Monday, July 03, 2006

In memoriam Mayday

On Friday, July 7th, 2006, God called Mayday home. She was peacefully put to sleep, on a quiet beach in Summerland, Ca., surrounded by loving friends. God blessed me with Mayday, as a loaner, twelve years ago. And he's been wanting her back ever since. Over these twelve years, as friendships waxed and waned, and surroundings and situations and road conditions evolved, she was always there for me, and I was there for her.
My constant companion. She was the reason I got up in the morning, and I went to bed at night to re-energized for her the next day. She was every flower that bloomed and made the world a prettier place to be. She was every sunrise and sunset. She was every full moon and every star that shone in the night sky. She was the air I breathed. My identity, My namesake. My heaven, my Earth. My world, my universe. My everything, as I was for her. My Baby.

I'm writing this piece mostly for myself, as part of my mourning and celebrating Mayday's life and my great fortune. Words like good fortune, blessing, fate and luck are all just verbiage which we, as humans, use to try to explain the unexplainable. But they always, truly fall short of describing events in our lives. With all humility, all I can do is try to share my friend in meager, humble human words.
If you're reading this page, it's because this special dog touched your life enough to visit, read, remember an exceptional friend. At the end of this writing, please share your memories and stories with everybody else who knew her. I've taken hundreds of photos of her and I over the years. To me, they are all perfect, but I tried to sort out the best. They are in no particular order.

Mayday was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1994. At the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, she was # 426831; a Shepard/lab mix, with a black mask, approximately 5-7 months old. Not an uncommon mutt by New Mexico standards, just another stray. But everybody who worked at the shelter knew there was something special about her. Adoption strictly for the public was seven days before she was available for anyone, everyone. I arrived on the last day before the shelter workers could snap her up. She almost went to the wrong home. It was fate. THE match made in Heaven.
I had been searching for Mayday at animal shelters for four months before I stopped in the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, on a whim (was it really a whim? Curious...), while on vacation. There she was. A little brown thing, curled up sleeping, in the middle of her kennel. The shelter worker allowed me in to meet her. In quintessential Mayday form, she stretched slowly, pulled herself up, walked aloofly straight at me, and buried her muzzle between my knees. "I've been waiting for you. It's nice to finally meet you."

From that day, and for twelve years, as everyone knows, we were inseparable. She was mine and I was hers. We were constant companions and traveled everywhere together. Her two favorite places in the world were with me and in the truck with me. And we logged tens of thousands of hours and miles together. From the sunny beaches and trails of Santa Barbara, California, to the mountains and open spaces of Bozeman, Montana, from the backlot of Universal studios, back home to sacred Santa Fe, and every Starbucks Coffee between Austin, Texas and Seattle, Washington, we were inseparable. She looked forward to going somewhere EVERY day, and the long face of disappointment of staying home was heartbreaking. She would wake up every morning and wonder, "Where are we going today?". Who knows? As soon as the front door opened in the morning, she knew we were on another adventure somewhere, anywhere, everywhere!

Mayday spent her first years growing up on the beaches and hiking trails of Santa Barbara, Ca. Nothing thrilled her more than running at full speed along the shoreline until she'd collapse from exhaustion, panting with an ear to ear, satisfied grin on her face. "What are doing tomorrow? Can we go to the beach again? Or maybe hiking?" She loved life and lived it to the fullest extent that a living being could. She had many human friends and canine friends as well; the troublemakers, Rio and Acua; Cosmo and the rest of the gang at East Beach, and her first and eternal love, Whitey.

Then it was on to Hollywood; the land of the Magic Catering Truck and Craft Service. Never has any dog eaten so much gourmet catered food, drank bottled water, and then collapse in the truck to sleep it off! Heaven on Earth! "Do we get to work again tomorrow?" And what marvelous new road trips and worlds! Mayday soaked up the road jobs. The film industry lovingly took her in as part of the family. She made herself available to anyone on set who needed a relaxing stroke or warm furry hug. Of course, she would gladly accept more treats in return. On EVERY job, she was expected to be there when allowed. In Los Angeles, Mayday had her canine accomplices also; Bob, Sadie, Beasley, and Emily.

As many know, Mayday's primary personality traits were indifference, aloofness, and infinite patience and tolerance. She thought humans were strange and silly, but she'd put up with them for a snack or friendly scratch. She did as she pleased and did it wherever she wanted to; slept on the bed, set herself in front of the door anywhere she went, and ate whatever wasn't a vegetable. Her favorite pastimes were eating, sleeping, running and riding shotgun in any moving vehicle going anywhere. In Mayday's world, every sense was stretched to the limits. Her life was overwhelming with sights, smells, and, oh, the wonderful new taste sensations of the regional cuisine! Whether it was the painful delight of spicy food in New Mexico, or the random hand out of a treat from a stranger, she loved people food!

