Once Max had a home. He had a warm and dry place to sleep. He had food at scheduled times. He had a family. But lions came roaring in the night, ripping apart all that Max had. His family moved. Max was left behind with nothing but his name.
Max had choices, but they were all bad. He could sit on his former lawn patiently awaiting the parents who would never return. He could curl into a ball surrendering himself to the lions. He could wait to be carted off to the pound with a future of loneliness until he received the final needle. Or he could fight to survive. He chose the latter.
Max quickly adapted to being a street dog. He knew he had to be quick, courageous and cunning. He combined this with what he had learned from his abandonment, never to trust a human again.
There was one human, Momma Gail, who had vowed to protect Max. She knew his parents were abandoning him and hoped to take him before they left. Regardless, his parents absconded without notice. Momma Gail began leaving food for Max at dinner time and hoped the wayward soul would find it.
Max did. He approached the bowl tentatively well aware animal control was laying traps to catch him. He soon learned he could trust Momma Gail, at least for food. He shied away from physical contact, rightly judging a scratch would lead to a grasp, and then he would be taken somewhere against his will even if that somewhere was a safe and warm house.
Max would disappear for days at a time. Momma Gail left his food out and prayed for his return. Sometimes other dogs would eat it, and snap at Max when he appeared trying to claim Momma Gail's offering as their own. Max always found a way to outwit his fellow street dogs.
Momma Gail prayed to her Angel Abbie that someday Max would let Momma Gail touch him, then follow her into his forever home. Abbie slipped into Max's restless dreams to try and convince him that Momma Gail was nothing like his previous humans and that she would never abandon him. "I am sure she is," Max told Abbie, “but I will never trust another human.”
Until the day came that he did, it is unknown if it was the onset of winter, Abbie's visits or Momma Gail's kindness that finally convinced Max it was time to let a human touch him, but he relented, and walked into Momma Gail’s house, where his siblings awaited him, like it was his place and he had never left. Max was finally in his forever home.
Until he wasn't, a few days later Max slipped his collar and ran. Perhaps the still intact boy smelled a little something on the breeze, or he got the vagabond blues. Whatever the reason Max skedaddled ignoring his mom's frantic calls to come back. Momma Gail prayed very hard for his return. The next day Max trotted up the walkway and went in the house.
A day later Max jumped the fence and took off, then, when he was hungry and tired, he came back and got on the bed. Momma Gail's house was his forever home, it was just his forever and almost always home.
Momma Gail hopes that when Max is fixed this week and his balls are sent to the Bridge to be hung off the Neuter Tree in case he wants to retrieve them at a time after his passing, that his desire to run will be sated. Momma Gail spent enough time fretting about her new boy surviving long, cold, dark now nights.
Let's give thanks that Max is finally in his forever home and pray that once he is fixed his desire to roam from his yard is eradicated forever.
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