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Max, Part 2

Max will have the surgery to remove the tumor from his front left leg.

My wife, Julie, and I are nervous. Max is at least 13 years old and may not withstand the surgery. Our decision may kill our miniature schnauzer.

The vets have clearly warned us about the risks of surgery. The operation may even not do what it’s supposed to do: make it easier for Max to get around.

But we have no choice. Poor Max doesn’t get around much as it is. He’s having a hard time climbing into the chairs and sofa he calls his own. He constantly licks his paw. Doing nothing is not an option, as Julie told the vet.

What we find simultaneously frustrating and inspiring is that occasionally, as on Thursday, Max is his old demanding, frisky self: bouncing up and down, asking for a chew stick, barking.

In any event, surgery is scheduled Tuesday morning.

In the 38 years we’ve been married, we have been dogless twice: the first year of marriage, in 1971-72, and a few weeks in the mid-1980s. And after dealing with the deaths of eight dogs previously in all those years, we are struggling with every decision.

Now my thoughts are turning to Max and what may be his last days. I worry about his comfort as much as anything and hope I don’t let him down. I’m also hoping that my next item here will be about the restorative abilities of little dogs.

– Craig Klugman