WARNING! - IF YOU ARE OF A SENSITIVE NATURE, THIS INSTALLMENT DEALS WITH THE TRAGIC DEATH OF A PET.
Max came first. He was, what I would call, a buff-orange cat with semi-long hair and a fluffy tail. He could be mean and rotten and then absolutely adorably lovable. There was something about Max that stole my heart more so than any of the others, perhaps it was all of the claw and scratch marks I endured over the course of his short lifespan. I believe he was only two or three years old when he was hit by a car. It was Labor Day Monday and I was preparing some food for a cookout later that day. I saw Max sitting at the top of our long driveway staring intensely at something at the bottom. He was not one to wander down the front of our property toward the road, when he was outside he would always explore the backyard and the woods. But whatever had caught his eye made him make a mad dash towards it. I stopped what I was doing, put on some shoes and headed outside to go capture him and bring him back home. As I was walking down our long driveway I noticed a truck drive by rather slowly, when I got to the bottom the same truck was coming slowly back the opposite way. He stopped as I approached the road and rolled his window down - "I think I hit one of the farmer's cats" he said, I lost it and immediately started crying. I asked the man if it was an orange cat but I made no sense to him through my blubbering, he asked me to repeat and I slowly spelled out "Was it an orange cat". He nodded his head, "yes I believe so". I started screaming Max's name "Max, Max!", I finally heard him meowing, he had made it back across the street. In an attempt to dart back across the road towards home he was hit by the man driving the truck, I found him in the weeds on the bank at the edge of our property. I scooped him up and carried him as quickly as I possibly could up our long winding driveway, crying with every breath and pounding beat of my heart. I just kept telling him he was going to be OK as I looked down at his sweet little face hanging on for dear life, he had a big gash in his belly and his left hind leg was just kind of hanging. I got him into the house and took him down to the basement where I kept the pet carrier, he did not want to go inside, I had to force him in probably hurting him even more than he was already. I carried the carrier up and set it in the garage, rushing into the house to call around and find a vet that was open on this holiday Monday. I finally got someone to answer and they said that they would meet me at their office. I put Max in the car and rushed to the vet, crying and praying that he would be OK. He was in the animal hospital for three days, on the third day I went to visit him, I put as much of my body as I could in his cage with him and gave him some love and said my goodbyes because I just had a feeling he was not going to survive. Later that night the doctor called and said that there just wasn't any more that they could do for him.