Jake, Max, and Quito in the front yard one spring day.

Max is the last of the trilogy. He’s 13 and a half and that’s pretty old for a Lab-mix. As we were walking on his morning walk today I realized how much I appreciate all he’s done for me.

Another road trip with Jake, Max, & Quito

At one time I had 3 dogs, and they were all special in their own way. They say dogs are like their owners and vise versa. As Max and I were rambling around the golf course edges, I had a revelation. I had 3 dogs, and each represented part of me.

Quito, the first, was a black lab. He came to me as the last of  a litter, via United Airlines out of Chicago. He loved attention, and give lots of licks and attention back. The most devoted, loyal, and fun-loving of the bunch.

Quito in the snow at Flagstaff

On the trails he would run ahead, but always come back to check on me, and make sure I was coming along. I taught him to be fearless, to dive off cliffs into swimming holes, and to swim underwater.

airborne, near Winslow, AZ

He was a Frisbee dog, and we competed locally in the national competition. His bark sounded ferocious when someone knocked on the door, but he just licked them when they came in.

Jake, the philosopher

Jake, the yellow lab.  Saved from the pound, because he put his paws up on the pen when Sula and I walked by. His eyes said “save me”, so we did. 2 years younger than Quito, he was eventually accepted, and became Quito’s understudy.

Jake in the Superstition Wilderness

But he was different. Not a ball-chaser. “The spiritual one” we called him. Usually quiet, and thoughtful. sometimes Jake would stop and stare off into ….nothing. Staring under a tree, or in a corner of the house. He could see the things we couldn’t see. He was a protector, and wary of other dogs until he got to know them. He wasn’t afraid to attack, and ask questions later, but he was the sensitive one, afraid of thunderstorms hiding in a dark bathroom shaking, while Quito snored away. When Quito died, Jake was there, and watched the soul leave his old friend.

Max "just being" with the koi

Max, the chocolate and the independent. He was found abandoned in a box with his brother, who was adopted by another friend. The other dogs were bigger than him, but taught him what they knew. So he would swim, but not dive in. He would fetch a ball, but not always bring it back. He wants his ears rubbed, or to lay beside you, but he’ll never lick you or show affection. But, like Jake, he want to be on the bed with you during the thunder. And I have had many sleepless nights putting up with his quivering and pacing, and whining.

Thanksgiving Day - 2010

Max is the only one left. He’s had more medical problems that the other two combined, but has outlived them both. He’s still independent, but wants attention and isn’t afraid to let me know when it’s time to get off the computer and give him some quality time, or a walk, or a treat.  Not a vegetarian, he’ll barking incessantly until he gets his after-dinner favorite: chicken jerky.

Max thanks for being here today, Thanksgiving, Day, and for teaching me something about myself.

What has your pet taught you?