Max and Blackie.
So unlike each other and yet, so fundamentally the same.
A year ago, Blackie survived an interstate move. He spent hours bouncing in the back of an unheated UHaul truck, in a broken waterless aquarium. 6 months ago he survived a second move, one which claimed the life of his tank mate Sunny. We tried finding him some new friends and instead gave him a parasitic anchor worm infection. Poor Blackie underwent extensive treatment over the course of weeks and somehow managed once again to triumph. But even heroes have their time. Blackie the miracle fish, who had given us his all and then some, passed away overnight without drama or fanfare. It was a gentle death. The most any of us could ask.
Much like Blackie, this year Max also rebounded from a horrific infection which nearly claimed his life. He’s always suffered from acute allergies (to what, we don’t know) but 7 months ago, Max was in the worst state he’s ever been. He’d lost nearly a third of his body weight, and his body appeared to be breaking down. I’ll never forget taking him to the Portland Dog Wash, a self-serve facility, just before we moved into our new house. As we gently bathed him, blood literally poured from his sides. His back half was nearly bald. The vet put him on steroids & antibiotics, we switched his food for the MILLIONTH TIME, and we prayed for the best. I don’t know if it was a combination of everything – this beautiful yard, the new allergen free food, the steady low dose of steroids, sheer willpower, love, but over the past 6 months, Max has RETURNED. Our friends and family who saw him at death’s door and see him now simply marvel at this beast. None of us expected him to live, let alone thrive.
Today is March 2, 2010. Max’s 9th Birthday and Blackie’s “death day.” I am not quite sure what the great cosmos is trying to say, taking one life as we celebrate another. So I will close with Happy Birthday Max. And happy trails, Blackie. Here’s to you both.