Is max like a service or therapy dog? Or is he just your dog that is trained (if this in anyways offends you I am so sorry)
Why on earth would that offend me, dear? There’s nothing wrong with needing a service or therapy animal, and you know you can ask me anything.
Also, I’m in a babbly mood, so get ready for a novel about my favorite being on this earth.
Max isn’t a service or therapy animal. He’s also not particularly trained, honestly. The old geezer has a mind of his own. If you want him to do something, he will eventually comply, but he will grumble at you. (At first, I thought he was groaning in pain because of his arthritis. But nope, that’s a different noise. He grumbles because he’s a grump who doesn’t like being bossed around.)
He’s a senior dog, overweight, has diabetes. He’s afraid of EVERYTHING- cats, wind, bones that are too big, everything. He has allergies, so he sneezes all the time and I have to fight him to wipe his nose like he’s a toddler.
And he is the absolute love of my life.
Seriously, you have never met a sweeter dog. He may be full of grump, but he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He will follow you, love you, bring you things when you’re sad, do his best to cheer you up, snuggle when you want it, keep distance (but still watch) when you don’t, I don’t get to see him all the time since I’m away at college, but I’ve been told that he only sleeps in his bed when I’m there. When I’m gone, he sleeps downstairs near the door, waiting for me to come home.
Also, it seems he knows I’m talking about him. “Why talk about when you can do the love and the pats instead?”
We got him from a shelter for 30 dollars on the day that he was going to be… “transferred”, if you catch my drift, years ago. He wasn’t exactly young back then- in fact, his age was fudged a bit on the papers to make him seem younger. He was stuck in a cage, the very last one, with this small yippy dog who was obviously making him anxious, and he was so. sad. He was the only dog in the entire place who wouldn’t even make eye contact. I fell in love. My mother did too, even though she kept saying “No NO. We are not getting a dog, NO.” (We were only there because one of our cats was lost and I wanted to see if they found him, but something in me said that I needed to look at the dogs.)
“Would you like to take him out?” The lady asked.
“NO” My mom said. “ABSOLUTELY NOT. NO.” But as she was saying it, she was already grabbing the leash that the woman was handing to her.
We just knew the second we laid eyes on him that God (or fate, or the universe, or whatever you personally believe in) had put him there just for us.
I had always wanted a sweet dog that I could spoil and who would love me unconditionally. My dad always had a not-so-secret mental picture of having a yellow lab curled up by the fireplace. My mom always wanted a dog named Max, after the one in the Grinch. He was everything.
Also, it was the week before my birthday. What a good excuse, right?
The second we took him out of that little cage, he burst into a little happy series of jumps, and right into our hearts. He became the sunshine of our lives immediately.
He had been abused severely, and was nothing but bones. We changed that really fast, let me tell you. The vet said that the diabetes was genetic and would have happened no matter what, and I’m thankful to hear that, because I would have been afraid that we had done it with all of the cans of Alpo.
He was really afraid of touch. Once he accidentally stepped on my foot, and when I stepped back in surprise, my hand flew up to steady myself. Immediately, he flinched, dropped to the floor, and whimpered. It broke my heart. I spent a year teaching him that I was gentle and would never hurt him, and the day he finally let me rub his belly, I cried.
Now he’ll poke me with his cold nose until I give him belly scratches. If we’re both doing well physically, we’ll play-fight. It’s one of his favorite things.
I could, and occasionally do, ramble about him for hours, but I’ll spare you for now. The important part is, he is the best pupper I’ve ever known, and he has changed and saved my life.
I don’t know how much longer I have with him, but I intend on savoring every moment.
ADDENDUM: this story wouldn’t be complete without another happy ending- and that’s about the shelter.
The shelter in question is the Humane Society of Utah. They were always well-meaning and took care of their animals, but they were severely lacking in resources. They did the best with what they had, but despite that, it was a place of sadness, to be frank.
Soon after we got Max, however, they received a multi-million dollar donation and grant. The entire place was renovated, and it is now one of the nicest shelters in the entire country. It’s truly a powerhouse and an example for shelters everywhere. They now have some really influential backers that allow them to keep up their high standards, and they relentlessly lobby to remove gas chambers from shelters in the state. I volunteer for them as often as I can. It’s very far from where I’m going to school, but I manage to make it there despite my lack of a car, and since I’m moving home for the summer, I’ll soon be able to go a few times a week to help their dogs get exercise. I owe them everything for giving me the sunshine of my life, and I am so thrilled to see them become such a beautiful place.
They are on iPet Companion, which is a website that allows you to watch cats from a camera and use remote-controlled toys to play with them.
Here’s their Facebook page, which I HIGHLY recommend you follow no matter where you live. That may sound weird, but they do photoshoots with all of the pets up for adoption, and they are absolutely heartwarming. It’s like a little taste of r/mademesmile every time you open Facebook.
If you made it to the bottom, thank you for reading this far. Dogs are good, and so are you. I hope you have a lovely day.