Saying Goodbye to my Square Peg Dog

He was everything we didn’t want: He barked. He shed. He ran away at every opportunity. He nipped at small children. He pooped in my best shoes. And worst of all, He was a He.

But, it was love at first sight. At least for him. It would take a little while for us. When we adopted him twelve years ago, we had no idea our first-born would be so perfectly imperfect. We decided that such a storied dog needed a regal name in hopes that it may elevate his demeanor, at least on paper.

Sir Maxwell of Brookhaven was crowned

About a week after we brought Sir Maxwell home, we found out we would be welcoming our first human baby into the world. Gulp. We had about 8 months to train the hairy child and get ready for baby at the same time.

Before our baby arrived, we were honestly worried that we could not love her as much as we did Sir Maxwell.


This shedding, growling, barking, disappearing, nipping, and accident prone four legged animal was the love of our lives. Of course, when baby was born, we discovered that there was plenty of room in a parent’s heart for more love. Over the next two years, our family grew to 2 two-legged kids and our 1 four-legged hairy son. We all had our issues and none of us were close to perfect.

A Motley Crew, Indeed

Sir Maxwell of Brookhaven was one odd dog. He did not believe he was a dog. He sat like a human on the living room couch waiting for a scotch to be served. He even insisted on eating dinner when we did. Us at the table, him at his bowl next to the table. He slept in our bed, under the covers, at my feet. During the night, he would migrate north and I would wake up each morning with his head on the pillow next to me, body under the sheets, and dog breath in my face. Heaven.

The Nightgown Incident

One night, we all went to bed as usual. Sir Maxwell must have felt extra needy. As he shimmied up, he unknowingly worked his way inside my nightgown. When we woke up, his head was up OUT of the neck of my nightgown – with me in it too. When we realized our dilemma, we panicked which resulted in a few scratches and then a lot of laughs.

And then there was Sapphire

When we still lived in Atlanta, we decided to celebrate Sir Maxwell’s adoption birthday and invited friends, doggies and babies to our house for a party. His first (and last guest through the front door) was Count Raoul’s beloved Sapphire. Maxwell immediately greeted this innocent pooch with a bite to the ear as the Count picked up his pooch in horror. The guest of honor hung from Sapphire’s ear for what seemed like eternity. “It’s my party and I’ll draw blood if I want to…”

Dog Years = Human years x 7

Over the years, Sir Maxwell mellowed (a bit) and the children grew. We were a family of five. Every Christmas card included our beloved Square Peg dog – usually in costume and not happy about it. Our Square Peg Dog Fit our Square Peg Family and we were so happy he “chose” us that fateful day.

Last month, we had to say goodbye to our first born. It was heart wrenching for the whole family – all four grandparents included. As we fed him his last meal of pizza and m&ms, we knew he lived a full life. In our hearts, that perfectly imperfect dog was just plain perfect and we will miss him always.

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5 Responses to Saying Goodbye to my Square Peg Dog

  1. Landis says:

    Loved your thoughts! And I could change Sir Maxwell’s name to Sasha — and my story would not be that different! She has been gone for four years — I still think about her all the time. Nothing like our first born, four legged dogs.

  2. Count Raoul says:

    Dixie:
    Sir Maxwell left his mark on kids and adults alike. Sapphire told me later that he forgave Max at his birthday because…. well, it was his birthday and he was still young. When our pets take over, they accept a lot of responsibility. But it allows us to be ourselves. RIP Max.

  3. DSP Connie says:

    My dear Dixie and family- I am touched by your wonderful story of Sir Maxwell and his impact on you and your family’s life. I feel like I knew your precious pooch and his endearing “square-pegginess”.
    Sir Max reminds me of my beloved black lab, Jamal, of many years ago who walked backwards because his arthritis hurt his hips so bad.
    Now I know exactly how he felt, though I still walk forwards.
    Thank you for sharing with your story of Sir Maxwell of Brookhaven with us fellow DSPs.

  4. Dixie Fan says:

    DSP Dixie’s story reminded me of my own dog. I’m sure many readers had the same reaction – but since I am Dixie’s husband, I have a pretty strong case. And while her tribute to Maxwell was fitting and beautiful and accurate, and brought me to tears (once again) for my departed Maxwell, she also showed a picture of Maxwell in a dress. While that is part of who Maxwell is, it is incomplete.

    Maxwell was a true metro-sexual – confident enough to wear a dress, but man enough to protect his family from predators. During our 12 years together, I saw him kill mice, snakes, lizards, a mole, a squirrel, a chicken, a turtle (not his greatest achievement), hundreds of bees, and a few nutria, along with Attempted Murder charges on a variety of other critters. Twice I saw him catch a bird out of the air. Dixie will claim that he killed a cat, but the cat clearly died of natural causes the following day.

    Dixie neglected to mention that Sir Maxwell was her gift to me on our first anniversary. A gift that we hadn’t discussed beforehand; a gift I was sure I wanted to return the first night; a gift that after two weeks, I already feared the day I would lose. I am forever grateful.

  5. Nonna and Poppy says:

    Oh sweet Maxie, he left us all and it is some help knowing he was super happy with a last meal of pizza and m&m’s. We all miss him!

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