Prayer and the Pug
Could her canine campanion really teach her to have faith? The inspirational story of Max.
Let me begin by introducing you to Mighty Maximus Slattery—better known as Max. Max is not like most dogs. Pointers, for example, point. Retrievers retrieve. Hounds hunt.
These highly talented and useful breeds behave this way because they are all, as my husband Tom likes to say, real dogs.
Max is a pug. A roly-poly, fawn-colored pug that excels at sleeping, eating and making us laugh. When we first brought Max home as a 10-week-old ball of fluff, we knew from the dog book that pugs were classified as having “fair intelligence” and being only “moderately trainable.”
But over time we were delighted to discover that Max would do practically anything for a treat. He quickly acquired a repertoire of tricks, including “Roll Over,” “Spin Around,” “Bow” and “Dancey-Dancey.”
Max has other talents, too. We call them his “special abilities,” like the characters have on the TV show Heroes. For some inexplicable (and delicious) reason, Max smells like Fritos corn chips. He also possesses the uncanny power, at will, to utterly undo us—like Antonio Banderas’s “Puss in Boots” character in the Shrek cartoons—when he cocks his head and makes his bottomless black eyes go all big and sad.
Apparently Max was born with an over-abundance of something zoologists actually call the “cute factor.” With his large round head, flat face, floppy ears, and big front-facing eyes, Max ranks right up there in animal kingdom cuteness with pandas, koala bears and baby seals. But other than being irresistibly cute, what good is a pug?
Keep that thought in mind as I tell you my story…
It hadn’t been a good week. A freakish tropical storm in Connecticut where we live had caused the gutters on our old house to overflow, which in turn caused a flood in our basement, including the carpeted rec room.
I was also anxiously awaiting—okay, worrying obsessively about—test results for a recent CT Scan of Tom’s lungs. A month earlier, he had briefly been hospitalized with what was originally diagnosed as pneumonia. Now the doctor said he wasn’t sure. Maybe it was something else. Something serious.
Then I lost my keys. Well I didn’t actually “lose” my keys. They vanished. One minute they were on the kitchen table next to my grocery list, securely attached to a brown braided-leather key chain. And when I looked again, after a veritable swarm of gutter and carpet cleaners arrived all at the same time, Poof! the keys were gone.
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For the next two hours, I turned the house upside down and inside out looking for my keys. First, I got down on my hands and knees and scanned the kitchen floor. Nothing.
Kathryn Slattery is a long-time Contributing Editor for Guideposts magazine, and the author of several books including her memoir, Lost & Found: One Daughter’s Story of Amazing Grace (GuidepostsBooks). Learn more about her work, and see pictures of Max at her website.