Max was tiny when he was born. No one thought he would make it. Everyone was surprised when he finally opened his eyes and took his first breaths. They were so excited and a celebration was put together. As the days wore on Max grew. He was strong, smart, and very playful. He took on a companion. Someone he was hoping to spend his life with. You see, Max is a beautiful soul with unconditional love. His best friend and life long companion was named Al. Al was a gentle sort of person. He was aged and his hair silver and thinning with his years on earth. He spent long days sitting on a porch swing talking with Max. Their day was pretty simple; Al would wake up, call for Max, and together they would eat breakfast. This morning would be different. Al got up later than normal. He didn’t call for Max. Max woke on his own and trotted in to the kitchen for breakfast. “Max, I’m getting old. We’re going to have some company ’round here. My son is coming with his family to take care of me.” Max dropped his head to his food and ate pondering the man’s words. Al looked no older than he was yesterday and yet he seemed slowed down and tired. In the next week the house turned chaotic. People ran here and there and Max was trodden on more than once. He stalked off to the backyard where he heard voices. It would appear that Al’s son had some children of his own. Max galloped up to the nearest child who squealed and began an impromptu game of tag. Max spent the next few months in raptures. He got more attention than he had ever had. He continued to keep an eye on Al though. Al got up later and later. He became slower and slower. Six months went by this way. Al would still come to the table and Max was still called. Everyone would then join in on breakfast and then the kids would all go out to the yard and play. One morning Al didn’t come down to breakfast. Max was concerned and looked all though the house. No one appeared to be home. He had spent the night out and didn’t return to the house till morning when he knew Al would be down to breakfast. He lay down on the couch and whined to himself. Tears gathered in his eyes. Soon he heard the door and bound up to go greet everyone and see Al. They all walked in through the door. Al was not there. Max waited by the door and looked back at the people who came in to the house. Al’s son came up. “I’m sorry Max. He’s not there. He’s not coming back.” He turned and walked into the kitchen to make food for everyone. Max stood near the door. What did that mean? Why wasn’t he coming back? A kid walked up and sat with Max. “It’ll be ok. We’ll take care of you now.” Max looked over. This boy was still young and yet he could see Al’s eyes in him so he smiled and got up. He would never forget Al and their days together. Days turned into months, months turned into years. The house saw many people come and many people go. The only thing that never changed was Max. Max was constant. He never changed and he never lost his love for Al and his family. Al’s son departed one day years later, there was an accident he was told. The boy who had Al’s eyes told him so. This boy was named Todd. Todd was now the man of the house and he took care of Max. Max stuck next to him like no other. This person meant the world to him. He was there when Todd started school. He was there when Todd had his first kiss. He was even there when Todd proposed to his girlfriend. He was in the wedding and stood next to Todd as he married. He was at his side when Todd’s first child was born and he mourned with him when his first child departed the world too soon. Todd and Max were more inseparable than Max and Al ever were. Another child was born and Max played his heart out with him. He took care of the family and they in turn took care and loved him. He was getting tired though. Max was growing older. Todd had to help him walk around now. No matter what though he would play with the kids. There were now two of them, a little girl who just began walking and a boy who was about the age of Todd when Max met him. He had Al’s eyes too. It was a beautiful spring day. The breezes brought in the smell of flowers. Max wanted to go outside. Todd and his son went with him. They walked around the yard and walked the paths that lead to a small creek. Max was visibly tired so Todd carried him home while his son tramped behind. They sat on the porch and Max lay down. Todd’s boy beside him. He smiled as the boy lay next to him talking in his gibberish while Todd laughed. Max closed his eyes and drifted off to the sounds of their voices. “Max! Max! Here boy!!!” He knew that voice. Max lifted his head. He could see him! Al was in front of him calling to him. He leap for joy! Something was pulling at him though. He was seeing Al after all of these years but something told him to turn around. He did to see the small boy crying over a furry lump on the porch. He realized with a start that was himself. The sorrow coming off the boy permeated the air around him. He looked back once more and saw Al. Al nodded to him giving him permission. Max walked up to the boy and licked him. The boy startled and looked wide eyed. Max smiled his doggish grin and turned and bound back to Al. The boy stood and with his father watched as their beloved Max lopped over the rainbow bridge spy as a puppy again. Al turned and waved and the two of them wandered off beyond the rainbow bridge.