Have I told you about the new man in my life?
His name is Max and he’s got blonde hair and is pretty burly and is ultimately loveable and soft in the head.
He is of course a dog. Aren’t I hilarious? Did you see what I did there? I pretended I was talking about a human when actually it’s a dog. I know, I know. I’m totally mad.
When Jess died it left a hole in my life, never mind my Dad and Step-Mum’s. She was about 14/15 years old so really she’d been around forever for my Step-Mum. Add to this the fact that she was recently retired and she was left feeling pretty lonely in the house all day with no doglet padding around after her.
Unfortunately the timing wasn’t right for them to get a new dog because they were going to stay at the house in France for a few months over Summer so they decided to wait until they were back and settled before beginning to have a look for a new canine friend.
They had decided they would want an older dog because they weren’t really up for training a puppy again, so they thought that they might get a dog from a rescue site or something. But not long after they were back, they were flicking through the local paper and happened upon an advert looking for a good home for a 6 year old Golden Retriever.
Max’s old family was a lady who lived not too far away from them and had recently been diagnosed with an illness meaning that she wasn’t really in a position to be looking after a somewhat boisterous dog anymore. She came with Max to visit my Dad and Step-Mum and to see the house and having decided that they were good people the deal was done.
He is obviously very different to Jess and that’s weird sometimes. I expect him to do things that Jess liked to do and then it feels weird but I just need more time with him to get to know him better and accept him for Max instead of thinking of him as a Jess-replacement.
One huge difference between Max and Jess is the barking. Oh the barking. Pre-Max I would go to the door, ring the doorbell, Jess would come padding through the hall and sit and wait for someone to open the door and then she’d stick her head forward for a pat. Post-Max I go to the door, ring the doorbell and see and hear Max come hurtling at the door barking his massively large head off, non-stop, until Dad comes and tells him to be quiet and sit down (which he does because he is a good boy) and opens the door. Max shows a little bit of interest in you but then runs into the kitchen ahead of you and by the time you get in there, he’s stood with a toy in his mouth wagging his tail at you.
One night a while ago I spent the night at Dad and Caroline’s. Dad had already left for work and when he goes, Max is allowed upstairs to go and sit in their bedroom until my Step-Mum gets up. I got myself ready for work and came out of my bedroom to see Max lying outside their bedroom door. He watched me walk all the way along the landing. Not making a sound. I put one toe on the stairs to go down them and he erupted into a barking frenzy. I stood there going “It’s me! It’s me you idiot! You’ve just watched me walk towards you you maniac!” But nothing shut him up until he inevitably woke my Step-Mum up and she told him to pipe down.
He is much bouncier in some ways than Jess which I guess is down to his age. And trust me you know about it when a Golden Retriever tries to launch themselves at you. You’ll be sat down, stroking him and decide to stop. WHAM a very large paw lands on your lap to “encourage” you to continue your duty.
The best thing about Max though is the way in which he lies. At first I was a little concerned that he was going to have some kind of hip dysplasia but they’ve had him checked out and all his joints are in working order, he just must be incredibly flexible. His favourite position is to lie with his back legs out behind him like so...
It looks so funny. We call him Spatchcock Dog when he does that.
I’m yet to take him out for a walk but I’ve seen my Step-Mum out with him and he appears impeccably behaved and doesn’t have to be on a lead. Although if he spies a squirrel in the park he’s off like a shot and has come pretty close a couple of times to catching one. And one of his dog friends in the park is actually his Mum. I’m pretty sure dogs don’t really care about stuff like that but I think it’s pretty cute.
So everyone Max, Max, this is everyone.