This would have been Max's birthday
Hi. I'm new here, and this is my first post, but I've been reading threads and advice here since I got my first GSD puppy Max last August. He would have been one year old today.
I took him in to the vet near the end of March with an abscess on his right rear foot. We had already tried antibiotics, but they didn't seem to do any good at all, so the vet tried to take a sample of what was in the abscess. Max freaked out so they suggested putting him under light anesthesia so a sample could be gotten. I was uncomfortable but agreed. While getting the sample, the vet came out and told me that a lot of pus had come out of it, that it was just an abscess and if I agreed to have him fully sedated they could clean it out then instead of scheduling another appointment to do the same thing. They said he would be ready for pickup around 3pm so I left to get some lunch. As I was eating, I got the call from the vet, telling me that his heart had stopped during recovery. It never crossed my mind that he was gone as I raced back to the vet. The only things they could think caused it were either a blood clot it a congenital heart defect. He was only 10 months old.
When I got Max, he had issues. He was the runt of his litter, less than half the size of the other pups. His back legs didn't really work right, and until he had been with me for a few weeks, and was no longer being pounced on by his siblings, he drug his back half around. But by week three, he was up and running around the yard like crazy, playing with my 14 year old mix, never even acting like he'd been unable to walk right. He still wobbled sometimes, but never drug his back half again after he got his legs under him. Watching him run and play was amazing.
He grew really slowly, compared to his litter mates. He had reached 60 lbs, when he died, compared to his larger siblings who were topping out around 85 lbs, at the time.
In so many ways, Max brought me and my entire household back to life. My 14 year old mix, Aleph had just been lying around waiting to die, it seemed, until Max showed up. Suddenly he was up running around the yard, playing fetch again and wrestling with Max and acting like his old self again. As for me, having to be so present with him, so engaged, ripped me out of depression and sadness and thrust me full force back into the world of the living. It wasn't easy. He required my attention, my focus, my care and my love. He required me to be my best self, to be patient with his landsharking, his fascination with chewing on my cats and his mischief. So much mischief. He forced me to engage with him and my life again. In every sense of the word, Max saved me. And then, he was simply gone. He was a complete miracle.
Losing him was excruciating. But the things I learned from his short time with me stuck. I learned to be present. I learned to be more patient, more kind. And most importantly, I learned that sometimes the best thing you can do is to cut loose and play.
I've gotten another puppy since losing Max. A bright, beautiful boy GSD, who I named, in honor of Max's enormous impact on my life, Life is an Amazing Journey. It hurts to have lost him, especially today, on what would have been his first birthday, but he will be in my heart always.
So Happy Birthday Max...I miss you so much