Sometimes when words fail us, the easiest way to say something is to let a dog do the talking. Here’s Veggie with some sad news.

A change has occurred here, at this place that became my sanctuary. The change is so palpable that every human and canine who walks through the gate can feel it in their bones. My nemesis is gone. I have outlived him.

We were two so similar, traveling the same path from unwanted dog, disposed of as easily as someone’s trash, to beloved companion and friend of many, and yet we were as different as day and night. My slight frame, covered clumsily with coarse blond hair, barely reached halfway up his long sleek black legs. He put his complete trust in the humans, giving each one the benefit of the doubt. I make each one earn my favor, and even then, I’m careful with my affections. Our entire lives here, he moved confidently and gracefully while I ambled along behind him, each of us whispering our mutual disdain.

He even tried to kill me once. But he is gone, and I remain.

We were roommates, sharing a little barn near the house. Once, other dogs lived there with us, but slowly they passed away one by one until only we were left. After dinner, I’d lie under my heater and watch him chase mice. Even in our old age, he was lightning quick… until one day, he just wasn’t. He died there, in our barn.

I often wished he didn’t live here with me, that he didn’t share my barn or my people. I wished I were bigger and could bark louder. I wished he couldn’t outrun me or ignore my growls. Now I don’t know what to wish for. In the company of so many, I’m alone. I have outlived my nemesis, and no one else measures up.

Goodbye, Max.

Goodbye, Max.