Dear Max – AKA squishy, macchiato, mackie, snowy, little man, maximus and monkey. I miss you so much. So much that it hurts to think about it. I haven’t fully processed losing you. The best I can do is grieve in small moments and then I shut my mind down to cope.

You were my world for nineteen years. Your nose smudges (and Blaze’s) are still on the back glass door and windows, the two favourite spots where you kept a close eye on the world outside. My timber furniture still has chew marks in it as a reminder of your sharp little puppy teeth. My whole world feels so empty.

First Blaze and then you a few months later. The house is so quiet. No sweet puppa to tuck into his bed, no more squishy cuddles and smelling your sweet little head and ears. You really were my whole world. And now you are gone.

Start of a Special Friendship 

When we picked you up as a puppy, you were the runt of the litter. The last one left. But you were the best. A Jack Russell puppy, so tiny you fit in the palm of our hands and you sat on our shoulders like a cockatoo.

Cheeky doesn’t even begin to describe you. You were like a little bower bird, always collecting items – preferably stealing them in front of us so you could be chased. You would race straight under the bed because you couldn’t be reached there with your little treasure – woodchips, gumnuts, chewed up tissues, pegs, remote controls, socks, underwear. Nothing was sacred. You loved chicken, cheese and biscuits and pasta off my plate when I wasn’t looking. You loved to snuggle under the doona with your little snout poking out the end.

Even though you were a brave little dog, you panicked when there were fireworks. New Year’s Eve was always spent taking you for a drive in the ute – away from the noise of fireworks. Thunder terrified you even more. You would scratch the walls, floor, oven, fridge – anything.

The only way we could make you feel safe was to take you for a drive  – window wipers swishing side to side and the radio turned up high. All your fears just melted away.  You had your belt on, two front paws resting on the dash watching the pouring rain splash on the window and road ahead.

Saying Goodbye

As you got older we had a few health scares, but they were manageable.

But I still feel a lot of guilt around your passing. Could I have done more?  Should I have noticed your symptoms earlier? But your little body was tired and this last time there were no options left as your kidneys were failing. I was devastated and felt helpless. I always knew that the day to say goodbye would come. But how could I ever have been ready for that?

Life Without You

Max, you are and always will be one of the best things to ever happen to me. I am glad you are now free of pain. I know you are still around me.

Generally, I have always maintained a sense of hope and optimism no matter what is happening in my life. But at the moment my life is a process of just going through the motions. I haven’t felt true happiness since you and Blaze transitioned. I know color will seep back into my world sometime again. But I just don’t know when that will be.

Veronica Mather

Veronica Mather is a writer, Reiki Practitioner and passionate animal welfare advocate. She has extensive experience working within the employment and homeless sectors and has seen first hand the devastating impact grief can have on people’s lives. Veronica well understands the challenges of navigating the rollercoaster of grief. In 2011 her brother transitioned after a car accident and the past five years has seen the passing of her pet sheep Marlon, Bilbo Baggins, Womble and more recently her adored dogs Max (Jack Russell, 19 years old) and Blaze (Kelpie, 15 years old). She continues to adjust to life without Carl and her beloved pets and finds writing and sharing her grief journey with others helps with the healing process. Veronica’s writing has featured in the Bestselling 365 Book Series - 365 Ways to Connect with your Soul, 365 moments of Grace, 365 Life Shifts, 365 Soulful Messages -The Right Guidance at the Right Time, Goodness Abounds and Soul Biz due out early 2022. She has also had articles published in The Pearson Education Comet Magazine, Brainwash Magazine, Wild Sister magazine and on the Soul Speak blog.

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