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Dear Readers and faithful friends,

After a number of years of wonderful blogging, this blog has effectively become dormant - except for occasional updates regarding my book, MAXDOG. I have left this blog as a legacy to my dog and a place of sanctuary where we can reflect upon his life. Take your time, peruse the pages spanning Max's 18 months in cyberspace. Feel refreshed and uplifted because his story is an amazing one of..."LIVING LIFE TO THE MAX!"
My activities have now moved on to my new blog entitled "LIVING LIFE TO THE MAX". Please join me there where you can read about my family and canine companions. I also invite you to visit MAXDOG's FANPAGE on FACEBOOK. You can follow the specific links by clicking below:

* 'LIVING LIFE TO THE MAX: click HERE
*MAXDOG'S FACEBOOK FAN PAGE: click HERE
* MAXDOG, the book: click HERE

If you would like to follow me on a deeper, spiritual level, then I invite you to visit my more personal blog:

May God bless you and thank you for following me!
MAXMOM IN SOUTH AFRICA

MAXDOG's CHRISTMAS TRIBUTE

Saturday, May 22, 2010

THE WINDMILL: DAY 105

GREETINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA!!!
MAXMOM here...
The Windmill

If the wind doesn’t blow, when does the caretaker of the windmill decide to destroy the windmill? Indeed, is it the caretaker’s role to decide when to destroy the windmill? Surely it is the villagers’ decision (as a whole) to remove the windmill, considering that the windmill affects the whole community?

Max hasn’t eaten a substantial meal for a while now. To me, he looks gaunt and thin and he has  diarrhea. Despite his beautiful, bountiful fur, his skeleton is so prominent when I rub my hands across his back and his sides. I know that the photographs on my blogposts are wonderful and to a large extent evade reality. I choose the best photos that I have – out of the hundreds taken daily - because I am weary of alarming my readers. But the fact is that Maxdog is deteriorating on a daily basis and there’s nothing I can do to stop this heartbreaking process.

This morning, soon after waking, I felt strongly that it was time to let Max go. As a family, we have discussed this at length over the past agonizing months and the general feeling has been that I will be the one to make the call. Despite this, I have been acutely aware that Max is a ‘family dog’, but since he has been my responsibility over the past 10 years, I finally made the decision…it was time...but...
 
Maxdog is really my husband’s dog. His admission into our family, 10 years ago, was a result of a whole year’s painstaking convincing, on his behalf , towards changing my mind about getting a big dog in our family . I was the reluctant one and systematically fought this for over the year. In the end, I conceded and resolved rather to admit this dog into our household but also committed myself to turn him into the best dog he could be – as a gift to my husband. My resticence however dissolved the day Maxdog arrived. I was totally and wholeheartedly bowled over once the pup arrived on my doorstep.
 
I am currently writing up the story of the early life of Maxdog. It is a story beyond this blog. I’m telling you this only so that you will understand the fact that Maxdog has a really special relationship with each member of my family both individually and collectively. As his primary caregiver, I have always been very understanding of Maxdogs various relationships and his ability to reach beyond me.
 
But let’s get back to this morning and my strong feeling that it was time to let Maxdog go. I took a moment to discuss this with my hubby. He seemed comfortable with the decision. I phoned the Vet and set up the appointment to take my boy in at 11.30am. I then went into ‘automatic’ mode (something I do when there are difficult things to face) and went about my routine –tidying up profusely and finding things in the house to do just so that I wouldn’t have to think about the inevitable.
 
Maxdog simply slept quietly on his various beds throughout the house. So long as he’s near me, he’s comfortable.
 
It wasn’t long after this when I realized that my hubby was struggling with the whole thing. Indeed he was a broken man. We sat down together and reopened the discussion. He feels that it’s not time yet for Maxdog.
 
I have always believed in the value of collective decision-making because it often smoothes over subjectivity. Our home too has always been focused on love, consideration and respect for one another – both human and animal alike.
 
