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Max has never been the sharpest crayon in the box. In his younger days he used to like to bounce around after swallows in the fields of Castletown, with the sort of goofish optimism that is the mark of a true eejit. He also likes chasing rabbits, or thinks he does anyway. He accidentally tripped over one once and they both fled in opposite directions. His favourite trick though, when the cat is in the garden – and he knows he’s not meant to chase her – is to wait until she’s drank her fill of milk and is sauntering back down the garden path. Then he springs into action, and dashes over to finish the milk.

He may be a bit thick, but you could never accuse him of not having his priorities straight.

He hasn’t been himself for weeks now though. He’s been listless, limping, and losing weight, and – though he still seems happy to go for a walk – can barely make it around the block any more. Under duress, my father eventually brought him to the vet on Saturday, and he (Max) ended up having to stay there for two nights for observation and x-rays because they weren’t sure what was wrong with him. He came home this evening, and it turns out he has very bad cancer, in his leg and in his chest. He’s going to have to be put down.

Even though he’s almost eleven, and even though it’s for the best because we don’t want him to suffer, I’m pretty sure my heart is breaking. It’s almost worst because, with the painkillers he’s on, he’s pattering around as normal, wagging his tail, and nudging us with his muzzle on the off-chance of getting a sneaky back rub.

It’s quite possible he’s high, actually. He’s certainly mullicking into his dinner anyway. He’s just licked the bowl clean.

It’s the way to go really, isn’t it? Spending your last day lavished with attention and delicious treats, medicated to your eyeballs, and surrounded by your family at home. The only way it could be better really would be if he would slip away peacefully tomorrow night of his own accord, before the vet comes on Wednesday.

I can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss him though.

max curtain blanket

Max makes himself cozy in the winter

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