My name is Max, short for Maxwell. I’m a twelve-and-a-half year old cocker spaniel, living up here in style in a log home on Lake Superior. It’s not too bad; in fact, I’ve gotten quite used to it.
There are a lot more dogs in our neighborhood than when I first came here. Three black labs, two Weimaraners, a Jack Russell terrier, one chihuahua, and a few others of unknown origin. My owners walk me twice a day, about a half-mile or so each time. I can’t walk as far as I used to now that I’m down to three good legs. A couple years ago, in the middle of winter, I shattered my left front leg on a patch of ice. The vet tried to save it, but it was not fixable. I manage just fine without it, although I need a little help on the stairs. My master carries me up to bed at night even though I’ve put on a few extra pounds in my golden years. I’ve trained him pretty well, if I do say so myself. He’s fixed three different beds for me around the house so I’m always comfortable and within reach of a full water bowl.
I’m not crazy about the dry “weight management” food they’ve put me on lately. But if I want a snack or a small milk bone, I just giv’em “the stare,” followed by a few plaintive moans. Works every time. Usually I know the limits, how much to milk it, and when to let it ride. Of course, when there’s barbecued chicken on the menu, all bets are off. Trust me: I know my weaknesses. I would chase the mailman six blocks for an extra piece of barbecued chicken. What’s a few extra bites? I can always work it off later.
In my younger days, I used to chase squirrels and chipmunks every chance I got. Now, I mostly chase them with my eyes (much less strenuous), through the woodpile, under the cedar bushes, and up into the pine trees. Now and then, they try to take advantage of my age and lack of speed. So I tear after those furry little maniacs in a sudden burst of energy and scare the living daylights out of them. Never underestimate an old dog with three legs.
On the good side, I get plenty of scratching and cuddling from my owners, but never enough. Occasionally, they let me up on the sofa as long as I don’t claw it too vigorously. The missus picks me up and cradles me like a baby, cooing and smiling down at me. Yeah, I know, it’s a little embarrassing. But, to pay my dues, I put up with it. As they say, it goes with the territory. Friends of mine have it much worse. They get locked up in cages or bedrooms for the night. Some are chained to a small doghouse in the backyard all day long. So I’m not complaining.
Well, my belly’s starting to rumble, so I’ve got to prepare for dinner. I think they’re grilling cheeseburgers tonight, one of my all-time favorites. I’ll have to be on my best behavior if I ever hope to mooch a few morsels.