Two days ago I knelt beside Max and whispered in his ear that it was okay if he just let go. I told him he had trained Belle well, and she would take awesome care of us, and if Charly was close by, asking him to come play, that it was okay. Go play with Charly.
That's how weak he was, lying there on my laundry room floor. He hadn't eaten in a couple of days again.
We thought we'd discovered the secret: vienna sausages and potted meat. In his last weak spell, we'd tried everything, trying to get him to eat, and he had gobbled these right up.
But I guess even dogs can get too many vienna sausages. He was turning his nose up at them, and everything else we offered, including real beef Ballpark weiners.
However, the next morning, instead of huddling in the dark of his huge doghouse, he was up on the hill in the woods in front of our house, taking care of business (which is always a good sign) and he's subsequently spent the last two days lounging on the front porch, seemingly loving the warm breeze and the sound of birds gossiping at the nearby feeder.
It was Tom who suggested giving him some of Belle's dry food. Max has been eating expensive Science Diet food targeted at joint issues all of his life, while we give Belle a cheap-in-comparison Purina dry food targeting weight issues.
We tried it... and Max loves it. (At least, for now. I'm worried he'll get sick of it, too, and then what will we do?)
For now, we're taking it a day at a time, watching him for signs of distress. So far, there have been none. If we see them, we'll know what to do.
But I'm earnestly praying it's taken out of our hands, that when the time comes... before there's any pain or distress... this sweet old boy of ours closes his eyes and drifts off to some woods very similar to ours to go exploring with his Charly dog.
Maybe Frankie, the guinea hen, will tag along, too, like he used to. I like to think so.
Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really.
~Agnes Sligh Turnbull