For several weeks John had been talking to MAX about finding the perfect dog for their friend Joe. MAX was especially excited about this possibility and danced around John’s study every time the idea was brought up. Of course MAX would be involved with the choice since this dog for Joe would be a new friend for all of them. MAX understood the dog for Joe would live at Joe’s house and he and John would visit, include Joe and his dog in their morning and evening walks, and would be a new member of their family that developed during the past several months.
Joe is their special friend who lives up the lane from MAX and John. He has spent over a year recovering from an accident where he was severely injured and took the lives of his wife and daughter. His physical injuries healed and Joe was even working again. However, his emotional healing from the horror and loss office family is ongoing. His therapist is wonderful and has become friends with MAX and John during the past months. MAX became Joe’s self-appointed therapy dog along the way to recover and had made a huge difference … even Joe’s therapist who has seen MAX in action with him is amazed at their bond. For MAX, he just wants his human Joe to feel better and be happy more days than sad … but, on the sad days MAX refuses to leave Joe’s side, even going to work and therapy sessions at these times to give all of his magical canine support.
John had been planting seeds for the past couple of months to begin a search for Joe’s own special dog. MAX knew this dog wouldn’t replace him in Joe’s life but would enrich all of their lives. John decided to talk with Joe’s therapist about this idea and she was all for finding Joe his own dog. She even said it was something she should have thought of months ago.
Everyone agreed that Joe has a difficult time with attachments. Survivor Guilt his therapist calls it and the fear of losing someone or something he loves. That is why his friendship with MAX and John was a successful step in his overall recovery.
MAX can even sense when Joe is having recurring nightmares or what Joe calls Remembrance Dreams about his wife and daughter. When these dreams take place, MAX goes to him immediately if at all possible. No one knows how MAX senses the dreams, but he has even figured out how to let himself into Joe’s house so he can snuggle up to him and be there when the dreams wake Joe screaming and shaking. MAX always knows and is always there for Joe before the dream ends and he wakes up.
John figured out what MAX was doing but decided not to discuss the secret visits until Joe brought up the subject. He finally did during one of their evening walks. He asked John if he knew MAX would sneak into his house in the middle of the night to cuddle with him as he slept. John told him he knew MAX was visiting and accepted it as another of the special things MAX did because he was … well, MAX. No more discussion, no questions, only acceptance that MAX knew best. John wondered if Joe remembered the dreams and with MAX there he didn’t even know what had happened.
After that, the dog talk began. MAX and John decided the dog for Joe needed to be a rescue and about MAX’s size or would grow to that size. John began looking at dogs in local shelters and rescue facilities on their websites. When he saw a possible dog MAX got to see the picture and hear the dog’s story read to him. There were a few possibilities but none of them made MAX dance.
That is … until one night, there she was. A cattle dog mix with a gray and white body but the black and tan face of some other breed. That face was unforgettable. MAX saw her and fell in love immediately. He licked that sweet face on the computer screen and danced all over the house. John knew the match had been made even before MAX saw Maggie’s picture. She was perfect to complete their family.
Maggie it was and John immediately called the rescue facility. Maggie was available and the adoption was put into motion over the phone. They could come tomorrow and finalize the paperwork so Maggie could be in her new forever home before bedtime tomorrow.
Of course MAX wanted to get her right then. John explained the process and MAX being MAX understood. Even Joe picked up on something going on during their walk that night. John only said that MAX has a big secret! Neither of them slept much that night.
The next morning MAX and John went to get Maggie. Paperwork was signed and the people loved the surprise after hearing Joe’s story. John assured them that if things didn’t work out for Joe and Maggie she had a home with them and MAX barked his agreement.
When Maggie came into the room, she took one look at MAX and ran to him like seeing a long-lost friend. Yes, dogs can hug – both of them were on their hind legs with fore legs round each other … then the kisses started. Maggie saw John and made the immediate connection he was the reason for her leaving the rescue. She actually jumped into his arms and gave him the bear hug only a happy dog can give a special human.
Maggie’s few possessions were gathered and she and MAX walked side-by-side to the car. No one had to tell Maggie to ‘load up’ … she followed MAX and made her place beside him.
It was decided the next stop was a shopping trip to get Maggie a new collar, leash, toys, bed … basically anything she wanted and picked out. MAX on his best behavior led Maggie through the pet store. We let her choose everything she wanted. Her new collar and leash were purple, which actually fit her personality perfectly. She picked out a couple of cuddly squeaky toys, a ball, a rope for tug of war, and rawhide bone … or five or six … also, she wanted a rug not a new bed. Of course her bed from the rescue was her comfort zone.
John picked out food and water dishes, a doggie place mat, and the recommended dog food – wet and dry. MAX picked out the treats … his favorites of course … for when he visited. Before heading for home, John called Joe to invite him for dinner before their evening walk. This was something that happened regularly so Joe wouldn’t expect something out of the ordinary. Joe always jumped at the chance of a home cooked meal and knew whatever John cooked would be a feast compared to his choices of frozen dinners.
John got dinner started as MAX helped Maggie settle in. He gave her a tour of the house and they both curled up side by side in the kitchen hoping for John to drop a goodie as he cooked. Spaghetti was the order of the evening and each dog had a tiny bite of raw hamburger before John cooked it to go in the sauce.
MAX heard Joe before he even stepped onto their porch. Running to the door he could not contain his excitement. John stayed in the kitchen with Maggie. MAX walked Joe down the hall holding his right hand in his mouth as they walked today the kitchen and Joe’s surprise.
John was holding Maggie’s collar when MAX brought Joe into the room. Maggie looked up at John with knowing eyes. MAX brought Joe to Maggie and released his hand … Maggie took it in her mouth as MAX had done. The look on Joe’s face was beyond priceless. The smile started in his eyes and spread to a wide grin and belly laugh. Maggie did her thing and jumped into Joe’s arms to give him her bear hug and doggie kisses.
John introduced them and the bond was immediately sealed right in the middle of the kitchen …
Over dinner, John told the story of Maggie and how she was found with MAX’s help and approval. Joe was still in disbelief that Maggie was really his and was excited about the obvious love Maggie had not only for MAX but the two men.
The evening walk was a celebration and the beginning of a new journey for the two dogs and their humans. Maggie followed MAX’s lead and knew what was expected during this first walk for the four of them as a new blended family.
Back at John’s, they loaded all of Maggie’s gear into Joe’s car. MAX looked at both men and got the OK he needed to go with Maggie and Joe to help them settle into her new home.
Closing the door, John knew MAX would spend the night and join him the next morning when the four of them took their first morning walk … smiling he thought … ‘Let the new journey begin …’
Copyright © 2017Annie
Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
As Ever, Annie
NOTE: Maggie was added to this little family after I met my friend’s dog Maggie at the Farmer’s Market yesterday. The above picture is not she, but is almost her twin. She is an amazing 8-month-old girl who has a heart as big as Texas and is going through all sorts of puppy training. She loves her human – my friend’s husband – just as MAX loves John. After seeing the two together I knew it was time for Joe to have his own special dog and Maggie was my role model for this new story in the series of MAX, John and Joe.