Finding Max

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Max and Bella – 2012

My husband Nick and I found ourselves at an animal shelter, Scouts Honor Rescue, this past May. We were looking for a companion for our elderly dog Shakkan. We met 8 or 9 dogs, and walked a few of them , before coming to what would be “the one”.  Bella, a golden retriever/chow mix, ran out into the play yard directly to Nick and I swear I saw little cartoon hearts above their heads. They fell immediately in love. About a minute and a half later, we told the amused shelter worker that we would take her and were on our way.

We had to say goodbye to Shakkan about a month later.

It wasn’t long til we felt we should look for a dog again, the second time in three months. We perused Scouts Honor Rescue website for days until we set up a time to go and meet some dogs. At some point during those few days, Nick sent me an email with a craigslist link for a Great Dane puppy. Now, let me back up a bit here and try to describe my dream of owning a Dane.  It began when I was a teenager, working in a vets office. The vet had three dogs that lived in his office; owner sacrifices that the vet had taken in because he couldn’t find a home for them,and they became his. One of my duties was to care for these dogs; feed them, and walk them, and give them lovins. I became close with them.

One of these dogs was a Great Dane. The office was in fact a small house, and the Dane lived on the second floor. She didn’t have a negative quality about her. She was sweet and laid back, funny, loyal, and loving. What really surprised me was how lazy she was! Talking with the vet one day he told me these qualities were common traits of all great Danes, and aside from their genetic predisposition to physical problems, they were wonderful companions. This, along with their striking, dignified beauty was what led to my lifelong dream of owning a Dane.

As the years passed, I resigned myself to the fact that I would not, in all likelihood, ever own a Dane. My mom raised me with a propensity for shelter dogs; dogs in great need of homes. You don’t find Great Danes in shelters. I also couldn’t fathom paying thousands of dollars for an animal when so many others were so desperate for homes. So when Nick sent me this email, the one with the craigslist link to Great Dane puppies, I got sad. I asked him why he would send me this when I couldn’t possibly have one. To which he replied, why not? In the interest of not boring the shit out of you, I’ll skip the back and forth that ocurred between me and Nick and give you the bottom line. We weren’t in the market for a puppy, and we weren’t willing to spend an exorbitant amount of money. With this in mind, our search continued. We were still looking at shelter dogs, and keeping an open mind for a possible Great Dane match.  Two days before we had a scheduled meeting at the shelter, Nick found it. An ad on craigslist.  A 14 month old black Great Dane named Maximus. $200. The owner was having to work 11 hour days, and felt it wasn’t fair to him. Great Danes become very attached to their owners, and frequently express separation anxiety. Poor Max just wasn’t happy. So Nick and I set up a meeting for about an hour after we would be at the shelter. Leaving the shelter a couple days later, we felt as though there was one possible match with a sweetie we met named Red. I expressed hesitation at possibly taking Maximus since I knew they would have no problem finding a home for him and Red needed a home so desperately. Nick urged me to keep an open mind, and not let that dictate my decision. Ten minutes later, we pull up to the house at the same moment that the owner Jennifer does. We introduce ourselves and approach the house together. She opens the door and…

There he was.

I was feeling what I had seen just a few months earlier with Nick and Bella. I was instantly and irrevocably in love. I sat on the couch and Max promptly sat on my lap. Jennifer said he had never acted that way so quickly with anyone else. Nick knew when I looked up at him that it was all over.

And I never looked back.

When your heart speaks, it’s hard not to listen.

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