A year later, Jason and I still own the gallery. His success surprised even us, and his art has become something of a cult to the point where he is now a celebrity… magazines, radio, and even television interviews. It was a lesson that hard work and dreams can go hand in hand. Success became a reality for us, and we made enough to build our one-story dream home with the luxurious bedroom and bathroom I had always wanted.
Max is still with us and has a huge back yard as his domain. But he’s an older boy now and doesn’t run around like he used to. He either sleeps in my lap or at Jason’s feet when he’s home, but that’s not too often these days. Change is good, but sometimes it comes at a price.
Today Jason and I were supposed to take Max to the vet for a check-up, but Jason was too busy finishing a commission for a client. So I left work early to pick Max up. As always, he was waiting by the door when I got home, his tail wagging his usual greeting.
“Ready to go for a ride?” I asked, petting his head.
I rolled into the kitchen to grab a drink and Max’s leash. He waddled in behind me and went straight to his food bowl, looked at it, and then expectantly at me.
“Nice try, buddy,” I said. “We can’t be late for the appointment.”
We had only waited in Dr. Dean’s office ten minutes before we were called in. Max followed me into a pale green room decorated with dozens of client pet photos and thank you letters. He sat anxiously by my feet, his ears and nose working overtime at all the sounds and strange smells.
A moment later, Dr. Dean, a cheerful redhead in her forties, came in.
“Good to see you, Lindsey,” she said, lifting Max onto the table. “How’s my favorite patient today?”
“He’s doing great. Appetite’s good. Just a little slower than he used to be.”
“That’s normal for a dog his age,” Dr. Dean said as she examined Max. “You and Jason take such good care of him he could live well past the normal life expectancy.”
“Well, that’s good to hear.”
Considering that Max was my companion most of the time, it was very good news.
After Dr. Dean had finished the exam, she set Max back onto the floor. He waddled toward me and nudged my hand as if seeking reassurance.
“Good boy,” I said, stroking him. “See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?”
After we had left Dr. Dean’s office, we headed to the gallery to see what Jason was up to. I parked at the reserved space in the front. A well-dressed client emerged carrying a wrapped canvas. Max and I had barely reached the door when Max barreled through and took off to Jason’s office.
“Hang on, Max!” I cried, watching him furiously waddle away. He scratched at the door until it partially opened and he squeezed through.
Macy, Jason’s little sister, appeared from the store room and laughed at Max’s vanishing butt.
“Hey, Linds, good to see you! Jason’s just on the phone with a client. He shouldn’t be long.”
She sat at the reception desk, a lovely frosted glass u-shaped unit decorated with plants and a few small pieces of Jason’s art. As I rolled toward her, I noticed some new paintings displayed beneath suspended lights.
“Looks great in here,” I said. “Is that new?”
Macy nodded while putting away a few files. “For a private showing tonight. That’s the client he’s on the phone with.” She paused to glance up at me. “Who would have imagined that Jason’s work is a hit in China?”