Small reminders

I adopted a puppy. One that looks like Max, of course, and it has helped. But there are many moments when a flood of memories come back. And I still miss him so. I still cry when someone asks me how he is.

It is the little things that became a part of our lives and are now irrelevant. His fear of someone stepping on a grate outside – it would throw him into a panic attack. His fear of inanimate objects or stepping on the bump in the garage. My new dog has no fear and it is lovely. But I wonder and wish I could have changed the course of Max’s life. I know I did in many ways, but eliminated the inherent fear of others and things because he had never been taught life can be safe and good.

I cry at the strangest of times and still hate that I killed the thing I loved so much. I know he was suffering and I know it was the right thing to do. But I hope he will understand and I wish I could have had a few more days.

So, when those that judge me for moving on too fast or comment on how they need to grieve their dog – as if I didn’t – I remember what I realized in my dark December. He isn’t ever coming back – there is nothing I can do to help myself by waiting and crying and living in depression. Death is so final – I knew it, but didn’t know it. I did what was best for my dog who was suffering. But I really didn’t get he would never ever show up for me again. And I will never get over pulling that trigger as I didn’t want to.

I hate those that judge another in grief. I learned that through this as well.

Purpose defined

I started this blog on November 29. Maxwell went to heaven on Dec 5. Rather than being a little better today than I was two weeks ago, I would say I am feeling more lost and confused.

What makes the pending loss – or now that it has happened – the actual loss – of your pet so very hard? For me – and because my dog was so incredibly fearful and feral at first – it is the loss of someone you love AND the loss of purpose in your life. I had so much purpose today with his care and our routine. The needs you find in the regular world – competition, selfishness, greed – are prevalent. Not with a pet.

We had a life together. Friends, inside jokes, play and a life. He was “just a dog” and he was essentially the biggest part of my life. People don’t get why I am so sad – they expect it to be over in a few weeks. My mind cannot really understand he isn’t coming back. Had you told me that prior to his death, i would have said that was crazy. I just cannot believe I will never hug, kiss or see him again. Maybe I will never stop hoping…

I also find myself devastated that my health, happy dog look worried, sad and ill for a month and I really didn’t start to see it.

Grief and death are not for wimps.


I wear a permanent tear. I am not kidding, it is almost always there inching down my nose.

I am wracked with grief and pray for a sign from him, anything to help me know he is okay. Where do the souls of those who pass go? Is he trying to et back to me? Can I help him come back to me? How I wish I could help him.

My job in life was to take of him. I feel as though he felt the same about caring for me.

It is the little things that cause such pain.

He was afraid of noise in the kitchen since the vet hurt his ear. Now I drop something and flinch. Then I remember he is gone. He followed me everywhere and watched me nonstop. Every moment, every action – there was someone who I loved that loved me back – waiting for me to feed, walk, play and love them. Now I walk into silence. I have plants that I love. I always wondered if they felt his amazing energy. Max sat in this house day in and day out for six years. Do the plants know he is gone? I know I do:(

I walk by the areas he loved and cry. I removed the car seat he loved. He adored the car and would bark and act gleeful. Even when he is sick. Now it is just me. He loved to bark at doggies in the car. I said doggie and the barking began. The greetings when I opened the door, the cuddling, and the waking me up at 5 am every day for six years. All matter and made my world sparkle.

What is so hard when you lose someone who is you lose the future along with the past.

Things like houses we loved being destroyed resonates with me. On our walks, there is a little white house I love being destroyed by a builder. It probably started the day after he died. The one I dreamed we move into when I first got Max. That beautiful and pristine tiny house that sold for $2M just, but just for the land. Of course, I know now that our living there was a fantasy. With the passing of my pup, I realize that not only is the house gone, but so many we met and developed friendships with will fade away just like the little white house. It is like we are dust in the wind fading away from the life we have grown to love. But I am the only one here.

And, walking as a human sans dog, you truly aren’t noticed the way you are with a dog.

I am being told it is time to move on. Do I need counseling? Am I grieving too much? My answer is no. I spent six years with a dog who was sick and frightened, almost feral, at adoption. He became a normal dog, but never could work with others. No one walked him but me. He boarded a handful of times, but that stopped in 2020. So it was the two of us. We faced many good and bad times (well, I did and he supported me). He loved me no matter what. The loss of that love, life and routine isn’t something you get over in a week.

I miss you Max. My life is incomplete and lacking without you. Please give me a sign – any sign, so I know you are okay. I cannot believe I will never hug or kiss or pet you again. How that pains me every day.

Max is the one on the front right, pretty sure that is Lola in the back (white doggie)

My heart and soul

One week ago, right now, I lost my precious boy. I don’t really know what to do with myself.

The days are longer, the nights are lonelier and the world is colder

The first of many firsts is happening today at 2:10 pm

I wait and hope that somehow you will return to me

I loved you with all my heart and that will never change, my Maxwell

If I could ask for anything now, it is the chance to see you again one day.

Please be happy, wherever you are.

Just like me, they long to be, close to Maxwell.

