Dogs are a man’s best friend, and I’d say a family’s best friend too. Max was 6 months old when he came to us and he didn’t come with that name when we adopted him, because of his great size and resemblance to a large white horse in a Disney movie we called him Maximus.
As I write, Max is 9 years old, he is a mixed breed rescue dog, we believe there are Great Dane and American Bull dog genes involved.
Max is one in a million and travels everywhere with us, he has had a lot of fun adventures up hillsides to the top of the peaks, galloping along beaches at the seaside, lots of swimming, running through the snow or getting himself covered in mud, which is his personal favourite, his idea of a pamper session, a mud bath.
The poor dog, in life
the firmest friend.
The first to welcome,
foremost to defend.
~ Lord Byron
If not out frolicking and bouncing around like a crazed kangaroo, Max can be found doing some of his favourite past times…snoring, or gnawing on one of his Nylabone® bones, he’s had them since a pup and they never show signs of aging like a never-ending gob stopper for dogs.
Max still acts like a puppy half of the time, he doesn’t know his own size and is extremely over excitable which is often made worse by the two young terriers he shares his home with, Manchester terrier cross Jack Russell, Smokey and Bandit who are 4 years old as I write, the best of friends… buddies on all adventures. The three amigos!
Max is not only as stubborn as a mule but just as strong. With perseverance, dogs can be trained very well and I’ve seen some amazing examples. Like many breeds of dog there are certain health issues to watch for, Max has a skin condition which requires special prescription dog shampoo or one bought from a chemist and an occasional food supplement with added oils to help his skin, he is on a permanent prescription of steroids to manage his skin ailment plus the occasional dog pain relief, he also has a slight heart murmur.
In 2016 Max had a suspect growth on a toe and had to have it amputated which was a little worrying for us all but he recovered in no time at all. My advice is to always check your dog’s feet regularly for anything unusual. Bandit sniffed out this growth between his toes and alerted us to the problem. Pet health is paramount and vigilance is key.
Max can be a handful but he’s loveable through and through and that makes all the difference, oh and to boot he is one heck of a messy eater, his gums are big and floppy which means food everywhere at meal times and buckets of drool! But we love him.
Camping and hiking are activities that suit him well, Max with his long legs has always coped very well with long hikes and active family day trips, his little buddies Smokey and Bandit are still learning and are building stamina, Max loves to bound through snow and plays like a pup on snow days. He has been brilliant as a swimming coach to the young terriers too, Smokey has the knack of swimming and retrieving now, but Bandit is still a little unsure of the deeper water, he prefers a paddle.
As Max grows older I’m sure his ailments will be more pronounced, larger dog breeds often show their age sooner than the smaller breeds and don’t always have such a long-life span, Max was showing his age already at 8 years of age, he does get stiff after longer walks now and we’ve noticed he’s a little robotic the following day, he also suffers the occasional pulled shoulder, so we do have to limit his exercise until he’s recovered.
As a family member Max excels with his big loveable personality, his playfulness and silly, clumsy long legs. He thinks he’s just a tiny dog and loves to sit on a knee or try to curl up in a tiny bed rather than his own. He’s a big baby, scared of his own shadow and even scared of sheep. Max is very kind to our 7 cats, but he has his flaws of course, his stubbornness, his lack of attention span at times and doesn’t always get along with other dogs despite a lot of patience and socialization. A previous encounter with a not so friendly dog altered his perception and trust of others, still an issue we’re training out of him, an ongoing learning curve. Mostly… being biased, Maximus is one in a million and is a big, clumsy, drooling, lovable pooch. Man’s best friend and family companion!