Meet Max
This June 2007 tale comes from Cindy Criswell. Pictured above, on the left, is 8-year-old Rescue Max. A real sweetheart, he is snuggling with his 14-year-old sister, Tipper Emily. Please take notice that all the toys are on HER side of the photo!

How does anyone abandon a golden, regardless of their age? My husband and I have a 14-year-old Golden sweetie girl, Tipper, we've had from seven weeks of age. Last summer, a fellow employee who volunteers at the local SPCA told me about an older Golden (possibly 7-years-old) who had been at the shelter for weeks and weeks and weeks. The dog came in as a stray in January, was adopted in February, and was returned in May because the couple said "he had aggression problems and was vicious."

Our Golden was due to have surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her hip in the middle of July and we were babysitting our year old granddaughter for the first time for a week the end of July. In addition, I had some health problems to take care of and my husband was scheduled to work a lot of overtime. Didn't seem like a convenient time to adopt another dogespecially one who was deemed "vicious"!

But after four weeks of hearing about this poor dog at the shelter, the final straw was that my friend told me the shelter was full to overflowing with dogs. And, you know what that means. The old, the vicious, those who had been adopted and "failed" are the first to go. Another friend and I stopped to see the dog the next day after work. The following day, we brought our old girl to meet him and took him home. The vet said he was in good health (although underweight when we got him) and was probably about 7-years-old. Max was not neutered until he arrived at the SPCA in January of 2006 and the vet said he was probably used for breeding purposes and then abandoned when he got "too old to sell" to prospective customers. He's a beautiful dog with a beautiful coat and he "prances" like he's been in a show ring somewhere. He loves all kids and all other dogswe've discovered no exceptions.

Max does have some insecurities (well, wouldn't you after you'd been abandoned several times?) that we deal with by crating him when we're not home with him. He was afraid of a lot of things when we first got him last summer that we take for granted: the wind blowing in the trees, water running in the creek, the buzzer on the dryer. But he's getting better a little at a time. He loves our older Golden, sleeps by our bed (or on it if it's cold outside), lounges on the couch, loves to go fishing on our boat (he will go to Canada with us for two weeks the end of June), and loves to go for walks in the woods with his best friend, the black Lab next door. Max is surely still discovering that life can be really good!

It may not have been a convenient time to adopt Max, but he's been worth it. Even after a trip to the emergency vet in February for eating something he shouldn't have and having tubes stuck down his throat, etc., no one has seen any signs of that "vicious dog with aggressive tendencies."

October 2008 Update
This letter came to me from Cindy:

Max went to The Bridge on October 6, 2008. His health had been declining since March/April of this year and despite blood tests, x-rays, and ultrasounds, the vet could not put a finger on it. Max didn't have the same energy he used to, but he was still the same wonderful loyal loving dog. He wasst brought Max home, our older Golden Tipper Emily (now 15-years-old) disliked him immensely. Eventually, he wore her down and she allowed him to kiss her nose and snort in her ears whenever he wanted. Max absolutely adored her. However, she always remained aloof and was The Queen Max knowing better than to try and sniff her butt! And, she certainly never would have touched him on purpose.

Until that last evening.

Max laid on his blanket in our living room all afternoon and evening the last day he was with us. During the evening, Tipper Emily laid down next to him (she's on the right in the photo) and stretched her legs out and touched Max's paws. They stayed that way, touching and looking at each other, for a long time that evening.

Was she holding his hand and telling him that it would be okay? It still brings on the tears to look at that picture. Does one dog know when another is dying? I definitely believe Tipper Emily did!

We miss our Maxwell tremendously. And, Tipper Emily is still looking for him around the house and yard. I don't think she'll ever admit it, but I think she secretly liked Max!