It happened again last night. I was playing with my friend at the big field on the hill, the full moon filtered by a thin layer of clouds when off in the distance I saw what appeared to be the moon walking on the horizon.
My tail lifted. My ears leaned forward and I stood erect — fixed by the image. I waited a moment, scented the unusually warm February air and then raced across the wide expanse of field to see if the walking moon was indeed my good friend, Max.
Humans are always looking for deeper meanings to life’s every day occurrences. A soaring eagle over head, a phone call from someone they were just thinking about, a song filled with memory playing on the radio – as if the randomness of life weren’t so random at all; as if they were, in fact, messages from something greater than ourselves.
Dogs don’t view the world this way. How do I say this as kindly as possible — we do not hold ourselves at the center of it all. We know that the universe does not, in fact, revolve around us. I know humans may disagree. I know they think we act as if it’s all about us, but this is not the case.
We are grounded in this moment and what happens the next or what has happened before does not interest us.
But last night, when the moon overhead – obscured by the thin layer of blanketing clouds – cast a filtered light on the moon walking on the horizon there was a moment when my heart paused in reflection. Perhaps this is a message. Perhaps my friend Max, who has been in the hospital for more than a week, who I have not been able to visit, whose health is precarious at best — perhaps Max is trying to tell me something.
As I raced across the field, my tail wagging a hello, I opened my heart to really listen for the deeper meaning of the moment. Of course, as I drew nearer, the figure on the horizon changed shape and what I thought to be the moon turned into something other than Max. Yes, it was another Great Pyrenees. Yes, he was beautiful and majestic, filled with kindness, gentleness, and wisdom — but he as not Max.
I will admit I was disappointed. Major — the name of this dog — was friendly and sweet, much like Max, but he was not, as I had hoped, Max.
All night long the image of the walking moon haunted me. I slept in fits — a combination of concern and the feeling that I was missing something. And this morning when I woke, I looked outside my window at the dark morning sky and realized the full moon had left the sky.
Max is home, back with Suzanne his long-term foster Mom. He spent over a week at the hospital under the care of amazing techs and vets, but unfortunately all the love and care in the world has not helped solve the mystery of Max.
As Suzanne told us recently, she could write pages of what Max does not have, but still no one is able to say why Max cannot use his front legs properly. And all the while, Max grows weaker physically though not in spirit.
Meanwhile, the humans in his life try to figure out what message Max is sending — there must be a reason why Max is here with us now and if only we could figure it out, Max would get well.
When I woke this morning to a moonless sky, my thoughts were of Max. His story is a study in the complexities of humanity. Kept in horrible conditions in California, he was the embodiment of love where no love existed. Rescued by a twist of fate — attached to Molly who was the intended rescue — he came to Seattle where he was surrounded by such love and kindness his smile widened across the sky.
His purpose, I believe, was to make certain that his life’s companion — Molly — was delivered safely from her hell and secured in a loving home where she could curl up next to children on the couch and take long adventures in the woods.
But this morning, when the light finally whispered for night to leave, I knew in my dog heart that it is time for Max to choose. It is time for Max to choose his path — to be the moon walking on the horizon of a big, open field or the moon full and bright in the sky.
There are no messages.
Max is no messenger. He is just a dog who I am proud to call my friend.