GREETINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA!
(Our special little memorial at home)
In terms of dog dynamics, Max was a formidable presence! Not only was he statuesque, strong, vital and robust, but he kept his pack firmly in line. He had so many facets to his temperament. There was his gentler side where he’d let my chickens sit on his back or Miss R’s hamster on his paws and then there was his dominant side, which was not negotiable.
In our household, I was leader of the dog pack. As my primary companion, Max took his role seriously. From a human’s perspective, I think we would consider him selfish. You see, he didn’t share! As far as his toys were concerned, they were his and his alone! Bones and treats belonged to him and I would have to separate the dogs in the four corners of our property so that they would each be able to enjoy their own. When he was finished his however, and the other pack members were still busy, he merely annexed them. As a strong and vital dog, they didn’t argue.
was brought into this household when Maxdog was one year old. Max and her bonded immediately. They played with each other incessantly and basically grew up together.
For practical purposes, Tammy was spayed at 9months of age. She has the softest, calmest temperaments in a dog that I have ever come across. She is gentle and quiet and will submit to anything – except the two Malteses in this household. She has never snapped at anything and she drew most of her confidence from Maxdog.
Maxdog was her hero and she would do anything for him!It was impossible for us to really play with TAMMY-GIRL, because her devotion to Max didn’t allow it. We tried by taking her out on her own, but she didn’t want it.
She wanted Max and that is how we let her be.
Over the years she did take over what she obviously construed as her responsibility – like the Hadedah Ibises and doves in our garden.
She hates them beyond measure. She’ll stalk them, she’ll chase them, she’ll patrol the perimeter to secure it from them. This is her domain.
But she only took it on because Maxdog wasn’t really interested.
Now that Max has gone, and as most of you have picked up, Tammy needs attention. She is confused without him.
She won’t go near his toys, but she will sleep in the places he slept and will hide her nose in the cushioning...
It is my role now to try and develop her confidence and self esteem. I think I will have to invest in some ‘toys’ which don’t have Max’s smell on them and which she might take on as her own!
It’s interesting that she’s annexed his raw-hide bone, but won’t touch his toys and it’s also interesting how the other dogs are reacting to the changes with Maxdog’s departure.
Tammy has usurped the bone!!!
It is clearly hers!!!
When she is not mouthing it, it is left on the lawn, in the shadow of the tree where Maxdog sometimes lay and the other dogs don't go near it!
Sometimes she chews on it and sometimes she shakes it and tosses it in the air.
It’s almost a celebratory ritual of the fact that it is now hers.
It’s quite incredible to watch!
My walks with her in the evening have been much quieter.
Being a gentle, obedient soul, I don’t have my arm pulled incessantly.
Rather, she walks quietly besides me all the time looking around for Max. He was her shield on the walks when other dogs barked or attacked. He was also her playmate when they charged down to the green patch...she’d always wait for him before she darted off. Now she still charges, only to interrupt her stride and look back...
”Where is Max?”
Instead of feeling sorry for Tammy (which I do), I have been enlightened by some of my blogging friends, that perhaps I should view Tammy as Max’s heirloom for me.
I find this notion beautiful and I am sure to take it on!
With treats, lots of love and cuddles as well as systematic encouragement, perhaps she will emerge into a more confident dog despite her age of 9 years.
She discovered last night that she loves licking yoghurt containers.
(Something previously reserved for Max)
She has discovered that it’s actually quite easy to climb onto my bed and receive cuddles...
She is discovering that she may be top dog and she will have to rise to the role.
In the meantime...
is a really happy chappy!
He is quite comfortable with the new arrangement and the absence of Max. He can now happily play with balls without them being stolen and he has far less competition. At the moment he’s a bundle of energy!
As for little old TOMMY (the “boarder” as we jokingly call him because he was my late mother’s dog), I don't think he is aware of any changes whatsoever. He is fifteen years old now and has a number of health issues, so he sleeps all the time. We will probably also have to say goodbye to him soon. I think it will be easier for me to say goodbye to him because it is something I have expected and will probably be a relief for both him and I. Oh dear, the joy of dog ownership!
Thank you to you all for your immense support for me during this time. I am spending my time writing (Max’s book) and have not been visiting your blogs. Please accept my apologies. As the healing process advances, I will visit, but perhaps not for now. I will probably only be writing these blogposts because I find both writing and your comments enormously strengthening. I hope you can find it in yourselves to understand and not be offended...I just can’t visit at the moment!
Sending lotsaluv to you all, my special, special cyber-friends!
MAXMOM IN SOUTH AFRICA