The bottom line…

Max is still with us. He’s comfortably sleeping at my feet. I feel absolutely exhausted – like I have gone under a hangman’s noose but haven’t died.
 
I realize that I am sharing aspects of this process that are extremely personal but I also feel strongly that these things need to be shared. Euthanasia of a beloved companion is not always the sole decision of one person. In most cases animals form part of a larger family. The human animal bond is a complex one – it reaches into dimensions that we don’t understand fully. I am hoping that in the long run me sharing this with the world will serve to help others and provide strength to them in their times of extreme heartbreak.
 
When the windmill doesn’t blow…do we remove it?
 
The irony of all this…..tomorrow is my birthday.

Sending lotsaluv to you all.

MAXMOM IN SOUTH AFRICA

56 comments:

Sheila and Bob said...

To Max, MaxMom & Family.
We think about Max daily and pray for him and for you.
We can only send our love and comfort from afar, but be assured that no decision in this situation is right or wrong.
The wonderful life and love that you all have had with Max will not end. Your love for Max and his for you will be eternal.
Max has put his trust in all of you for all of his life and now he is once again putting that same trust to you.
Max knows that you know what is best, and with all that has led up to this time, we are sure Max is at peace with whatever decision is made and in his own way he is telling your whole family to be a peace.

Golden Hugs & Love,
Sheila & Bob
Mom & Dad to
Hamish & Rescue Sophie

The Thundering Herd said...

So sorry for all that you and your family is going through, but we know the pain.

As much as we all like to say "You will just know," it is actually a very difficult decision sometimes (other times, it is obvious). Our Nikita was most like your Max - much longer than expected, slow decline, never a single obvious point to make the decision. I wish it was always easier, but it is not.

Feel free to contact us offline any time if you wish.

The Thundering Herd said...

So sorry for all that you and your family is going through, but we know the pain.

As much as we all like to say "You will just know," it is actually a very difficult decision sometimes (other times, it is obvious). Our Nikita was most like your Max - much longer than expected, slow decline, never a single obvious point to make the decision. I wish it was always easier, but it is not.

Feel free to contact us offline any time if you wish.

Jake of Florida said...

All I can say is that I ache for you as you and your husband struggle with this decision and am sending you as much love as I can over the cyberwaves.

xxx Joan (and the Barkalots)

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Huge sigh here - tough, tough, tough. We feel your pain, we were there last summer, almost identical circumstances as far as the players. We know how exhausting this can be, but you really will know when it is right for all. Our hearts ache for you, we do remember all too well what these days and nights are like for you. We trust you to know when it is time. In spite of all this heartache, we extend heartfelt wishes for you to have a blessed and happy birthday. We really don't have words to tell you how much we understand and support you. We are here for you too.

Hugs and woos, the OP Pack and Kathie

KT and Lady said...

The vessel of love you know as Max is just worn out by powers beyond everyone's control. This could never extinguish his soul (sorry Pope, dogs do have souls) and the love he has for his family. The wind is actually blowing, it just can't turn the blades anymore. Max will always be there with all of you....in the wind, waiting at the bridge.

Bouncing Bertie said...

I can feel the exhaustion in your words. The only thought I can offer is that perhaps you have to accept that there is no such thing as the perfect 'right' decision, but if you decide based on honesty, compassion and love, then that is the best you can do.
Best wishes, Gail.

Stella, Gunther and Betty said...

Our thoughts are with you right now. We are sending warm and comforting hugs across the world to you and your family.

Love,
Shannon and the Gang

Priscilla said...

It is terrible to have a decision so big lying in your hands. If Max thinks it's time to go, he'll tell you.
When a windmill doesn't blow, you don't remove it. You simply let it be a symbol of what has been and treasure it forever.
Our hearts go out to you and your family in this painstaking decision.

sprinkles said...

Yesterday was such a difficult day for me with lots of shed tears. Then I came to visit and thought I'd be reading about windmills.

When I read that you made the final decision to let Max go, I respected the decision but many more tears were shed before I could finish your post.

