Blissful ignorance

How do I tell my dog that his best buddy Max is no longer with us?

Do I look at him with a sad face and say, “Max. Gone.”

Do I let him go on in blissful ignorance?

I suppose he’ll know soon enough. The moment we step inside my mother’s house, he’ll go sniffing around for her dog, wondering why Max wasn’t waiting on the other side of the door, barking up a storm.

Boomer’s tail will be wagging in circles, happy to see his Granny, but he’s bound to be confused why he’s not seeing “Granny and Max,” as he’s heard me say countless times.

Boomer and Max have been best buds for over a decade, since first getting a whiff of one another in the family backyard. Boomer was a one-year-old golden mutt, Max an eight-week-old ball of chocolate lab.

“I don’t need a dog,” my mother had said years before. Then I brought Boomer into our lives. A short time later, my mother had a change of heart: she did need a dog.

Boomer and Max became “the boys,” as rowdy and rambunctious as two healthy young male puppies could be. They got along well and helped my mother and me get along well. They wrestled for what seemed like hours on end, even after becoming grumpy old dogs.

How do I tell my dog that his best buddy Max is gone forever?

two dogs
Boomer and Max

I suppose he’ll know soon enough. The moment we step inside my mother’s house, he’ll go sniffing around for Max, wondering why Max isn’t going bonkers with excitement, or trying to lick Boomer’s privates, or nudging in on the loving Granny’s giving Boomer, or running around in circles in an effort to contain himself.

I wonder how long it will take for Boomer to realize something’s wrong with this picture. Will it be the lack of a fresh scent of his buddy? Will it be the all-but-faded scent of his passing? Will it dawn on Boomer a few days into our visit to Granny’s? Will he ever know?

How do I tell my dog that his best buddy Max is gone?

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