On One Year Later

BradMaxx3A little over a year ago, I convinced my then fiance that we needed a dog.

This made little sense on the surface for a number of reasons: we had been together less than 4 months, we still lived in 2 locations, we were trying to sell her house and figure out where we were going to live, and we both spend a good deal of time running around.

Still, my beautiful bride-to-be let me start looking. I did some preliminary research, which included taking a test to see what breed of dog was most suited for me. I wanted a runner with lots of energy, and all the tests came back with one result: a brittany.

Once we settled on the breed, I figured getting a dog would be easy. After all, there are thousands of animals that need a home. I contacted the National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network (NBRAN) in hopes of getting a dog in the next day or so.

We found out quickly that’s not how it works. Because these dogs are so high energy, prospective owners go through a little background check, receive an in-home visit, and must meet some minimum qualifications.

We passed the initial tests, and we started looking for our new dog. As Rebecca and I sat in bed flipping through pictures, we both saw this little guy:

Maxx_3.28

We laughed so hard we both found tears rolling down our cheeks, and without much of a word between us I sent an email to the NBRAN folks requesting that we adopt Maxx the dog.

We’re sitting here looking through the doggy list.

Maxx, the tongue-master with either one x or two depending upon the screen 🙂 did we mention the tongue!

The next morning we received word that our request had gone through, and in two weeks they would transport Maxx the dog to us.

There was, however, no way we were waiting two weeks.

Several emails later, we had agreed to drive north to the Michigan border where we would pick up our little guy. Since I was in the middle of training for a marathon, I first had to knock out a 20-mile run in the morning, and then we drove.

Throughout the drive, I kept reminding Rebecca that Maxx the dog was going to be my dog. I’d wanted him, I’d done the research on him, and I’d organized the adoption. Of course when we arrived and picked up the dog, this happened:

MaxxDay1

As you might imagine, Rebecca was slightly concerned.

Fortunately, her two boys were exhausted. Me from my run in the morning, and Maxx the dog from his long ride. Within minutes of us heading south to our home, this happened:

Brad.Maxx.day1

From what she tells me, she breathed a sigh of relief.

From the moment Maxx the dog showed up in our lives, we have been in love with him in ways that words can’t express. He has become the glue for our family, the soul that best explains everything that is right about our lives together.

MaxxRunHe is my best pal. We go running on the trail together, we take walks through our new neighborhood in Carmel, we play catch in the house, and we hang out in the den during my work day.

No matter how badly my days go, I know when I come home he’s going to be sitting a the door trying so hard not to jump on me while his little nubbin swings back and forth at dizzying speeds.

Every day I come home, I am greeted with the purest form of joy and love anyone could ask for. The juxtaposition from five years ago is, at times, simply too much for me to handle.

I can’t explain it to humans, but recovering addicts will understand. The darkness of addiction slides away when my little buddy leaps on my lap. He doesn’t worry about my past. He just loves me in the now.

Maxx_Bec_park2And when my family goes out together, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the happiness that we find in the smallest things. We can spend hours just sitting with each other, smiling, watching the sun travel across the sky.

So much has changed for me in the last year. I went from a single guy getting ready to spend his summers traveling to world to a married family guy with crazy pets running amok in our town home in the suburbs.

My days are rarely leisurely anymore. There is always some place to be, some schedule to keep, and some soul that needs tending.

There are days — as the animals keep me from working by sitting on my computer and my wife curls up next to me on the couch — that I wonder how I ever ended up here.

And I’m thankful that my days are filled and my work gets stopped.

Even when it gets exhausting.

MaxxDay1b