A Matter of Dedication:
A Matter of Dedication An Editorial By Mike White. In all but the first few issues of Cashiers du Cinemart I’ve included a dedication. I don’t know why I began this practice except perhaps in order to give a nod to the passing of artists whose work has touched me in some way...
In all but the first few issues of Cashiers du Cinemart I’ve included a dedication. I don’t know why I began this practice except perhaps in order to give a nod to the passing of artists whose work has touched me in some way. Other than a brief mention, I’ve never been prompted to venture a retrospective of the fondly remembered people who have shuffled off this mortal coil while I toiled on an issue. I suppose I’ve been leaving the task of writing proper obituaries to Michael Weldon of Psychotronic Video. He often fills pages upon pages of his magazine with well-researched obits.
I had planned to dedicate this issue to a few entertainers such as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Jim Varney and Richard B. Shull. However, a few weeks before going to press I lost someone very dear to me-someone who won’t be mentioned in any obituary column.
I met Andrea shortly after I was separated from my ex-wife. Not only did Andrea let me into her heart but so did her animals: Misha, Hobie, Wally, and especially Max. Short for Maxine, Max had an uncanny ability to know when folks were feeling bad. She had given Andrea good company for the first nine years of her canine life. However, when we met, Max not only befriended me; she adopted me.
Those first few months after my separation were difficult, to say the least. Max was always there for me-not only when I was giving my lachrymal glands a workout but whenever I was just feeling a little blue. She’d be at my side, nudging my arm, trying to give me solace.
I never really had a dog when I was growing up. There were a few failed experiments that were given away rather quickly and with whom I never formed any real bond. By the age of eight, I was living in a two-cat household. My parents were pleased by the independence of cats, especially in the elimination arena. Cats offered little messy clean-up and no nighttime trips to the back door to let them in and out.
My parents were given a dog when I was in my teens. She was an orphaned Bouvier named Dama. She was one hell of a dog; trained, smart, and relatively friendly. She quickly became my Dad’s dog. It’s not that Dama didn’t like me-she was rather indifferent to me. I was a poor daytime substitute to my dad’s presence. After all, I wasn’t the one who took her to the park or gave her Kit Kats on evening rides to the Liquor Store.
Despite her years of loyalty to Andrea, Max became “my dog” when I met her. I can’t quite express the overwhelming joy I felt every night that I came home from work to find Max at the door waiting for me. With eighty-five pounds of force behind her, the Rottweiler had been trained to not jump up on anyone. So, instead, when she was excited she bounced. It looked like she had hydraulics installed in her front paws, as she’d bounce up and down upon my arrival. At the same time she’d be furiously wagging the stump she had for a tail-wildly waggling her rear end, waiting for me to give her recognition.
Max was always good company. She loved to go out for walks, play fetch, be petted, and cuddle. When I was ill she’d come to visit me; laying next to the bed or coming in to check on my condition. Over X-mas of ’99 I was frightfully sick. Max wasn’t content to keep a vigilant watch-she crawled onto my bed (despite the effort involved) and helped keep me warm as I slept through the day.
Maxine blew out her knee last summer. Andrea and I imagine that she probably twisted it on the rocks we laid down on the side of the house. We noticed her limping and took her into the vet’s office a few days later. After some probing and prodding, the doctor diagnosed that the ligaments around her knee were torn.
There was a cure but it would involved keeping Maxine calm for two years after the operation. Even at ten years old, Maxine still wanted to play like a puppy. We couldn’t imagine trying to keep her placid for such a long period of time. Not only would it be nearly impossible (without some major drugs), it’d be unfair to her. As some days were better than others, we let Max’s condition go. Yes, we knew that she might worsen but by giving her the occasional pain pill and taking good care of her, we put that out of our minds as much as we could. We just tried to enjoy her company and let Max enjoy herself.
Despite giving Max the occasional baby aspirin or dose of Motrin, her condition started to worsen in the early months of ’00. In March we noticed her hobbling despite how many pain-killers we gave her. Our Golden Retriever puppy, Abby, of whom Max had been wonderfully tolerant, began to wear on the old girl’s nerves. When Max protested the puppy’s playfulness and Wally started avoiding her, Andrea and I knew that it was time. The quality of Max’s life was starting to fade and we owed her as much to let her go with some dignity instead of being selfish and ignoring her pain.
Even to the bitter end-after the Vet (a Saint if I ever met one) had given Max a strong sedative to help make the final shot easier-Max was still trying to make Andrea and me feel better. That huge Rottweiler had her entire front half on my lap and kept looking up at me as if to tell me that everything was going to be fine and that I shouldn’t be upset. She died the way she lived, cuddling and comforting.
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