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Mon, Mar 27, 2017 07:36 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-06-06 life & times
Smile Awhile
The passing of Maximilian Kane
Sara Hopson
Anybody who is a dog lover and chooses to live with their canine friend has a story to tell you about what they consider to be the greatest dog in the world. And I don't mean having a hunting dog tied up out in back of the house that never gets to come inside; I mean the kind that, with your blessing, infringes upon your rights and freedoms (e.g., our little beagle mix, Jen-eye, who still doesn't understand why there are these two people who sleep in her queen-sized bed every night!).

Some people, like John Holbrook, think so much of them that when their pets pass away, they erect a stone marker over their grave; in John's case, that grave and marker are in his backyard. There's even a pet cemetery at Highland Memorial in case you choose to place your four-legged loved one close to where you yourself will someday rest.

But every now and then, even among dog lovers, along comes a dog that impresses everyone whose path it crosses. In the movie industry, the two that come to mind are "Lassie" and "Rin-Tin-Tin," who was one of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood, and that includes Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

But in our everyday real life, a remarkable canine said good-bye to this earth last week and, except for a few friends and neighbors, his departure was hardly noticed. His full name was Maximilian Kane, but he was affectionately called "Kane Boy" and sometimes just "Kane" by the two people who lived with him. You'll notice I didn't say the two people who owned him because, if anything, he owned them. If a man were provided a home and the best food, never wanted for anything and didn't have to pay income tax, we'd call him a monarch, and those who saw to him, saw to his every need, his servants or peasants.

So Kane Boy, a beautiful Malamute Husky (who my husband always said had the prettiest face and eyes he'd ever seen on a dog), owned two people by the names of Edward R. and Betty Hazelett. And for the past eight years, Kane Boy has been a familiar fixture in Stafford Addition so familiar, in fact, that several neighbors said they felt safer just knowing Kane Boy was patrolling the area at different intervals.

A lot of dogs will bark when you approach their home but keep barking after you've entered the premises. I've been to people's houses where they had to put the dog up because it wouldn't stop barking. Kane Boy would bark on approach, also; but as soon as Ed or Betty greeted you as a friend, you became Kane's friend, too, so fine were his instincts. Once Kane saw that you were his friend, not only would he stop barking, but he usually ran and fetched his favorite toy a stuffed gorilla and brought it to you as an offering of friendship. (That gorilla, by the way, was lovingly placed alongside of Kane in his little coffin by Betty.)

But Lord help you if you were a prowler who happened to leap over the Hazeletts' fence during one of Kane's nocturnal sabbaticals. Mrs. Hazelett was once solicited by a phone salesperson who was pushing electronic security systems. Mrs. Hazelett politely told the guy she already had a security system. When he asked what kind, she replied, "A Malamute Husky named Kane."

Once, when Ronnie was dining with the Hazeletts at Arby's, he noticed that as they got ready to leave, Ed went to the counter and ordered another roast beef sandwich. When Ronnie chided him about not yet being full from his meal, Mr. Hazelett informed him, "Oh, it's not for me. It's for Kane Boy: if we go home empty-handed, he'll be disappointed." (Remember what I said about monarchs and peasants.)

Now Ronnie does the same for our Jen-eye. Every now and then, he'll come home with a McDonald's burger or an Arby's roast beef. "If it's good enough for Kane Boy," he says, "it's good enough for Jen-eye."

In fact, Kane Boy had so many human traits in his personality that every time Ronnie went to visit the Hazeletts', he'd say to Kane, "This may come as a shock to you, Kane Boy, but you're not human you're a dog!" Of course, I don't think Kane Boy paid any attention to him. All you had to do was witness his stature and bearing as he sat regally in the backseat of the Hazeletts' car any time they took him along on their afternoon drives. You could tell that Kane didn't consider this little family portrait as that of two people and a dog, because I'm sure he felt equal to his two fellow creatures in the front seat.

Kane was one of those perfect companions, and when it came time for him to go, he did it with as much dignity and as little pain as was possible for himself as well as his two live-in companions. Mrs. Hazelett said that as she was putting his food out for him, he looked up, gave a little yelp, and fell over on his side. As he did, she said she saw his eyes glaze over and she knew he was gone.

Having witnessed my friend Cinder fighting the good fight to save her dog from cancer, first having one of its legs amputated and later having to put it down, I know how awful it can be. For older dogs, especially the big ones, as growth maladies such as arthritis set in, the owners usually agonize over that final shot for months before they put their friend down; and then, of course, there's that final act itself. But not so with Kane Boy; he spared everyone a long, drawn-out suffering and checked out quick. Like my husband said, "That dog did everything perfect; we should all be so lucky."

Kane Boy is now buried in the Hazeletts' backyard and will soon have his own stone marker. But for you astronomers out there, if you look up at the sky tonight and notice a bright new star in the dog constellation, Sirius, you'll know a beautiful Malamute Husky has arrived.

Good-bye, Kane Boy.

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