One of my best friends is a dog. People who know me will not be surprised by that statement because my dog Miss Maxie has been my constant companion for almost fifteen years. I have always loved dogs. Growing up in the rural South, almost everyone had (and still has) dogs. My family was no different. We had big dogs, medium dogs, and small dogs; mixed breeds and pure breeds; and inside dogs and outside dogs.
When I was in college, I was unable to have a pet. But when I went to graduate school, I changed that. I was living in a new city and didn’t know very many people. One of the graduate students in my department was always talking about her dogs. So, I decided to stop by the local animal shelter on my way home from class one day. I’d had a rescue dog while I was in high school.
I saw a brown-and-white terrier in a cage. Most other dogs were barking; she wasn’t making a peep. I reached out for her and she came up and licked my fingers, and I stroked her head. The sign on her cage said she’d recently been spayed, and I saw the stiches when she rolled over, legs straight in the air, in the submissive position. (I later learned that if she really likes you, she rolls over so you can rub her belly.) I was unsure about whether I should REALLY get a dog, so I decided to go home and sleep on it. I decided that if the little brown-and-white dog was still there the next day, then she would be my dog.
I returned to the shelter following day and adopted Maxie. She would have been Maximilian if she had been a male dog. Either way, it’s Max for short. (Miss Maxie, if you’re nasty! 🙂 ) I’ve never really been sure what kind of dog she is. One veterinarian told me that she is probably a Jack Russell Terrier mix. Other people have commented that her markings look like a Corgi. And last year, someone told me she looked like a Red Heeler. I’m not sure that matters because Maxie doesn’t think she’s a dog anyway.
I don’t think I could have picked a dog with a better temperament if I’d tried. She was a ball of energy, but at the same time, she rarely barked. She loves people, especially men–other dogs, not so much. She loves to ride in the car, which is good because we’ve traveled all over the South and Midwest together. Having Maxie has been helpful to this introvert because inevitably people want to “play with the puppy,” and that forces me to interact with people when we’re out walking. In fact, I met my husband while I was at the park with Maxie.
Friends who I haven’t seen me in a while may be surprised that Maxie is still hanging in there, but she’s a strong old girl. Up until earlier this year, she could still jump up on the bed. (She refused to use the doggy steps I bought.) She doesn’t see or hear as well as she used to, although sometimes I suspect she just likes to ignore me. So, she has some health problems, but none of that seems to matter when someone is cooking her favorite food–(any kind of) meat. Then it’s as if she’s drunk from the Fountain of Youth.
She’s a great dog. And I don’t know if I rescued her, or she rescued me. But I wouldn’t trade her for the world.