Now I'm shedding tears of relief. I know it's hard to understand as you're in South Africa and we've never met in person, but I truly have come to love Max as one of my own dogs. I know the pain of having a sick animal and wondering when the right time will be. It's such a difficult decision to make and I don't envy you. Just know that you're all in my thoughts and prayers always.

Happy Birthday!

Angus said...

For us this is a harrowing replay of three weeks ago. I'd made the decision but was told, quite rightly by the font, that WE would know when the time was right. As it happened there was another few days of life, fun, companionship and games - all without pain and with the benefit of hindsight
peerless in their pleasure. There's nothing I can say other than big hearts will both know and agree. Thank heavens it's not an easy decision and thank heavens there are people who pay their companion the greatest compliment of all by sharing something so deeply personal. Thinking of you as we have done for the last 105 ( and more ) days. The fact the pianful conversation has taken place will help put everything in perspective.

Roberta @ Silverwalk said...

You and Max have opened a world wide discussion on the care, love and difficult decisions made for dogs in the last days, months of their lives. I understand this strangles you. As a dog rescuer, owner and one whose parents never understood the bond between me and my horses but got the one between dogs, I treasure the courage shown by sharing your painful thoughts and choices. Please, know you are all prayed for every day. I look at my own dogs as well as my rescue pack with improved vision due to the compassion I read in this blog and in Bric & Brac. Thank you and God bless. BTW, I love the photos and stories of your homeland. Perhaps, though I do not have your international following, I should start including photos of the states I have lived in here in the US :).

Benny and Lily said...

We are sending all good thoughts for Max and family
Benny & Lily

Barb said...

I have come to love Max through this blog and will be so sad when he passes, but he will never be gone as long as this blog remains. This blog is a gift to us. It is a gift of love. A gift of your (and your entire family's) love for Max. In the end, that is what having a dog in your life is all about. It's not the fact that he's a dog... he represents unconditional love and the ability to give your entire being over to another. Max did that to you and your family, and in return you all did the same to him. That is what makes Max so special and what makes having a pet and having loved ones so special. That is what makes LIFE special and I will always thank you for sharing your love with the world through this blog and for allowing us to love you all as well.

Jacqueline said...

There are no easy answers or resolutions to this heartbreak...I made the decision to put my Nikki down, made the appointment, spent the day telling her goodbye and my parents came with me; she "perked up" in the car and once we got to the vet=she had energy, jumped up on the chair in the office (she hadn't jumped on my bed for a few weeks at that point) and used the litterbox...I could not do it on that day and brought her home with great understanding and support from my parents...She died 9 days later in my arms at home; peacefully, looking into my eyes, we were totally connected with her last breath...I actually saw and felt the life leave her little body...It was one of the most precious, intimate moments of my life and I felt so honored that she would share that moment with me...I wanted to do the right thing for her and I hope I did; I listened to my heart and let my baby decide her own fate...There is no right or wrong here, just care and compassion for someone you love beyond measure and I've no doubt you will do what Max needs you to do, whatever that turns out to be, in his own time; take care of yourself during this incredibly sad journey you are being forced to take...So sorry this seems to be culminating on your birthday weekend, Caryl...Blessings of comfort and love to you all, especially sweet Max.

Kira The BeaWootiful said...

Sometimes there are no answers, only questions. That is real life. Our hearts break for you at this difficult time. Know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
-Kira's Mom

Cloud the Wonder Dog said...

Oh Caryl, something told me to check your blog today... As I read this post, I could feel it in my heart that you were at peace with your decision... it felt right, if such a thing can feel right. I went through such a struggle last year with Bennys last 6 months of life... That roller coaster takes such a toll... one day I woke up and just knew it was time...

You are an amazing woman - sharing this experience with us, and helping to remind us how wonderful, fragile, and perfect each moment of life can be. The kindness in your heart has touched so many people's lives. It's an honor to call you my friend, Caryl! Know that you and your family are deeply loved...

Much love to you and your family!
Kathleen (and Cloud)

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Yuu-Chan and Bibi-Chan said...

