Max joined our family February 2011. My husband and I visited a local Michigan Humane Society shelter on a whim, where I saw him and instantly fell in love with this 4-legged Prince Charming. Being a big guy, the counselors at MHS wanted to make certain he would fit into our family, especially given our younger kids were then 16 and 13 years. Additionally, Max was briefly adopted to a woman who returned him after 3 weeks citing he was too strong for her, so they really wanted his next adoption to land him in his "forever home". We agreed to come back with the kids the following day so they could meet and interact with him, and decide then if our family would provide him with that great fit. I then researched his breed, and learned that he was not only an American Bulldog, but leaned more towards being a Johnson-breed dog. That revelation almost screamed to me "HE'S YOURS!"
The next day came and we had a full-fledged blizzard raging in Southeast Michigan which I feared would impact our ability to make it to the shelter before closing. As soon as my husband came home from work, we embarked on a two and a half hour drive (which normally should have taken 30 to 45 minutes) to the MHS shelter. As we walked closer to his pod, we saw Max in what I called the Get Acquainted room with another woman. I was so disappointed because I feared we were too late.
I learned from the counselors, however, she had trouble raising the money to pay his adoption fees, plus they were not keen about adopting him to her because she had very young children who frequented her house and were concerned Max would inadvertently harm them during playtime because he was so big and strong. As soon as she exited the room, I directed my kids to go and play with him (code for GUARD HIM!) and I immediately began the adoption process.
|Feb. 5th - Adoption Day|
(you can see all of the heavy snow through the rear widow)
Max immediately found his place in the family and became part of almost all activities in and out of the home. Just like everyone else, there were always wrapped gifts under the tree for Max on Christmas Day.
His mere presence and need for physical activity incentivized us to visit various local parks. Some of my favorite memories included taking Max to Belle Isle for impromptu picnics, and our visits to the deck at Carpenter Lake to share breakfast.
His personality was so endearing that it didn't take long for him to capture our collective hearts.
One of his favorite activities was going for walks around our neighborhood.
recovery time after a long walk on a hot day
My walks with him would typically begin with him pulling me down the street, yet half way in I could safely detach his leash because his pace slowed considerable and he was usually pulling up the rear.
He also loved having his belly, chest and neck rubbed and did a great job of training me to do so whenever he rolled onto his back - which was often!
He brought new definition to the term "Lap Dog". I truly believe he was clueless about just how big he was.
He was a frequent visitor to my Sewing Room as I worked on various projects.
...even when I wasn't there!
Oh, and I do think I shared with you that he snores in his sleep, right?
I've long suspected him as being a Sun Worshiper because he would find the sunniest spot in the house to lie in, and so enjoyed taking naps on the deck on warm summer days.
He was extremely photogenic and possessed adorable physical characteristics, like the mole on his rear left paw...
...and the heart-shape patch of fur on his neck...
...as well as his beautiful color and markings.
One aspect of his personality I sometimes found annoying was his propensity to play possum whenever I wanted to capture video of his antics. It was almost like he sensed I was rolling video and he would just stop whatever he was doing.
Max was a fully vested and loved member of our family. So, when he developed cysts in different areas of his body, my husband and I scheduled to have them surgically removed on Dec. 6th and Max wore a collar for a day. He managed to rupture a few stitches, which his doctor mended the following week, and was scheduled to have all of them removed on Christmas Eve. He was doing just fine.
But early last week, I noticed his abdomen was distended and his cheeks and gums were extremely pale so I took him back to his doctor, Dr. Maria, on Wednesday morning. After taking X-rays of his belly, it was her professional opinion that he developed a cancer in his spleen, and while surgery was an option, it would likely extend his life for only a short period of time with a high likelihood the cancer metastasized to other organs. I couldn't justify putting Max through more pain and discomfort for this illness to only come back, so I made the truly gut-wrenching decision for him to be euthanized.
I called my family to let them know and we were able to assemble by Max's side to love him and say our goodbyes. When the moment finally arrived, Dr. Maria set expectations for us on what was to follow and then injected the medicine into the catheter she inserted in his left paw earlier that morning. While petting him, and kissing him, and verbalizing our love for him, Max simply went to sleep. There was no pain. No discomfort. Only love...and then sleep.
Max's 9th birthday was December 18th, and he left this physical life on December 21st. We had him in our lives for almost 6 years, and I thank God for the day He allowed our paths to cross back in February 2011. I miss him terribly, especially at moments like now where I'm certain he would be laying under my chair as I sit at my desk writing this post. But, I am now able to think about him, talk about him and look at his photos and videos without sobbing. I was a blessed Pet Mommy who was loved by a great, great dog!
RIP Maxie Boy. I will never stop loving you.