Maggie and Max were the best of friends, Max, a large black mixed breed dog, was a rescue when Maggie first learned to walk. Maggie an adorable, bright toddler the only child of Helen and Bill Smith. They had tried for years to have Maggie and finally at 30 they had been surprised by her long after they had given up. Maggie adores animals, so much so that she tried to friend every animal she came across. One day after Maggie cried hard because the neighbor kids took their new puppy home, her parents decided to take her to get her own pet. They took her to a shelter and Maggie picked out the dog on her own, well she toddled over to the cage where Max was and started to reach through to get to the “doggie”.
Max had immediately become Maggie’s best friend. They went everywhere together, ate together even slept in the same bed, despite the fact that Max was easily twice Maggie’s size.
They were completely inseparable until Maggie started school. Then she rushed home each afternoon to find Max waiting at the door for her. Until one day Maggie came home from school and Max was gone. Her parents told her a story about how Max had gone to live on a farm with more dogs like him so he would never be lonely and have plenty of room to play. Maggie didn’t believe them and searched for Max for weeks but never even found a clue to where he went. Maggie was sad, lost and lonely she wanted more than anything to have Max back but since that wasn’t an option she instead started to study animals. When she grew she became a wonderful Veterinarian and inventor. She invented many of devices used to treat animals, most of which are still used today.
Ten days after Maggie’s 85th birthday she was knitting up a storm in her living room, with her favorite show blasting a bit too loud on the TV. All of her cats except Nod, were sitting within petting range.
Muffin, he is the oldest and blind in one eye, then Ms. Kitty, who is always getting into trouble she loves to climb and often knocks over Maggie’s tea. Tuffy, he has been in one too many fights but in his old age now only fights with Maggie’s yarn. Dinky, though fully grown she is still the size of a kitten. Then there is Stinky, he has issues with gas, and strangely the other cats avoid him. Lastly, Nod who falls asleep in the oddest places like right now he is asleep upside down in the planter next to the tv, tail straight up in the air, with the sun shining on his bottom.
During her show time James, her caregiver had his mp3 player and earbuds playing something to drown out the soap opera playing on TV. He couldn’t stand these things but he adored Maggie and was always glad to be with her to help her with the yarn or make sure her tea was topped off. Too many times she has put out a hip when one of the cats ran off with her yarn or knocked over her tea.
There was a knock at the door, Maggie started to get up but James asked her to sit instead, and rushes to see who could be there.
Maggie waits as patiently as she can for James to return, but after a couple of minutes curiosity gets the better of her and she puts her knitting away then heads out of the living room to the front hall, there she finds James, stunned, laying on the floor with a large dog standing on top of him. Strangely the dog seems to be grinning.
Maggie steps back and almost falls over Nod and the dog rushes to her side steadying her and preventing her fall. James manages to find his way off the floor and Nod wakes up stretches and moves to the spot where James was lying, ignoring the dog. Before either of them can say a word the dog begins to speak. “Woof, woof <clears throat> sorry I forgot I need to speak human here.” Maggie almost falls again, this time she nearly faints and James rushes to steady her. Fanning herself she turns to talk to James “Did you mess up my meds? I swear I just heard a very large dog talk. Wait, what is a dog doing in the house?! He will eat my babies!!!”
James begins to laugh, “No Maggie, you and I both heard the dog talk, and he was the one who knocked at the door!”
The dog then sits next to Nod and the cat cuddles up next to him. He turns to Maggie and says “I am guessing you don’t remember me?” tilting his head to the side. Maggie thinks for a moment, then looks at the dog again and says, “Max?”
Max smiles again and wags his tail. “Yes Maggie I am Max.”
Maggie turns to James “ Max was my dog when I was a child, one day he just disappeared, my mom said he went to live on a farm but I didn’t believe her. Oh my goodness you can’t be Max you would be at least 70 years old!.”
Max sighed and said, “I know, I promise you I am the same Max. Do you remember when you went to bed at night we would sit next to the bed and you would pray. Each time you did I would sit next to you with my paws in the bed and when you finished your prayers I would always jump into bed with you and pull the blankets over you?” Dumfounded Maggie nodded and said “I never told anyone that” and then bent to hug Max.
Max started talking again. “Maggie, I am sorry I left you all those years ago, but I had to return to my real home and you were too young for me to take you with me, you were still a pup and I wasn’t going to take you from your parents. However the time has come and I need your help.”
Maggie stuttered, “How can you need my help? I am just a frail old woman on too many meds with a house full of cats!”
Max says, “Come with me Maggie and I promise you not only will you help, you will save my world.”
James still can’t believe any of this and when Maggie turns to him he knows she is going, with or without him, so he sighs and says, “Fine, but I am going with you.”
Max laughs, “That is to be expected James, we could use your help too!”
James realizes he had not said his name and neither had Maggie, how did the dog know his name!? Puzzled he looks at Max and before he can say anything Max says, “Josie”.
Dumfounded James says, “You look nothing like Josie she was a cocker spaniel and looked nothing like you!”
Again Max laughed and said “Josie is from my world too, she is there waiting to meet you again” “But Josie was taken to the vet to be put to sleep, they said she had cancer.” James stated.
Max smiles again and said “That was all a rouse to send her home, her time with you was done.”
Max stands again and says, “Come now there is much to do, you need to pack and change into something you can travel in.”
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