Hang in there, MaxMom. Maybe he is not the windmill, but simply the wind.....

Woofs, purrs and hugs
From all your friends at The Poupounette

MySpecialDoggies said...

Dear Caryl & Max & family
Sending you our thoughts and prayers on a difficult day for our family (we lost our beloved Keelee 2 years ago today - 5/22/2008).

May Max light up your lives for more time.

Sending hugs/licks/wags from Philadelphia,
Nadine
rescue doggie Apples, golden Neeli

Angel doggie Keelee (10/10/1995-05/22/2008)

Ms. ~K said...

C, My husband and I have the same kind of relationship and we make all decisions as a team.
I know the time is near, but I'm so glad your husband convinced you that today was not the day...enjoy your special day tomorrow with your entire family, especially Max.

Please give Max a special hug and "I love you" whisper in his ear for me!

Happy Birthday , My Special Friend!
Kit

MySpecialDoggies said...

Caryl
I forgot to wish you a Happy Birthday in advance - may Max greet you tomorrow with wagging tail and kisses.
Nadine

The Life of Riley said...

Dear Caryl,
We are thinking of you, Max and all your family. Please give Max a hug from us.
Love Riley and Riley's mum

houndstooth said...

I can only add that I understand and have been there. It is just as important for you all to find peace with the decision as it is for Max to find his final peace when the time is right. It would just be so much easier if they all went to sleep and didn't wake up when their time came to fly to heaven, but sometimes it just doesn't happen that way, no matter how much we wish for it to be. I pray for much peace for you and your family as you make the most difficult of decisions! Our hearts go out to you!

Heather and Ellie said...

The human and dog bond is indeed a complex one--and often it is very hard to tell what is right and what is not.
I feel for you and your hubby. The pain you are going through must be way harder than I could ever imagine.
Despite the troubled times you and your family are going through, I hope that you have a good birthday! But I understand it probably won't be the best one....
Love,
Heather and Ellie

Mrs. JP said...

OH, my precious friend. What an emotionally exhausting day you have had. I feel your pain and will be in fervent prayer for your family's decision, your peace, and Max's comfort. I hope that your birthday is one of joy.
We here in the holler are in reverent prayer for you and yours.

Sam said...

We think constantly of you, and keep you in our hearts and prayers. We are sending you many hugs for Max, and for you!

Sam, Monty, Christine and Aaron

Scout 'n Freyja said...

I know only too well what you and your family are going through. It is miserable, just miserable. The thought of taking a life is beyond most rational thinking.

Making the decision to euthanize a beloved family member can be gut wrenching at the very least.

Bottom line - none of us can make the decision to let Max go to wherever good and dear souls go when they have completed their Circle of Life.

Maybe the best thing you could do at this point is take Max to your vet and have him give you an objective opinion concerning Max's quality of life and how he may or may not be feeling medically.

One thing I'd hate to see happen would be for darling Max to go into distress in the middle of the night with his family feeling inadequate to help him. However, you have to be comfortable with what you decide.

I think sometimes that we, as humans and knowing what we do about death, over-think things. Dogs, on the other hand, have the blessing of not knowing what is around the next corner. They just take what is given to them each day and that is that. It is what it is.

Oh, how I wish I could take this pain for you but each of us has to do what we need to do when we need to do it - and we must do it ourselves.

Sending much, much love to sweet Max and his loving family.

Sierra Rose said...

Our hearts understand this painful time. The love created is beautiful and amazing and will remain forever. All the hundreds of photos you have taken are those precious moments and you can print and frame, and the love created will be the feeling in your hearts always.
Golden Honey's troubled breath was our sign....our constant companion, how could we let her go...her eyes and body told us...we made a pawprint and memorial...held her....and have her spirit with us every moment.

Much love,
Kristin, Dave and Sierra Rose

Khyra, Khousin Merdie, And Sometimes Her Mom said...

