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Max, Part 4: The recovery

Max, thank the lord, is OK. He's still a little lethargic, and his appetite isn't so good as it had been.

But the tumor turned out to be benign. The diagnosis was a lick granuloma, an inflamed part of his leg brought on by incessant licking.

So, at the age of 13, 14, or 15, Max, our indomitable miniature Schnauzer, appears to have pushed back the sun and will remain our animal companion for a while. We have now had him groomed, so that his hair isn't in front of his eyes, and he's undoubtedly more comfortable with the hotter weather.

With comfort comes increased friskiness. He's not the same as he was a few years ago. He's more inclined to go outside and lie or sit in the sun, as opposed to his previous behavior, which was to stand by the fence and bark at anything that moved, including birds, or to chase rabbits who live somewhere near us.

When I started these blog items, I feared the worst, that Max was going to die and that I would be offering advice to people whose dogs were likewise close to death.

But Max surprised us all, including the vets. At the last visit, the vet changed the bandage on Max's leg. It had been a white bandage that, not surprisingly, had gotten pretty dirty after a week or so.

She said something about changing the color of the bandage. She took note of Max's color – he's just about all black, with only a touch of gray around his beard—and chose a yellow bandage.

Like many vets around here, she went to Purdue. And she thought wearing Purdue colors would be great for Max.

My wife only smiled in encouragement. She didn't note that our family of two parents and two kids have between us three IU degrees and not a single one from Purdue.

But you know what? We didn't care. We were happy to have Max back, as his usual ornery, contrarian self, supporting Purdue in an IU household and sleeping in his favorite recliner, which also happens to be my favorite.

– Craig Klugman