You know when you were a kid, and you got that new toy, or video game, and you couldn’t stop talking about it? Something that was just played with 24/7 and couldn’t get your hands off of it? Well when I tell you Shooter was the only thing I cared about and talked about, Shooter was THE ONLY thing I talked about. Customers at work, coworkers, friends, family, snapchat, social media, Shooter was the highlight of my life. But before Shooter, I had some OG’s in my life (OG means originals for those not up on the term). Max and Benny. These two guys helped out my childhood by giving me a special bond with a cat, and entertainment with a dog. 

Rewind my life back to about 1997, when I was 7 years and my sister and I wanted to get a pet. Well the first pet wasn’t a dog, but it was a cat. I remember going to this person house to see a litter of kittens, and the first one to come out of the box through a pile of leaves was this amazing looking black cat with white paws, and a white stripe down his nose. I instantly wanted that one but we were 3rd in line to pick. Thank god that this cat was not taken, because he was ours. Unlike Shooter, I had a name picked out for him, his name was Max. Max came from my favorite movie at the time The Goofy Movie. Max was the coolest character in the movie, but was also the son of Goofy, so he had his quirks.

Max growing up in my life was my first right hand man and the first animal where I had a connection with. He would be by my-side before school, after school, slept with me, sat next to me as I played video games, and waited on the windowsill everyday when I got home from school. Although Max was a cat, he had the personality of a dog. He was the first person at the door, loved being around absolutely everybody, and was one of my boys growing up. Every time Max was around, I would call his name, give him all the attention, pet his head, and scratch his back right where his tail meets. He would purr and just lay there. He was truly the most laid back cat and kid could ever ask for. At nighttime when he would come into the room, I would pet his head and back and he would knead the blanket. I never knew what this meant until years later. He would bite on the blanket, and move his paws up and down on the blanket. This is a sign of comfort to cats, just like when dogs lay on their back. 

Max lived a long and happy life, until I decided to go to college. As soon as I graduated high school, I knew that I was going to be away from my childhood best friend. I had to take a 6 week summer session away from Max, and I knew his health was slowly fading. I would talk to my family and his kidneys were failing and was using the bathroom around the house and throwing up everywhere. I spent a few weeks with him before the fall semester started, and within a month of being in school that decision was made by my parents. I received the phone call for me to come home because that was the weekend Max would have to be put down. I came home the end of September, and that was a hard weekend for me. I knew it was better off because he was in pain and struggling, and I knew he had a broken heart. I had one last night with him before he was off to the vet. Max was an amazing cat and he still to this day is the best cat I have ever met. RIP Max<3

Max wasn’t alone through his life, he had his brother Benny. Benny was a black and tan Dachshund who was purchased from a breeder. I remember the family walking into this house to pick him out of the litter, and the whole house smelled like a massive Frito. Close your eyes and imagine a bag of original Fritos, and that was the smell of that house. We picked our dog, and his name was originally America because he had a red white and blue collar on. Benny was a ball of energy all the way up to his last day, Benny would play for hours with a tennis ball. With his legs being a few inches off the ground, he could just keep going and going and you would just get tired of throwing the ball. Benny was my sisters right hand man to her life. Benny and Kaitlyn had a stronger bond than I did with Benny, because at that time I was more of a cat guy with Max. Benny lived an incredibly great life, but was diagnosed with diabetes when I was at Bloomsburg. Benny lived about 5 years, long enough to see Kaitlyn graduate college, but was struggling. My parents would shoot insulin 2 times a day, once at about 5 am and again at 5 pm. We had to test his PH level to decide how much insulin to give him. I would test the PH level at times, but I never once stuck him with a needle, I did not feel comfortable doing that. 

Benny and Max loved playing with each other. When Benny would chase max around the house, it was extremely entertaining to watch. When Max would have enough, he would jump up to higher ground and just look at him until Benny left. They could play forever and that cat and dog relationship was special to watch and grow. Benny would use his signature play moved dubbed “The Wiener Whip” where he would do a 180 and spin right into Max. Max signature move was just an easy right or left paw to Benny. Honestly, I wish I could travel back in time to see these two play, because It was truly special.

Throughout the time I have had Shooter, I have really have felt the Max in him. When I first rescued Shooter I never even thought about how him and Max are both black and white until I really bonded with Shooter a few months. As crazy as it sounds, but I know Im not the only one who felt this between my animals, but the spirits of Max my original best friend 100% lives within Shooter. Max has traveled down to Myrtle Beach with me in his little box of ashes up in my bedroom, right next to a picture of him to have my memory every morning. On that same dresser, I have a few pictures of Shooter, and everyday I am with Shooter, I always see and feel Max in different ways. Call me crazy, call me what you want, but it’s true.

The true bonding between animals and humans is something that dates back to the beginning of time. It’s a bond that only the owners know and feel within, and honestly it is my most special bond I have. Max and Shooter both have left and continue to leave imprints on my life and follow me on my journey through life. I will not change a thing of how I look at Shooter, how he is my son and my savior to life but I will always remember my original best friend in Max. Benny is talked about just as much, because for him being about 20 pounds would outrun Shooter any-day of the week. Thank you for your time in reading about the original pets in my life, and I want you to sit back and look at how your pets have changed your life, and how the spirits live on.