It truly is something all have to be comfortable with -

Especially since 'you' will be here when Max's physical body is not -

MaxDad has to feel it as well -

All the comments shared so say it all so well -

I'm probably quite taken by #1's take on it -

We've all been there - and had to do it - it is never easy

But then again, what part of life is?

JC said...

I am just crying away over here. Cause today you have to go through this and I will have to in the near future. I am so very sorry ...

caboval said...

Well, I cannot say I know how you feel, havent come to that fork in my road yet. I know its heartbreaking as my heart is breaking for you and your family. I have come to know you and love Max and do my daily check on him. Like some of the others have said, it may be the wind stopped blowing today and may perk up tomorrow. I believe in my heart Max will let you know when its time. Oh Caryl, Im so so sorry you are going through this and I wish I could ease your pain!!!! Just know we are praying for you and Max. he is forever in our hearts as you are. Our love and respect for you has no boundrys. God bless you and may God bless Max as he approaches the Rainbow Bridge. Please give him our hugs and kisses from a far and whisper to him how much we love him. We are thinking about you every minute. Hugs Joey, Kealani and Valerie

Lola said...

Blog Mom knows how hard it is to arrive at that decision sometimes. She's been there before, more than once and it didn't get easier the second or third time. No one outside of the family and a trusted vet can really help, either. You'll make the best decision you can, out of love for Max and that will be the right decision.

Clive said...

Know that we are all thinking of you ....

love from
Murray and Clive

Sunny,Scooter(sometimes Jamie) said...

such an intimate decision. That no one can make for you or your husband. Each of us have certain perameters we follow in these situations. (And yes! what a gift for our dear friend to just go to sleep. Which luckily happened to me when I had been talking to my vet at the time all day, that I may have to call him as Gloria(Brussels Griffon) was getting worse/ As I sat by her she breathed her last. Neither one is easy. I cannot say either is easy because the end result is the same.)
We live too long, and our dogs live too short. GOD spelled backward-DOG. Lessons, pure souls. If could take the pain from you I would Caryl.
My perameters are different from my sister's. It is sooo personal.
May he give you the gift of passing peacefully in his sleep.
I too do not think he is the not windmill, but the wind. Always present with you and your husband. He will live in your heart forever and yes pope, animals do have souls. One only has to look in their eyes.
God Bless you and keep you in this difficult time.
We love you, we pray for you and OH, how it hurts.
Have as happy birthday as you can and never forget he will always be with you. He is YOUR heart dog, sweetie.
Sad Hugs(having had to go through this hell TOO many times)-what happens when you get "mature" and have had dogs alll your life
Jamie an Scooter an Sunny
We will pray for y'all

Piappies World said...

Happy Birthday, Maxdog Mom!

We say a special prayer for you today that you may be guided through these tough times. It is very hard to be faced with such struggles.

For today, embrace the moment to be with your loved ones, The Boss, your hooman family, King Toffee, Tammy and Max. Let the love fill your heart and the happiness fill your home.

We love you always,

- Piappies Mom, Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai, Wai-MAX & the Piappies

Stella said...

It is my prayerful hope that Max will take this decision right out of your hands and go off in his sleep one night. I bet that is what he would like best. Whatever the decision may be, though, I wish you the very best in making it, just you and the Boss, or the two of you and your vet. Stay with him and let your scent be the last he sniffs as he goes off.

Love and hugs,

Jo and Stella

Petey said...

Dear Caryl,

Just know that you cannot make a wrong decision right now. Whatever you decide, whenever you decide, that is the best decision. You are so right, you've had 105 days of grace to treasure Max like never before. I remember when my own dear Dad was dying of lung cancer almost nine years ago. The incredible woman from hospice told me that we needed to tell him it was okay to go, that Mom and I would alright. Dad had been in a deep sleep for a day and a half and as Mom and I left his hospital room for the evening, I told him if he needed to go on without us, that was okay. We could take care of each other. He passed away early the next morning. Max may also sense that your husband is not quite ready to let go. As it has been said so many times before, when the time is right, Max will let you know.

