Yesterday began so well.

The day before Adam had moved the meat chickens out to the new pen he built in the paddock. The night brought with it freezing rain and howling winds and neither of us were confident the five week old birds would be all fine. But they were. Adam's pen looks excellent. Not such a fiasco farming moment. OK then.

Early afternoon we both noticed Max, our black dog, standing out in the rain, not in his kennel, and could not be enticed back in. Shortly after, he seemed to have something wrong with his hind legs, and his pupils were dilated. I rang the vet. Adam took him straight down. 

They immediately gave him morphine and pumped his stomach, suspecting he'd eaten something poisonous, while Dad and I raced around trying to see if he'd found rat poison or snail bait or something – but there's nothing like that left around here. I don't think we'll ever know. 

He didn't make it. 

Adam brought him home, and with Dad dug a hole against the hedge where all the other very dearly loved farm dogs from times past lie. It was teeming with rain. In our hearts too.

We loved our dog.

We showed him to Holly, our other dog, before we buried him, hoping she'd understand and not try to find him. They were puppies together and when I saw Adam go up the paddock this morning with just Holly, my heart broke. 

Heaven help us if we ever harden our hearts and not let a dog in, on the grounds that when they die it's dreadful. It's hard to remember that animals come and go out of our lives. He just wasn't around here quite long enough, that Maxie. 

I imagine he's playing in the paddock with all the other dogs who've imprinted themselves on the people who've farmed here. A happy rabble. Good boy, Maxie.










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