Amazing Max (Monday Writing Essential)
Writing Challenge: write about a critter. One with personality, one a reader would like to spend their time with.
Reposting for WWE Challenge: Write anything you want (in any form you want) about a body of water.
Max was very much a body of water.
Of all the dogs I’ve ever had Max was by far the funniest, the smartest, and the craziest canine under the sun. He walked into my son’s life one lonely winter night, lonely for both of them – they found each other and became inseparable until John moved into a flat and Max was left in my care. There was another dog in our extended-family household, an Alaskan Malamute cross, a most adorable bitch who lived downstairs with my parents. We had a black cat, too. Max, Sibby and Mickey the cat got on quite well.
Max, a red cattle dog cross, was a natural bodyguard. When John was around, he was Max’s first priority. But when John wasn’t around, he guarded the most vulnerable body, that is, a body at rest on the bed or lounge. No one could go near such a body, for Max would jump up and down growling and barking his head off defending the body under his care. I must admit it was sometimes quite awkward – when the doctor visited, for instance. Once he even grabbed my heel, but did not bite me; a cattle dog doesn’t do that to a cow, so he didn’t do it to me either.
His second natural ability was retrieving. I say ‘natural’ because his athletic sexy body and his love of water betrayed German Retriever genes. On our daily walks, I always carried at least two tennis balls in case one got lost in the bushes. He was an unstoppable retriever wanting me to throw the ball nonstop until he got so exhausted he just took off towards the small beach, his long tail up in the air swishing left right, left right like a metronome, and flopped down into the sea to cool down for a second or two, and up he was again with his tail swishing back and forth making sparkling rainbows in the sunlight.
Having left me behind, he would drop the ball in front of anybody’s feet, whoever was closest to him when he got out of the water. He was a legend on the precinct, loved for his playfulness and admired for his prowess and tenacity. Have you ever seen a dog his size carrying a tree branch four times his length, and I am not exaggerating, holding it in his small jaw positioned right in the middle, just like a circus artiste, trotting on like this to the same small beach, not dropping it once, and then dropping it into the sea to play biting off little bits, which on three occasions put him in the vet’s surgery to be anaesthetised and operated on for the removal of the lethal bit that got stuck in his throat ? That’s why I ended up carrying at least two tennis balls
But what I enjoyed most of all was his dive. The first stretch of the park was higher than the sea level.
I would throw the ball into the sea, he would sprint to the edge, push himself off and with legs outstretched fly through the air like an arrow. I imagined I was flying, too, like I used to when I was young.
When Sibby joined us, she participated in the game trying to snatch the ball from his mouth, but never succeeding, she was quite happy to annoy him by trotting by his side nibbling at his ear. They never quarrelled – Max was a true gentleman.
He was also tolerant of Mickey the cat except at dinner time. Max would quickly establish his supremacy by digging his front paws into the floor- Thud- Thud- Thud- to shoo Mickey off – he, Max, was to be served first. Once, Mickey’s head disappeared into Max’s jaw, oh dear…only to reappear intact like Jonah – what a relief! Mickey just shook his head a bit, to readjust it I suppose, and did not budge – he, too, bravely stuck to his feeding rights.
Max loved carrots, celery, apples, and would always sit in the kitchen by my side when I was cutting up vegies and fruit, knowing he would of course get his due. We even let him sit by the table at mealtimes when he was older …we were older, too…one tends to become more relaxed with age. His most beautiful dark brown eyes, rimmed with black eyeliner as if he were a Pharaoh, would cast a glance at me or at my husband Sasha to gauge where his next tidbit would be coming from. Alas, Max was a heavy drooler – two melting icicles hanging from the corners of his mouth, reaching down to the floor, threatened to inundate our kitchen, so the only way to cut the drooling short was to give him another morsel. I think he was drooling on purpose, the mongrel.
How I would love to have him curled up next to me, my hand resting on his soft warm coat, smell his delicate doggie fragrance, meet his velvety Egyptian gaze…but most of all, I’d love to experience again his exhilarating joy at the mention of the magic word WALK! He would start running up and down barking, jumping in the air as if he had springs in his legs, jumping up high trying to reach my cheek to plant his thankful sloppy kiss, and I would be laughing my head off watching him beside himself running up and down the house and HOP up to my cheek, and HOP up again all the way to the car…. oh what delightful anticipation… only a five-minute drive to Max’s paradise and mine – and then a short walk down the hill, under the gum trees, to the park perfumed by the sea.
Sibby is just pretending. She won’t venture any further.
Max’s triumphant swim back with the log.
If only she would let me kiss her.
©Irina Dimitric 2012