On 25th May 2002, a greyhound puppy was born. One of thousands born that year no doubt, but this one was different. This was the one who would go on to save my life.
Raised in Ireland before journeying across the water to England, he was raced under the name Bannside Maginty. He was fast, he worked hard, & he won some greedy humans a lot of money. After running his 152nd race at Sunderland on 24th January 2008, someone decided he wasn’t good enough anymore & he was handed over to a rescue charity (RGT Borders). They called him Max & put him up for adoption.
On 6th May 2008, Max & Is’ lives collided. He was the first greyhound I had ever met, & the one I took into my home & my heart that very same day. From that moment forth he became a part of me, changing the person I was & making me the person I still am today.
Max & I, May 2008
Here is a story I have never shared before:
A few months after adopting Max, I travelled to New York State to attend the wedding of some close friends. Max went into kennels. The wedding passed & I spent some time in the Adirondacks then headed down to see New York City before catching my flight home. As I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge at night I contemplated my life.
view from Brooklyn Bridge
I was 27 years old, had been depressed for as long as I could remember, I had spent the past 10 years in the wrong career, & had recently suffered an emotional breakdown leading to 6 months of sick leave from which everyone assumed I would just bounce back. That was what awaited me on my return to the UK. For what was not the first time in my life, I wondered whether suicide was the answer.
As I sat crying on the bridge, my wallet fell out of my pocket onto the ground. I left it there – I didn’t care anymore. A passerby stopped to pick it up & hand it back to me, a small act of kindness. It fell open in my hands & looking out at me through my tears was the picture of Max I had tucked in there, my beautiful boy. I knew then I couldn’t leave him. He was the reason I had to go back & pick up the pieces.
the picture of Max that was (& still is) in my wallet
& I did. It wasn’t easy, but with Max was there with me every step of the way. He got me out of bed every morning when I could think of nothing else worth getting up for, he got me out in the fresh air exercising when otherwise I would’ve shut myself away in the dark, he got me interacting with other people because he was social even if I was not! But perhaps most importantly, he got me feeling passionate about something, he got me feeling passionate about greyhound rescue. I realised I wanted/needed to help these dogs, &, with Max’s help, I re-built my life around that.
Max & I, March 2011
It’s now been 6 months since Max passed away on 15th November last year. I still cry for him every single day & miss him so, so much. I love all the dogs we have adopted since, but none of them will ever fill the hole that Max has left & none of them will ever occupy that special place in my heart which he took when we met 4 years ago. He was not even 10 years old when he left us. But perhaps he knew his work here was done – he not only changed my life, he saved it. That is his legacy.