As I mentioned in my catch up post, over the summer I had to unexpectedly say goodbye to my thirteen-year-old dog, Mad. (Because, you know, losing one dog this year wasn’t hard enough, I had to lose two.) In honor of his memory, today I wanted to share a bit about the dog Mad was. Not because it’s interesting content that you’ll want to read, but because I don’t want to forget all the things that made him special – and believe me, there were many things.
Mad wasn’t afraid to tell you when he was mad. Okay, yes, let’s first talk about this name. If I remember correctly (it’s been over a decade), Mad received his name after adopted because he never held back his grumbles when we were trying to get him to do something he didn’t want to do.
I was actually somewhat terrified he was going to bite me or something when I first heard his low, grumpy growl, but I quickly learned he was all talk and no walk. He would tell you he was mad, but then he’d just deal with it. (And honestly, thanks Mad for that. I’m glad you never bit my face off.)
What were some of the things he got mad about? Well…
Mad hated non-carpeted floors. You know that game you play as a kid where you pretend the ground is lava and hop from one piece of furniture to the next? That was life for Mad. He wouldn’t go into a room unless there was some piece of carpet to run on to, and even then it took him a lot of courage. It was so bad that one time the vet even had to rearrange all the carpets in the lobby in a row to create a path for him to the examination room because he refused to walk on the tile.
He also really disliked car rides. That whole image of the dog happily sticking its head out the window with the wind blowing through its hair? Definitely not Mad. Any time we had to take him somewhere, he would lay down in the backseat with his head hanging towards the ground and just cry. It was absolutely pathetic. I would do my best to comfort him but the silence would never last more than a minute. He hated it.
That being said, he did pass away in the car while we were rushing him to the vet so maybe he spoke to a fortune-teller dog and knew a trip in the car would lead to his goodbye. Either way, his tragicness in the car always broke my heart (and drove me a little crazy).
But when he wasn’t being mad, Mad loved everyone. I think between the name and his size people were automatically hesitant around Mad, but they had absolutely nothing to worry about. Mad loved anyone and everyone. He let the grandkids walk all over him, he enjoyed when we had company around, and we always joked he would have no problem just getting up and joining a new family because he didn’t care who loved him he just wanted to be loved.
He especially wanted your attention if you were loving Tasha. Really, Mad wanted anything Tasha had. If I gave them both bones, he would stare at Tasha until she gave up her bone instead of eating his. And if someone was petting her? He would use his larger size to push her aside and burrow under your arm instead. It’s no wonder Tasha didn’t always love having him around.
(Oh, and that burrowing thing? I’m pretty sure he was part ostrich. He really shoved his face into whatever crevice he could… couch cushions, armpits, etc. Sometimes you had to save yourself from the inappropriateness.)
As far as I’m concerned, Mad was one of the most handsome dogs around. I never necessarily set out for a husky-type dog, but whatever Alaskan-Malamute mix Mad was absolutely gorgeous. I loved that he was like a giant stuffed animal and that his markings framed his face. He was just so handsome!
Well, he was mostly handsome… apart from the boogers. You see, when we adopted Mad he was mostly fine. But at some point in the first couple of years I took him for a walk, he shoved his head into a bush, and he became broken. I don’t know if he got a stick lodged into his head or suddenly developed allergies (we spent SO much money trying to sort it out before we finally just accepted it as part of our lives), but after that walk Mad became a booger dog. If the weather would drastically change or he’d get too excited, out would appear a booger.
And you know the best part about a dog with boogers hanging out of his nose? Those boogers would have to end up somewhere. I would try to get them with a napkin when I could, of course, but that didn’t always work out. Sometimes he would sneeze them on to walls, trail them across clothes, or, especially in the end, would lick them out of his nostril. They say you love your kids no matter what and I guess that’s true because I saw that dog eat so many boogers in his life but still somehow loved him unconditionally.
Oh, and let’s not talk about his other struggles. Poor Mad. There was always something. Not only did he have boogers, but his arthritis bothered him a bit the last few years (watching/hearing him struggle to lay down was absolutely heartbreaking) and he also went through a toe cancer scare. (We actually sent him into get his toe decapitated as that was recommended but they then decided it was a false alarm. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster.)
He also wasn’t the brightest dog ever. Honestly, sometimes you couldn’t help but look at him and wonder if there was absolutely anything going on in that doofy head of his. Compared to the sneakiness of his sister, he was always just so… aimless. When we’d go on walks, he would plow straight ahead without actually taking in the environment, like his brain power was consumed entirely by walking forward. When he’d have to poop on his walks, he would choose to do it in the middle of the road because doing so in the grass would just be too logical. And when he’d get caught having an accident in the house, he would continue to relieve himself while walking towards the door, leaving a lovely trail of pee, instead of stopping and continuing outside.
But hey, he had his moments of intelligence! Honestly, one of my proudest moments as a mom was teaching him to shake his paw in the last few years of his life. I am pretty sure I had tried teaching him to do it when he was younger but gave up on him because he seemed so hopeless at times. It took a while to get there in his senior years, but we eventually got it and I was so proud. You can teach an old dog new trick! Even doofy ones like my Mad boy!
And let’s not forget, he was also a beautiful singer. Mad loved to sing to one song in particular: The Two and a Half Men theme song. I don’t know what it was about the song, but every time he’d hear it his ears would perk up and he’d start howling along with the tune. (It probably didn’t help we’d sing “Mad, Mad, Mad” instead of “men, men, men”.) To this day, every time I hear that song of TV I automatically start singing the Mad version in my head which both makes me smile and breaks my heart at the same time.
Honestly, Mad was pretty much the opposite of Tasha in every way. He wasn’t super loyal, he wasn’t sneaky, he didn’t want to eat anyone… but I think all those differences in personality made me love him even more. He wasn’t the perfect dog, but he was my dog, and I came to love every little thing about him.
I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to him, but I’m glad I was able to hold him in my arms and tell him how much I loved him as he passed away. I’m glad he won’t have to struggle anymore with all the issues he had in life and I’m happy for his sake that he gets to be reunited with Tasha (though I’m not convinced she’d be quite as thrilled about their quick reunion).
To some people dogs are just dogs, but to me they’re so much more than that. They’re family members with unique personalities, a huge capacity for love, and a great source of happiness and comfort. My life would’ve been much less without them.