Max…


Saturday, my son Baird and his shared dog, Max, came over to hang out. Max was a birthday present from Baird to his girlfriend, Ryann. Max is 5 months old and has one distinguishing feature: a beard. On the bottom of his snout, is a black tuft of hair that is so cute. As a matter of fact, the beard brought about his name. Baird and Ryann named him after the sleigh-pulling dog on Dr. Suess’s  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” When Max was a puppy, he looked just like him, but now that he has grown, he is much too leggy. Baird, Hannah, Max and I went to Heritage park, in Olathe, where a large area has been fenced off specifically for dogs. Part of the dog park is a pond where the dogs can work on their tan and cavort while trying to pick up chicks. Although Max is a little too young for picking up chicks, he is just young enough to really annoy the other dogs intent on chasing their tennis balls thrown in the water. Actually, Max is too polite to retrieve another dog’s ball, but that didn’t stop him from swimming out to it and teasing the other dog by turning aside just as he would reach the ball. Once the other dog got to the ball and begin to retrieve it, Max would swim beside it or cross its path while barking in a water-clogged woof.

Max especially liked to mess with one old, golden retriever. The owner would throw the ball into the pond, and Goldie would look out at the ball, thinking, I’m sure, “This is absolutely pointless…. Oh, well… it obviously makes her happy to keep throwing that thing in the water…”  Goldie would begin to swim, moving slowly with just her head visible. She looked like an alligator on the prowl… slow… no… I….mean…..s…..l…..o……wwwwww. Max would immediately race out to the ball when it landed in the water. He would come within inches of it, looking at it but not attempting to retrieve it. He’d then circle the ball, waiting for Goldie to painstakingly retrieve the ball.  Max would then circle the Golden while she swam back to shore. Once or twice I thought Max was going to hitch a ride on the back of the other dog, but I’m sure that was another tease, intent on being as big  a pest as possible.

Watching Max interact with these dogs, I was reminded of a cartoon I loved when I was a kid. It was a Looney Tunes cartoon….sigh….they don’t make ’em like they used to….. anyway, Spike the bulldog was a tough, dog-of-the-world, street-smart pooch who was pestered by a  gangsta-wanna-be terrier, named Chester. As Spike paraded about town in all his stately magnificense, Chester circled him while asking questions punctuated with, “Huh, Spike, huh?” Eventually Spike would get fed up with the bouncing Chester,  yell “Shaddup!!!” and club Chester with a swipe of his massive paw.

While Max never received his comeuppance, he certainly seemed intent on causing as much annoyance to the older dogs as possible. He also seemed intent on annoying his owner. While Max teased the older dogs, Baird stood on the shore and yelled his name, trying  to coax, or demand, him to comply with proper dog etiquette rather than be such a pain. Obviously, Max’s behaviour showed immense intelligence. He was able to be a pain in the ass for the older dogs AND  his owner at the same time… WHAT FUN!

After finally getting Max out of the water, we decided to get McDonald’s for dinner. As we got back in the car, I sat in the back seat with Max. He was still damp, and had that wet-puppy-from-swimming-in-a-pond smell….which I love! As soon as we started to drive back to town, Max curled up next to me, put his head on my thigh and went to sleep. Nuisance can make you tired.

After grabbing a quick meal at McD’s, we went back to my place to watch the Chiefs game. Although Hannah isn’t much of a football fan, we were able to satisfy her with watching MMA beforehand. Seriously, Hannah loves Ultimate Fighting… She also loved spending time with her brother and dad. Eventually, Hannah got a call from a friend and they left. Football finally got to her. Hanging with Baird and Dad was great, but…friends….

Baird and I watched until halftime when he and Max had to get Ryann from work. As they left, it was beginning to rain, and Baird gave me a hug beneath the drops.

 Sometimes, God surprises you with days that are unexpectedly perfect…

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