, which remind us of how terribly we miss our Max.


A Dog’s Guide to Happiness

Written by Irina Gallagher

Magnificent Max

Next week, we will be celebrating our oldest kid’s birthday. Our magnificent dog Maximus is turning 11 years old. As part of his birthday festivities, I thought that it would be very appropriate to reflect on a few of the ever-so-many lessons on happiness which Max has taught us so far.

Proper greetings are important. You should always make sure that your friends know just how excited you are to see them. Greet your loved ones wholeheartedly. Smile with abandon. Tell them just how much their presence means to you. (You can skip the licking profusely part, that may be overkill).

Persistence is key. Never give up on your dreams. It doesn’t matter if these are bold conquests to climb mountainous peaks or simply staring down your opponent, ahem, or pal, into sharing a piece of that turkey sandwich.

There is never an amount too small to share. Seriously, just share that sandwich already. Even if it’s the last crumb, it’s the thought that counts. It’s not just about food of course, shared experiences always seem bring more enjoyment and their memories last longer when a friend is by your side.

A walk is always exciting. It doesn’t matter if it’s 5 a.m. or 10 p.m. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold or a deluge of water is falling from the sky (just stay inside if there is lightning, please). A walk will always brighten your spirits.

Always be available if a friend needs a hug. We all know a person who can squeeze you so lovingly that all your worries subside. Be that guy.

Exercise patience as much as possible. If you are no longer able to be patient, simply walk away (eventually the guy grabbing your tail will tire and let go).

It’s always a good time for a nap. Naps are proven to reduce stress. We should all try to take naps frequently. (If only our 6-year-old could follow this advice).

Find excitement in the little things. No one shows as much unbridled enthusiasm as dogs. No wonder they are generally such happy creatures. They find happiness in such simple pleasures: a shared snack, going outside, coming back inside, a squirrel!, a bird!, a walk.

Love unconditionally.