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What he could do if not for his dang paws...

By Merrie SandersPublished 2 years ago 5 min read

My husband rescued Maxwell at an adoption event in 2012 before we were married. At the event, while all the other dogs vied for potential owners' attention, pawing and barking, Max just sat quietly in his corner, side-eying his crate mate who had just peed all over the shared kennel. That look cemented it--this was our dog. He presented himself as mild-mannered and shy. The people running the event told my husband that he was a cuddler, that he hated to be alone and would need to sleep next to someone. Sure, okay. We can handle that. Besides, he seems so chill and easy-going. Ha! He fooled us for sure.

To say that Max is affectionate is an understatement. He is needy, clingy, empathetic and ceaselessly loyal. He is unlike any other dog I've ever met, and he is sure he's a human. Annoyed with all the other pets, confused why anyone would invite one of those into their homes, he sits next to us like a companion. Before the pandemic kept us home, we joked every day that Maxwell would try to be cute enough to get us to stay home with him. He did that like it was his job. He'd sit so politely with his little tag wagging subtly, his pointy ears and big eyes defying us not to pat his head or scratch his little belly. Maxwell: The Master Manipulator. On days off or sick days, he was victorious! (At least in his mind.)

Of course, we never wanted to leave him, especially not to go sit in a Maxless office. (I should say usually Maxless office, as he did in fact come to the real-life office with me on a few special occasions. See below). But once we started working from home, Max became the perfect coworker. We fell into our new routine quickly, and he acted like he'd been promoted. He wasn’t sure what he’d finally done to keep us home, but he was sure not to mess it up. The king of FOMO, he never left our sides for the first couple weeks. He waited with trepidation next to the door every day after his morning walk waiting for us to fall back into old habits and leave, but we never did. And once he grew comfortable with that, he started taking naps on the bed for a couple hours during the day. He needed his beauty rest, after all.

At the (real) office in 2016

I was pregnant, and he'd happily sit at my feet while I worked at the computer. Although he was once a notorious jumper, he became extremely gentle, protective, and if it's even possible, cuddlier. I set his bed next to my foldout table in our spare room turned makeshift office, half filled with boxes of unopened baby gifts and half filled with office supplies and binders, and there is where he spent the majority of his days. My husband was furloughed early on and eventually laid off. He'd busy himself with job applications, house hunting and chores, while Max and I went to the office.

The consummate employee gave up his own routine, but he was eager to give it his all. This was an opportunity he’d spent years working towards, after all. He'd follow my husband while he made me breakfast, and then keep me company while I sorted through morning emails over my cup of allotted caffeine. He'd take his walks with my husband and rejoin me for a nap at my feet. On slow workdays, he'd get to curl up next to my ever-growing belly and watch a movie with me. He’d never been a fan of his dog bed because he preferred to sit next to us, like the person that he’s sure he is, but once he started his new duties as office dog, his bed became a regular hangout, and we upgraded it. He still preferred to nestle up against one of us directly, but he realized the bed wasn’t so bad. He went from working in the mailroom to a cubicle to a corner office in no time! He’d make his rounds, getting pets and treats, reminding us of his presence. He took each pet and treat as high marks on his employee evaluation, and he wouldn’t be wrong to think that.

An upgraded bed

My husband and I always used to joke about the little freeloader that lived in our house and request kindly that he gets a job and contribute to the household. I will admit that I am the first to imbue my dog with characteristics, and I am constantly imagining what he’s thinking or what he’d say if he could speak, but I swear, he would look at us after a comment like that with this look as if to say, “But I have paws…” The look of shock in his big brown eyes was unmistakable as we imagined him standing on his hind legs holding up his front paws on full display to show us that truly, those paws were a real impediment in his job search.

2020 was an unforgettable and extremely difficult year for our family, as it was for millions of others. Our everyday life flipped on its head. I was pregnant with our first child, working from home looking to buy our first home before our imminent lease termination, during a global pandemic with an unemployed husband. But through it all, Maxwell was a constant. He was ever sweet, reliable, and, it cannot be stated enough, loyal.

Maxwell is currently figuring out his new role in our new house as our daughter has taken up quite a bit of our attention, but nothing will ever fill the void in our life the way Max has. He has been more than a pet. He has been a best friend, a protector, a co-worker and family. As he gets older, we know that no dog will ever compare to our Max, the dog that was such a good boy that he succeeded in keeping us from going to work anymore.

At the (real) office in 2016. This is seriously how I worked because he didn't want to leave my lap.


About the Creator

Merrie Sanders

Writing for fun and as an escape from the everyday. After all, what is life for if not to create?

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