Five years ago, we moved back to Santa Barbara and Mayday got a sister, Yoshi. "The Queen" had always been an only child for seven years, and now she had a companion. There was the usual sibling jealousy for a brief period, but she adjusted. At least now she had someone to chase rabbits with. Yoshi loved her older sister. And, even though she would never admit it, Mayday enjoyed having someone to play with, blame, and otherwise keep her company when they couldn't go to work. Yoshi was a challenge to Mayday's patience. She's restless and excitable; about as polar opposite as there is. But through Mayday's tutelage and example, Yoshi learned how wonderful life is without anxiety. I think Mayday also convinced Yoshi that it's the younger dog's job to be the growling protector while the older one sleeps. When inside the truck, Yoshi did her job too well at times and Mayday missed a few treats from people. But that was okay because she knew that treats were a part of life and another opportunity would arise when she woke up.Mayday and Yoshi now shared all the snacks and adventures that every dog dreams of; more running, road trips and resting together.

Besides the repetitious, four-part theme of their life, most of all, it was a life filled with unending and inseparable love. Mayday knew that then and she knows it still. We sensed the impenetrable shelter of love for each other and cherished every moment of it. Through the good times and the hard times, we were always there for each other, and we lived for each other.
Now we need to move forward. It's impossible for me to let go.
The past two years were physically difficult for her, but she stayed on for me. For all the adventures we shared, my efforts to ensure her final years in comfort embarrassingly pale in comparison to the richness and comfort that she provided for me. I am humbled. She is at peace now. I hope I can take care of myself and Yoshi as well as she did. I hope I can make her proud of me. I know that she's a whole and perfect being now. I know she misses us as much as we miss her. She will always be with us in our hearts and memories, and will always watch over us as we sleep and dream of her. Thankfully she also left us with a life enriched beyond the human word. But she's happy still. She can run again, and sleep in eternal sunshine whenever she wants. And God has better treats.

Special thanks to everyone who welcomed us into their home and life, and everyone who welcomed her , expected her company on any set or at any location we worked.


Blogger karl said...

it must be some sort of oversight but i was sure that there was at least one photo of me with mayday?

oh oh this isn't about me....

i love you mayday and i'll miss you. this brings back a bunch of great memories. it is a sad goodbye but mayday is in that giant hair swirling blazer in the sky.

love, karl

11:07 PM  
Anonymous nicole davenport said...

Tears are flowing here today from the Cowgirl...goodbye sweet great Mayday! Emily the Jack Russell who has had two doggie friends in her life: Mayday and a stray Jack Russell we found on the side of the road. I remember laughing so hard about how Emily would play so hard with Mayday and how MD would just lay down while puppy Emily would romp all over Mayday. She was so patient and gentle with nutty doggie Emmy. Emmy sends her bunny chasing days on to Mayday and heaven. Hopefully someday they will get to play again. Big sky love and hugs,
Texas Cowgirl Nicole

7:51 AM  
Anonymous uncle matt said...

Okay, I guess this is my blog payback, huh? Yes, there is a pictuer of you with Mayday. It was the day you abandoned us and stole your family to Misery...Missouri. It's the only picture with a guy wearing a skirt. Strangely, I couldn't find any earlier pictures of you with Mayday. You got any?

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Stasi, your sister said...

I like "Cocktail Dogs"
R.I.P. Mayday, big dog!

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Peter Sprouse said...

what a great tribute Mayday. thanks for sharing with me.

10:58 AM  
Blogger karl said...

oh, i guess i didn't recognize myself in that photo. it wasn't that long ago and i was so fat in that photo. i guess the kilt should have been a dead give-away.

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Corrine said...

Dear, sweet Mayday. I spent many, many hours with her as my production coordinator at GMT studios. Got to the point where she'd arrive on set and go straight to her "office". Love her Love her Miss her Miss her.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous teamhixon said...

brings back all the times I had to find Mayday a shady spot to park on a hot summers day.......the dog days of summer will never be quit the same
C Hixon

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Matt these pics are amazing, I loved every one of them. Though my favorite was Mayday with the alien, that was great. Thanks for sharing this with me, it was extremely touching to read what you wrote. Mayday was most certainly the most well loved dog on the planet.

take care,

3:59 PM  
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