Max went to the vet this week and we found out he is mostly healthy, except his ears. He has a nasty infection (which the vet so graciously let me see through his little earscope thing…). This means two things. First, I now know the signs for doggy ear infection, even though Max was a champ at covering up the fact that something very wrong and painful was going on in his head.

Second, he has to take some medicines.


Max likes many things. One thing he absolutely does not like is medicine, particularly pills. I literally have to shove his heart worm pills down his throat each month.

But I really don’t blame him because I do not like medicine either. I am grateful for allergy medicine, especially after moving back to the place where my allergies are notoriously bad. It’s really tough to make it through a day without those meds. But I will wait as long as possible when sick to take anything, even if I know it will help.

I guess I just don’t trust the medicine. Or maybe I am too prideful and hold on to the belief that my body can take care of itself. I don’t need help from anyone else.  Even if I’m miserable, I can manage on my own.

Maybe that is what Max thinks too. He’s a tough dog and can carry on. 


Regardless, now that Max has to take a lot of medicine for his own good and I have to literally force feed it to him, it has made me realize how silly my own pridefulness is.

Max has taught me that I have to trust and depend on others. I cannot always do things all on my own and I do not always know what is best for myself. It is good to rely on others, or at least heed their counsel, whether I am sick or healthy.

I may still be wary of medicine and resist taking it (and I know Max will do the same), but I think we are now both more grateful for the people in our lives in whom we can trust and who seek to sweeten our lives by being there for us.

So thank you Max for teaching me to swallow my pride.  Thank you for teaching me that I cannot and should not do things all on my own, but rather I should trust those around me to help me follow wise guidance, even if it be in the form of a nasty pill. 

Friends Are Jewels

The past several months, Max and I have gone on occasional outings to see friends. We don’t get out much together, so I’ve been trying to make more time for little adventures and for him to meet my friends.

The first time we headed out to the Big D with plans just for him. He’d been to Dallas once, but this trip was different. I had done my research and had several dog friendly parks we could go to and even a dog friendly coffee shop.

I was excited. And once I told him and started getting things ready, so was he.

So off we went. We had an exciting time and though I think he prefers the country, he fit in pretty nicely.


Then, plans started going awry. The park was fun, but we stayed a little too long with consequences.  The dog-friendly coffee shop I was so excited to try wound up closing earlier than I expected and we got there just in time to watch them start to close down. 

My planning continued to fail me and I couldn’t come up with another inside, dog friendly place at which to grab some food and drink. 

I started stressing out, and still being a new dog owner at this time began worrying about what to do with Max.  Then I finally really paid attention to him.

Sitting in the cold with plans in shambles didn’t really rock him at all.  He was still having the time of his life – seeing new sights, smelling new smells, and above all spending time with new friends.

In that moment, he taught me something valuable.  As important as plans are to making an outing run smoothly, the plans themselves don’t make anything fantastic. Only the people one is with and the shared experiences can do that.

We did not make many specific plans the next major trip we took to see friends. We went and played lots of games outside and enjoyed the company of good people.  And it was wonderful.


Max would have been as happy spending all day in a plain room with loving friends as he would traveling through any of the most well constructed dog parks in the world. Because what really matters is the loving community with which one is surrounded.

So thank you Max, for teaching me that friends are jewels, and much more precious than the setting in which they are cast.  Thank you for teaching me that despite our good or bad plans, we can always enjoy the company that surrounds us.


Max is a decent listener. Especially when he is not doing anything bad. As soon as he wanders off where he’s not supposed to go, he suddenly can’t hear anything.  But besides that, he listens to a lot of my rambling, complaining, distressing, confusion, joy, realizations, and whatever other craziness goes through my head.


And in doing so, he has taught me the importance of listening. Listening alone can heal the soul. And even if he’s not listening well, his presence does the trick.


There have been way too many times when something has been weighing on my heart terribly.  I usually keep that stuff in and deal or journal about it, but every now and then I just can’t contain it and it bubbles out.  And Max is there to listen – just to be and listen.

And that is consoling in a very significant way. True, I sometimes need someone to talk with, who will give me advice, embrace me, or tell me how silly I am being.  But at the base of all that care is a listening ear.


So thank you, Max, for listening.  I have needed it more than you know.  And thank you for teaching me the importance of listening so that I may return that favor to some degree to others I meet.