Max is a staple part of my life now. We’ve lived together for 17 months and he has thoroughly influenced my daily rhythm of life. Sometimes it has been frustrating (like when he wakes me up early), but it has also been quite rewarding.
Yet, I’ve found myself often forgetting just how much I wanted a dog as I finished school and how excited I was finally to get Max. Perhaps it is because he is such an ordinary part of my life that I tend to forget how important he is.
I too often take Max for granted.
This is not a matter of getting frustrated with him, but rather a matter of not cultivating my relationship with him regularly. It’s me expecting Max to be there for me while not expecting me to be there for him. It’s that daily choice to be a little more self-absorbed and perceive Max as merely a pawn helping bring about my own beneficial end.
That may sound harsh, but the days I am preoccupied and come home only to push Max aside as I turn on the TV or slip into my own little world, I do him a disservice that is somehow even worse than yelling at him (not that I condone hateful yelling, by any means).
Max is not just in my life to meet my fleeting desires. He is a living creature and deserves better than my ignoring him. He deserves not to be taken for granted.
In the midst of this, Max has taught me not to overlook those ordinary important things of life. He has taught me that it is far too easy to take those whom I love for granted, especially when they are such a normal part of my life.
Max has taught me that being in any type of relationship with any creature requires constant attuning of myself to the other. It is work, like the continued attention given by a farmer to the crop as farmer and land grow together to produce some fruit.
It is too easy to assume that crop will produce after the seed is planted, but the earth teaches again and again not to take it for granted either.
Max and the earth have something to teach that I need to be reminded of quite frequently. I need to start listening and paying more attention to those around me, so as not to take them for granted, but rather grow with them, patiently and lovingly.
So thank you, Max, for teaching me that it is unfortunately far too easy to take for granted those whom I love. Thank you for teaching me the importance of consistently working on those relationships, by embracing and attending more closely to the ordinary parts of my life.