Ah, broken hearts. They’re the stuff great songs are made of, am I right? And if you have one, they are like the longest, most painful night of your life.
Unless you’re like, 4 days old, you’ve had a broken heart. At least once! At this point in my life, I’ve had many-a broken heart. Like they say, time usually heals them but some take more time than others.
I don’t spend a lot of my time worrying about having my heart broken from things like a death in the family or a betrayal by someone dear to me. If you know me, you know I’m not really a “worrier”. I really do try to leave it all in God’s hands and be as content as I can be with His plan and His determined outcome.
However, in the past couple of years, I have just occasionally and quite randomly found myself mulling over how I would handle it if something tragic happened to one of my children.
I don’t know why, really. Well, yeah, I do. It’s the enemy trying to steal my joy and keep me from concentrating on God and what He wants me to do. Then there are the times I fret over the fact that it worries me being some sort of forewarning. I’m telling you, I can drive myself crazy with it if I don’t stop it quickly.
I have several dear friends who have lost their children from illness or accidents. Some of them just amaze me with how they have handled it. They have a peace and a joy that I can’t quite comprehend. Others of them tend to dwell and hold their sadness close, even after a decade or more.
I’m just not sure how I would do. I want to think I could allow God to take it and I could find peace again, but somehow I can never feel confident about that. It’s like I wonder how I’d do with a test such as that. Like Job losing ALL his children in one fell swoop on top of all his bodily torments and other losses. I just marvel at how amazingly God can sustain our frail human hearts.
So anyway, the reason I am pondering all this stuff is that I had a terrible heartbreak this weekend. We lost my sweet little puppy, Max. I am so heartbroken to lose him. Tommy came in Saturday with a look on his face that told me it couldn’t be good news.
He knelt down beside me and said, “Honey, Maxie’s been in an accident,” and that’s all it took. I said, “Is he gone?” and when Tommy confirmed, I just dissolved into tears. I’ve had pets all my life. Mostly dogs, but sometimes cats when I was little. We’ve lost countless dogs over the years to either accident or illness and I have always been upset, but never like this. Of course, growing up, we never had inside dogs and somehow, when they don’t live right “in amongst” you, you don’t get quite as close to them. We had an inside dog before Max, but he was never as attentive or as “stuck” to me as Max.
We got our sweet Max, a little “Malti-Tzu” (Maltese/Shih Tzu mix) when I was at one of the most dark, depressed states of my life. I needed him and he needed me. We got him from a lady who had taken him even though she knew pets weren’t allowed in her apartment. She kept him crated all day while she was at work, so over 8 hours. He was a mess, all long and matted. He was afraid of men because, as she told us, her boyfriend didn’t like Max and would yell at him (and who knows what else).
It took awhile, but soon he was not just my baby, but Tommy’s buddy as well. He loved people, most people, well…after he had barked at them a bit and decided they were okay. We have a few friends he never took to though and I’m pretty sure it was because they had sort-of loud or a different tone to their voices. Otherwise, though, he made friends pretty quickly. He was very protective of me which at first, I think was a behavior held over from the yelling boyfriend of his previous owner. The first couple of times Tommy moved to hug me, Max would leap between us and like I said, the first couple of times he made a faint growl at him, but soon as I assured Max that it was okay, he stopped making any aggressive sounds. Soon, it was done just because he was a nosy little stinker. He would wedge his way between us with this “Whatcha’ll doin’?” look on his face. He had a huge personality.
Max loved to play and was really a joy to watch. He would skip and run and sling his “baby” or ball around then run to catch it. He loved to drop his balls into containers then act like he was on Mission Impossible trying to get them back out. He’d drop them in Tommy’s boots, the laundry basket, my purse… you name it. It was such fun to watch him play.
Max also loved to cuddle and sleep. Bless his heart, when I had a bad day and could barely keep my head up, he was just as game to lay in bed all day with me as he was to be up following me all over the house. I think this is the main reason I’m so devastated over losing him. I’ve never had a dog that loved me so good. He just wanted to be with me, no matter what. He was entirely too cute for my own good.
Even though he wasn’t one of those “yappy” dogs that barked all the time, the house seems so quiet without him. I think it’s because the sound of him jumping off the couch or bed to run see who was outside or his little feet clippety-clipping behind him on the tile have become comforting sounds and I miss them terribly today.
Max had a huge sense of adventure and was, like I said, game for anything Tommy and I were up for. He loved to travel and was the best car-riding buddy ever. We took him with us along on more road trips than we can remember. He loved to ride and would get so excited about a car ride, but soon as we were on the interstate, he’d be out like a light. The interstate was like valium to him!
Max went camping with us, he’s gone to various cookouts, hikes and bon fires. Fishing at the pond was a favorite. He even went for a ride on the four-wheeler, but that wasn’t his favorite since we had to rig him a “seat” (aka: milk crate with harness) because he would NOT be still and let me hold him! He wanted to jump off and chase every critter we saw.
He even rode with Tommy on his bike once. I’m not sure he liked it a whole lot, but he liked being with us. He was better satisfied as long as he could see me riding behind, but if I got in front, he would have a fit to climb over Tommy’s shoulder. We wanted to try another camping trip like this with the bikes and try him in a basket, but we never got the chance. Max was willing to try just about anything we did as long as he could go with us.
