“Noah Knows Best” or Marmaduke Part 2

So, the hostage crisis ended when, at the end of school, (which took FOREVER because no one could concentrate with all the ruckus going on outside) Noah went out to “talk things over with Marmaduke”.

It ends up Marmaduke had exhausted himself and promptly plopped himself on the floor after we opened the garage door. 

“Mom, he doesn’t know how to go home,” Noah.

“Yeah, it’s beginning to look that way,” me resignedly again.

“Can we keep him!?” Noah with that 400 carat smile.

“Are you crazy?  That dog eats 50 lbs of dog food a week.  Either you are going to eat or he is going to eat if we keep him.  Not both of you.” Me exasperated.

Michael decided we should call the number on the rabies tag and lo and behold there were three phone numbers to call.  One was for a car dealership, another a pool company, and the last hung up on Michael.  The vet had an old address for the owner but knew the dog and knew his name was “Max”.

Well, what are we going to do?  Watch and wait was my call. 

“Max” had quite the day with us.  The kids and our neighbors’ kids flocked to him like he was a bag of really smelly, wet Doritos.  He was just as happy to play with them. 

Noah has to complete a physical fitness challenge for cub scouts which includes running a mile 3 times a week.  Max, though wobbly, managed to get through the whole thing.  He only stopped at what we call “red neck beach” (a local creek on one of our trails) for a five-minute swim.  I also think he drank half the water in the creek.  It was a little iffy whether he was going to make it back up the bank.  With a little coaxing from Noah, he managed.

Late in the day, Michael got a call from Max’s grandma who was pet sitting him while his family is in Orlando on vacation.  They live across a lake that separates our neighborhood from their home.  “How did he get across?” we are all wondering.  No one will ever know.

What we did find out is that Max’s pancreas has failed.  He can’t digest food without special enzymes sprinkled on his food.  He has cancer which presented itself in an enormous ball hanging from his jowl.  His legs have been shaking for a very long time.

Maybe Max had decided it was time to die.  Instead he ran into a former pet sitter, two kids with an enormous amount of love,compassion, and time on their hands to pour huge heaps of love on a dog who is obviously in a lot of pain in his last days. 

But one of his last days was spent in the midst of kiddie chaos, big wheels, treats secretly passed his way, patches of sunshine on the grass, an adventure in the creek and ended with his grandparents lovingly hoisting his frail body into their truck bed.

Some people criticize homeschooling.  They think people who do it are weird and their kids are not socialized.  But I can’t think of a BETTER way to socialize my kids.  They learned compassion, gentleness, community, caring for those weaker than yourself….  That doesn’t come in a dry textbook. 

My kids will never forget the day they met Max.  The day an enormous dog followed them home, whined at their door, waved at them through the window, salivated all over their toes, hit them with his long tail, pressed against their side to get a little more scratching on his back.  They will remember being concerned about this lost dog and worrying that there wasn’t anyone there to love him the way they were willing to love him.  They will always remember the gentle giant who they  waved to as he sat in the bed of  the truck of his loved ones, into a beautiful sunset, with his head to the wind….and his future.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Pop Pop on September 17, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I must say that after reading parts 1 & 2 I had the distinct feeling that this should be either a children’s book or a movie. Perhaps write a children’s book, after finding an illustrator and then maybe someone will turn it into a movie. It really was a very good story. By the end I had a deep appreciation for Max and what he’s been through. The picture of an exhausted Max with Noah was priceless. Nicely done.


    • Thanks for the compliment Mike. I often have moments when I think I must be in a dramatic movie or a sitcom and if I could just figure out where the entrance to “offstage” is located, I could go take a hot bath….or maybe just hit the “pause” button and take a deep breath…..


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