I found Max in February of ’04 while searching Petfinder.com for a collie. We’d been comfortably settled in our own home for a little over a year, and it was finally time to pursue the childhood romance I’d had growing up with Lassie on TV. Weeding out the dogs who weren’t good with kids or cats, I clicked open Max’s profile and immediately fell in love with his face! He was the biggest ball of dog fluff I’d ever seen, with eyes that just begged you to take him home and love him. It didn’t matter to me that he was a large dog and already 10 years old; to the contrary, I thought, “This guy needs a warm, safe retirement home!”
My query with Libby’s Haven as to his availability was answered very quickly, and with the application filled out and returned, the process of adopting him flew with amazing speed. In less than 3 weeks, we brought Max home with us on a very memorable day, Feb. 29th – Leap Day!
Max moved in as if he’d lived here all his life. He promptly spread his 90 lb. frame out across the breadth of my kitchen, forcing me to step over and around him as I prepared dinner or cleaned up. He never outgrew that habit, and it’s as if it was his way of making sure we knew he was there, and there to stay. I have to say that if ever there was a “perfect” dog, Max was it. He ignored my cats, loved my kids, hardly ever barked, and was content to sleep all day or go for a brisk walk, whatever the day brought. Whoever had raised him did an excellent job – his manners were impeccable! One of his most favorite things to do was go for a ride in the car, and his funniest habit was rolling on his back in the grass, while sneezing and paddling his front paws in the air! We always loved to see him do this, and the kids thought it was just so funny. As winter gave way to spring and warmer weather, Max would spend his outdoor time lying on the last shrinking patches of snow, trying to keep cool through all that fur. He loved the snow! When summer heat arrived, Max would spend the hottest days sleeping right at his water dish, where he could drink without having to get up!
We were blessed to have Max in our lives for 6 brief months. One rainy morning in August – Friday the 13th, of all days – we awoke to find him in pretty tough shape. A quick trip to the vet determined a tumor, and the kindest thing to do was end his suffering. He gently crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and now rests peacefully under a big shade tree in our woods, where he loved to explore. Certainly no one in our family ever expected to lose Max so soon, but not for one moment do I regret taking him in. He brought us many laughs and tons of unconditional love. He was wonderful to have as a part of our family, whether he was sleeping across my kitchen floor, or trying to participate in “family game night,” or even when he panicked over a thunder storm. I feel blessed and privileged to have been his family for the twilight of his life. A few weeks after losing Max, we had the opportunity to foster another Libby’s Haven dog. Yet another fluffy dog (I’m partial to them!), Daphne was a beautiful little Samoyed who was also looking for her new forever home. She even made the newspaper in an article that the NH Sunday News did on the adopting of older dogs! Daphne was a bit too interested in our cats to be able to stay permanently with us, but for a few weeks we were able to take her in and give her a warm place to sleep and lots of love. She loved a good walk on the leash, so she also got us to exercise ourselves a bit more!
The last thing I would have to say about adopting any dog, is to never, ever be afraid to open your heart and home to a senior canine!!