Max was a peculiar little poot, too. He had this thing, maybe all little dogs are this way, but if any dogs were around who were bigger than him, he HAD to make it clear that HE was the boss. Our old chocolate lab, Samson, was a prime example and he probably
made Max worse because of his own super-gentle temperment. Sam was always the gentleman, to a fault! He was never the least bit aggressive unless you threatened his food. And sometimes, he’d even share that with Max. He never took the ball away from him, love his heart. He always let Max get the ball. Maybe that’s because Max would start growling and snarling like a rabid skunk if some one threatened whatever he considered his. And of course, ALL THINGS were his. Humans and toys alike. And if another big dog came around, even one of our boys’ dogs (Corey has an Austrailian Shepherd and Casey has a Golden Retriever) if any of the big dogs was aggressive with the other, he would be all over them as if to say, “HEY! Shut it down! I’M the only one who gets to do that!” It was really hilarious and I’d have to explain to other people that he wasn’t really being mean, it was just his way. Bahaha. Max definitely had a unique way of socializing. But he still had lots of buddies. Seriously, even the dogs couldn’t help but love him.
Max was the sweetest, craziest, noisiest little pup ever and I am really heartbroken right now. After crying my eyes out for almost two hours solid, I’ve collected myself and can ponder why. I don’t know why this had to happen at this point in time. I don’t want to dwell on how it happened
other than to say it was an accident and happened right in our driveway. Max was, as anyone who’s been here knows, a horrible one to run up to and around and under vehicles as they approached or left the house. We tried every way we knew to break him of it, but he would not be stopped. The only way was to forcibly hold him or just take him inside. It never failed that I would no sooner let him out in the yard to play than someone would pull into the driveway and I’d have to go out and try to catch Max or watch with my stomach clenched as the person tried to slowly bring the car or truck closer. Whether it was a delivery truck or someone who had been here a million times, he would go at it barking like mad and running as close to the tires as possible, so honestly, I wouldn’t blame the person responsible at all. This person has no clue that they even ran over Max. Another reason I don’t want to dwell on it is that I could end up getting mad or even more upset. I know this person was distracted with trying to hurry home even though they know how Max is and have had to deal with his antics a million other times. For whatever reason, God saw fit to let this happen and I am trying to cope.
Which brings me back to my first thoughts up there of fretting about how I’d deal with it if something awful happened to one of my boys. I am wondering if God isn’t letting me know that this is not the worst thing ever. He knows that I would have been in much worse shape if I was dealing with losing one of them. Why I need to realize that now is something I don’t want to ponder long. I think it’s become more of a thing with me ever since Corey moved to Ohio. I felt like I was literally losing him. I realize now that was silly since we actually talk to him and Melissa and even see them more often than we did when they lived a stone’s throw away! The moving and now this has all taught me never to take anything or any one for granted as I am so apt to do.
I’m so thankful that God put Max in my path (I found him on Craig’s List!) when He did because we really did need each other. I hope he felt every bit as loved as he was. Especially after spending part or maybe all his life feeling like he wasn’t wanted. I loved that little fella SO good and through him and my family and others, God brought me out of the deepest pit to recover my joy.
It feels terribly lonely today though and I have cried through sorting for pictures to share with you and have realized I don’t want to feel like this. No pup can ever replace my little Max, but I need the companionship of a silly, funny pup. I have been busying my mind in the search for another Malti-shuh or whatever they are calling the Maltese/Shih Tzu mix. The characteristics of both breeds are just what I need, I believe. But it’s hard to find them except from expensive breeders, which we can’t afford or people who are no longer able to care for aged dogs, which I don’t need. I need a younger dog that can be trained. Corey believes we can train a dog to help alert us to low blood sugars which would be extremely helpful! I know this breed isn’t the top recommendation for this sort of training, but right now I’m determined that I need a little one that will be a cuddly furbaby, too. Even if they can’t be FULLY trained to alert, I know that dogs have the natural ability to sense things like that and it would still be helpful even if they don’t know proper alert actions. My mind may change but as it stands right now, it doesn’t much matter. We can’t afford to just purchase a pup from a breeder and besides, I’d rather not do that anyway. I’d like to be able to get a younger dog from an owner who has discovered they can’t care for the dog or maybe has had an unexpected litter of pups. I’d like to find one less than a year old and even a straight-Shih Tzu, Maltese or even a Yorkie would be great. (just throwing this out there in case anyone knows somebody who knows somebody… heh)
My experience with Max tells me that for the most part, the combination of Shih Tzu and Maltese traits are just wonderful other than the drive to chase, which is high in most small dogs already.
I’m thankful for the time I had Max. He was like medicine for my hurting heart. I know God has another dose of good medicine out there somewhere and at the right time, he or she will cross my path. In the meantime, I’m also thankful for my family who has been so sweet in understanding my heartache and sweet Tommy, who I know is also heartbroken but has been so strong for me the past couple days. I am blessed and highly favored.
Go and tell your family and friends you love them and hug your pet. Any and all of them are blessings to be treasured! Always remember there is peace among the pieces of your broken heart if you just let God handle the reassembly.