My birthday was Thursday - please make tomorrow a joyful day, my almost twin across the ocean...

Love,

Jane and Petey

The Airechicks said...

We're holding tight. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

XXooXXOooXOooXXoo

Jennifer said...

So heartbreaking...it sounds as tho Max as lived a life full of love! Cherish all the memories and hold on tight to each one of them. Sending prayers of comfort & peace to you and your family and eventually, JOY will fill your heart.

Blessings,

the booker man said...

maxmom,
i wish there was something i could do to help or to comfort you. i can only imagine how difficult a decision you are faced with. i know you and your family will make the right decision because you love max so much, but that doesn't take away the fact that it is hard. i am thinking of ya'll and praying for you. please try to enjoy your birthday tomorrow!

*hugs*
the booker man and asa's mama

Tweedles -- that's me said...

I know your hearts are breaking
love
tweedles

Busby and Raymond said...

Maxdog and the your family are in our thoughts and prayers. We know what you are going through. Thank you for sharing Max with us here on the other side of the world. xoxoxo

Wild Dingo said...

What an honest, provoking and moving post. We sympathize greatly with the struggle and pain you are in and feel so sad for you or anyone that has to go through this. It's never easy. Life is too short for our furry loved ones. You have our constant warmest wishes and offer whatever we can in the way of support. I still smile each time I see Max in the pool in the header photo and I suppose I always will.

warm wishes and soft wags,
wild dingo

Cheyenne -Millie said...

Thank you for this post. It is a hard thing you are going through. We are praying for you.

We hope your birthday is good.

Kea said...

I wish I had words of comfort to offer, but of course there are none. Just trust yourselves to do what is for Max's Highest Good and know his life--and your blog--has had a world-wide impact on so many.

Wishing you all Blessings and Peace and hoping you find a bit of Joy on your birthday.

Maggie and Mitch said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you constantly!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Dom said...

Hi Maxmom,

I'm so sorry that you and your family are going through such a difficult time! It is really hard to say good bye to an animal. Thoughts and prayers are with you.
Love
Dom

Brian said...

My sisters and I know that you will always love Max and that he will always be a part of you. We send you our most loving purrs. We love you Max.

Scout 'n Freyja said...

Sending Max each and every morsel of my love. Sending you and your family this prayer:

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

I wish with all my heart that I could take all of your pain and give you peace and freedom from your immense sorrow.

Furkidsmom said...

It's a very difficult decision to make. Moms had to do it a couple of times and it is never easy. When the time is right you and your husband will both know. In the meantime we will purr and pray for you and for Max.



Sniffie and the Florida Furkids

The Island Cats said...

Our mom says this is one of the hardest decisions she's ever had to make in her life...when to let a beloved pet go. We send you comforting purrs to you and your husband and to sweet MaxDog during this most difficult time.

Mango the Maltese kiddo said...

Dear Caryl and family,
Mango's mom here. Hug you my dear. Suddently I have a tension headache while reading your words today. It's very difficult time for you and your family now. I had put my Maltese Ringo to sleep when he was 15 years old after 14 months fighting with diabetes and congestive heart failure and collasped trachea. The memory is still fresh like it just happened last week.
I'll keep praying for you and your family and especially for Max to be peaceful as much as possible, remember, you have us doggies and doggies' moms to support you through this hard and sad time.
Love y'all

Sheryl said...

I have been in your position, in my case it was a cat, and it's very hard.

I am so glad you and your husband revisited the topic and that he was able to express his feelings. You truly have a house of love.

Junior and Orion said...

Oh MaxMom,

We so wish none of you were going thru this, but we thank you for being so open and honest about all of it.

All we can say is MaxDog may take the decision out of your hands.

Whatever happens we continue purring and praying and sending all of you big hugs!

Emma Rose said...

Happy Birthday MaxMom. Our hearts are heavy for you and your family.

God Bless,
Emma Rose and the Duchess

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

We scrolled down to read this post too. We know the decision is already made ~ and maxdog is gone. But we know you did the right thing by following your heart. Purrs.