I am very glad to welcome Sandy James to the blog to share her dear little furbaby with us. I have followed Sandy on Facebook ever since she got this little dog and am touched to share the deeply moving story behind him.
Sandy: April 2015
I needed a puppy as much as I needed a proverbial hole in my head. My husband Jeff had just finished a twelve-dose round of chemotherapy to fight his colon cancer. He’d taken disability retirement from his job because of the toll cancer had taken on his body, but he was hopeful that he would regain some of his strength and be able to start living his life again. My concern was that he said he was lonely when I was at work and it was sometimes a battle to get him to do simple things like go on walks. My solution?
Jeff and I had lost our schnauzer, Carter, the year before. He’d been “my” dog, tagging around after me from the moment I brought that little black ball of fur into my home. When his kidneys failed at age fourteen, it broke my heart. I held him in my arms as he died, and I swore I’d never get another dog. Ever. Since Jeff got sick not too long after Carter passed, we really had no desire to have a new pet.
But then Jeff was lonely. He’d often told me how much he’d wished Carter loved him as much as he loved me, and I started thinking… (Something that gets me in tons of trouble.) Maybe Jeff needed a dog to keep him company…one that would be “his” since the pup would be spending more time with Jeff than with me. And since we both loved small, smart dogs, I started searching around for a good schnauzer breeder.
I found the best—Riggs Miniature Schnauzers in northern Indiana. Daphne, the wonderful lady who is Riggs Miniature Schnauzers, is absolutely amazing, so much so that her puppies are reserved a year or more in advance. Jeff was reluctant, but he loved the pictures of her dams and sires, so he acquiesced and we put a deposit down on a pup that would be born in the spring and we waited.
In August, I got a call from Daphne. One of her litters had been larger than expected, and she wanted to know if we wanted to be bumped up to get our puppy sooner. Of course we did! So over fall break, we drove up to her home and picked up our Max.
Sweet Lord, I’d forgotten what puppies were like! Carter had been a very “chill” dog, and Max was about as far from that as a pup could get. Max had two speeds: all out or sound asleep. There simply wasn’t anything in between. But we tried to adapt and joked about how we were both probably too old to have gotten a puppy. At least we could tag team, which allowed us to (barely) keep up with Max’s energy level.
Then our entire world was turned upside down when Jeff’s cancer returned.
Through more rounds of chemotherapy and then radiation, Max was always there to snuggle with Jeff or with me when we were sad or just needed a bit of emotional support. He licked more tears from my cheeks than I can even remember. I think animals are amazingly empathetic, and Max seemed in tune with us. He’d be quiet and cuddle when we needed that or would do something silly if we needed a laugh. Even as Jeff’s health worsened and we realized that he was going to lose his battle with that bastard disease, Max was there to sit in Jeff’s lap or lie beside him on the couch.
I lost Jeff in September of 2016. Max kept me from feeling so damned alone. As I tried to find a new life for myself as a single instead of as a wife, my wonderful salt-and-pepper dog always let me know that he was there for me.
I don’t know what I’d do without him.
(Sandy and Max)
About Sandy James
Sandy lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis, where she teaches psychology. Published through Forever Yours, Carina Press, and indie-published, she has been an Amazon #1 Bestseller multiple times and has won numerous awards including two HOLT Medallions.
For more on Sandy visit her website: https://sandyjames.com/
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