It’s been a while since you’ve heard from Max. He’s been busy the last year or so keeping me sane and chasing crows and grooming himself in awkward ways. He has no social filter on when and where it’s appropriate to lick himself. It can be embarrassing. All the same, I’m glad to have him around.
You probably already know this, but Max is quite the popular dog. I’m pretty sure if he could type, he’d be answering fan mail from around the globe. If he is in a crowd of strangers with me, he gets most of the attention. Nobody rubs my head and talks to me like I’m the sweetest guy on the planet.
I went down to the Chevrolet dealership yesterday to get a DOT inspection done on my truck and trailer. Max hangs around the shop with me on his leash. Carey, the shop manager, talks to Max. Three mechanics stop what they’re doing to come over and talk to Max. The delivery guy bringing parts to the shop gets out of his truck so he can talk to Max.
You get the idea.
It’s no different at work. Everybody that comes to the farm gets to know Max. He nudges his backside up to any available kneecap that will get him a head scratch. He sticks his nose in places that most of us consider to be private. Even when the phone rings, customers are asking about Max.
“I’ve got a few trees I need to check on to see if you have them, but before I do that, how’s Max?”
I delivered trees over to Auburn the other day. It had been a long morning of riding and no peeing, so when I got to the customer’s holding yard, I let Max out of the back seat. The guys unloading the truck had barely spoken to me. No one asked my name or how I was doing. But when Max plopped out and took a look around, all hands-on deck came to a halt and gave Max their full attention.
Admirer #1: “What’s his name? He’s a good boy.”
Admirer #2: “He’s such a great dog. Does he ride with you.?
Me: “Uh, no! He ran and beat me here.”
Admirer #3: “How old is he? I can see a little grey around the eyes.”
Me: “Can we finish unloading the trees?”
There was this guy, John, who came to the farm pretty regular a while back. He made pickups and deliveries for a company out of Atlanta. His fondness for Max got to the point where every time he showed up, he had a snack for Max. Preplanned treats. He was spending money on my dog.
Six months ago, he quit his job and moved to Savannah. One day my phone rang. It was John. I still had his name in my contacts list. I started right in with a friendly gesture.
“How’s life in Savannah?” I asked.
“Great,” he said, “How’s my buddy Max doing?”
No ‘how ya doing’. No ‘it’s been a while since we talked’. No ‘good to hear you, hope you’re doing well’. Just, ‘how’s Max’.
Assuming the rest of you feel pretty much the same about Max, I’ve decided to let him give you an update on life in his own words. That’s right, an interview with Max. Hey, I’m just the writer. I don’t make this stuff up.
Me: “Max, come here boy. Come on.”
I’m on the front porch. He’s out howling at something in the woods. Here he comes. He’s sitting right next to me.
Me: “Max these good folks want to know how you’re doing.”
Max: “Other people besides you?”
Me: “Don’t play dumb with me. I saw you working the crowd at the garage yesterday.”
Max: “True. What do they want to know?”
Me: “They’re just asking about how you’ve been lately. You know. Just catching up.”
Max: “Well, I’ve got this skin rash right down here that’s driving me a little crazy. I’ll show you.”
Me: “No, I’m good. I’ve seen it. That’s why I took you to see Dr. Mike a few weeks back.”
Me: “You remember. That place with like a zillion dogs and cats. And the chicken. Surely you remember the chicken?”
Max: “Oh, you mean the guy with the big hands?”
Me: “Yeah, that’s him.”
Max: “He didn’t seem to mind looking at my rash down here.”
Me: “Still with the rash? Let’s move on to something not so private. Tell them about your limp.”
Max: “What’s a limp?”
Me: “You know. You’ve been favoring your right front leg for weeks now. You can barely get up off the floor.”
Max: “Oh, that. I don’t have a clue what that is about.”
Me: “You are getting older, you know.”
Max: “What does that mean?”
Me: “You’re ten years old now.”
Max: “That’s not so old.”
Me: “How well can you do math?”
Max: “How well can you do back flips?”
Me: “Not at all.”
Max: “Then don’t ask me dumb questions.”
Me: “Well, you being 10 means that, in dog years, you’re 70.”
Max: “That doesn’t seem fair.”
Me: “True, but that makes you about four years older than me.”
Max: “Dang, you’re old.”
Me: “You’re getting off the subject. Tell them how you’re doing with the limp.”
Max: “I got me a new doggie treat with Glucosamine Chondroitin in it.”
Max: “You’re kidding, right? Anyway, I feel like a new man.”
Me: “You mean dog.”
Max: “Sure. New dog. All I know is I can run and jump and dance again.”
Me: “I didn’t know you could dance.”
Max: “What do think I’m doing when we get ready to go for a walk outside?”
Me: “I guess I’d call it dancing.”
Max: “You’ve really got to pay more attention.”
Me: “So, you’re feeling better?”
Max: “Chipper as a pup. Can I have another one of those chewies?”
Me: “Don’t over do it. One a day. Besides, those things cost an arm and a leg.”
Max: “You still have both arms and legs.”
Me: “It’s a figure of speech.”
Max: “What about the pill you keep stuffing in the Cheez Whiz? What’s that all about?”
Me: “What pill?”
Max: “I see what you’ve got going on. Don’t play dumb with me.”
Me: “Pretty smart are ya? That’s to help with the itch down there.”
Max: “Down where?”
Me: “Don’t go there.”
Max: “Are we done yet? I need to go roll around in the grass and run through the mud down by the creek before I come inside for the night.”
Me: “You’re not a very patient interviewee, are you?”
So, folks, there you have it. Everybody is caught up now.
I don’t know why He did it, but I’m glad God saw fit to give us dogs. That face. Those eyes. That stupid dance. It’s all exactly what I need right now.
Max is having a few aches and pains. A little skin irritation. Taking a few pills for his general well-being. Making trips to see the Doc.
But who doesn’t at our age.