Two things I am grateful for

  1. I need to make sure he didn’t end up alone and without me. I always wanted Max to go before me. In 2017, I almost died. He was my newly adopted dog and I had an acute and serious illness. It required over a week in the hospital without notice or warning. Max didn’t work with anyone. He wouldn’t walk or tolerate anyone other than me at that time. So, when i went to the ER and then through surgery and a long stay in the ICU, Max was here without me. I was so upset – I could see him on the video at night looking for me and waiting for me all day, every day. I begged anyone I could find who would listen to let me come home. I was at risk so it took much negotiation, but after a little over a week – I got home. He acted like I had left for the day. This house was a mess as multiple people left him food and peed on the pads and rug, but he was ok. One friend even cooked meat for him as I have done that most of his life. I learned that with this type of dog, should anything happen to you, they are at great risk. With that in mind and for his safety, a huge fear has been what if I die? I had a God family, but they adopted two Golden Retrievers so I don’t think they could have helped. I am grateful he never ended up without me. This is beyond the worst thing in my life to deal with, but I can care for myself. I am thankful I was able to never leave him lost and alone.
  2. The other is the are starting awful construction near our home. I am grateful he was able to stay in this little condo he loved so much for his whole life and keep his potty routine without the disruption of major construction of this high rise taking that from him.

I am not at all grateful that he is gone, was sick, or struggled to stay alive. Those things are beyond heartbreaking. But I will always be grateful that he is safe from harm and never had to shift course as neither of us are great with significant change.

I love and miss you, Maxwell. If I could go back a week in time, I would hug you tighter and ask the vet more questions in hope of finding more time with you.

Purpose and reason to live

Max is gone and my world is gray, quiet, lonely, and hoping maybe God will hear my pleas and send him back. He was my joy, my reason and my purpose.

I keep looking back to see if too soon. Was he really sick, was he in pain, did I miss something? Lap of love called with a cancellation for sunday, December 5. I took it hoping to cancel.

He couldn’t walk easily sat. Crying, i called the vet to say maybe it was time. I couldn’t when we got there – he was scared and shaking and it was full. We got a cerenia shot and left. We were both overjoyed. I hoped the shot might help. It did not. Saturday and Sunday both continued with signs of pain. I carried him to the trail we love in the neighborhood. We saw a friend who we have seen daily which was special.

Max felt terrible upon waking Sunday and I didn’t cancel. He did eat and I gave him pain meds. He took double the amount that week along with a few steroid shots. Ironically, food and GI were ok as those were usually our issues. He walked, but seemed uncomfortable. I picked him up off and on sat and sun.

Last kiss

I tried to keep it together but couldn’t. I am sure he knew something was going on with me. The vet arrived and he barked – as always- smelled her, barked, and ate treats. no symptoms of illness:( i almost backed out. i remembered his sis just died and the frail body, future pain and especially because he had lost four pounds, his hair wasn’t growing, and he was using a ton of pain meds.

To help me, he ran to his toy box to play💔🥲

He is gone now. I sang his song and took him on the deck as he fell asleep. It was peaceful.

I am now begging God to send him back. I miss the 5 am wake-ups, his precious ears and head as I carry him, the hugs, and his scent. I keep trying to find his scent. I have never had such purpose and joy before. 2008 days of love, fun, adventure and joy gone.

He was the bestest boy and so beautiful. I am utterly heartbroken 😔

He is with God

And I am so lost. I will miss your bark, your eyes, your paw, the car rides, the nights together, the walks, your trespassing, the routines, playing ball, your bark at doggies, seeing you waiting when I come out of Giant, your bowtie, your love for me, the hugs and kisses, and so much more.

I am sorry I helped spare you from future pain – there is nothing more I wanted then to keep you here forever.

I will worry it was too soon for the rest of my life.

Please be at peace and know I cannot wait to see you again in heaven.


I am grieving the future loss of Max. No day or night will be the same without him. I hug him all day, every day, and struggle to know I may not have him here when I open the door soon. A living being – who waits and greets you with joy – changes the game in life. And, as you become the best of friends, there is truly nothing more joyful than that welcome home.

When I first got Max, we walked about 3-4 hours a day. I was fascinated with the homes in the beautiful neighborhood nearby. I had lived blocks away from this area, yet never explored. We now have walked by these homes and families for hours each day.

I remember in 2016 as the holidays came. We watched families coming together and homes lighting up. I had big plans for our future in my mind. I dreamed of Max and I having a little home in this pricey neighborhood with a small backyard. I actually thought it could happen. I know better now, but it doesn’t matter as – without him – that perfect little picture is hollow.

There was a kind old man with a meticulous, quaint home that I loved. In 2016 and other years, I would see his family was carrying in holiday food and the joy radiated from him as he greeted them. He died this year. We walk by his house – electrical pole and demolition sign now in front of the dark, empty home – and my heart breaks a little. What is even more painful is that soon my walks, and the world as I know it, will be be gone like that little, perfect white house. A memory from the past, but only because my other – my dog – is gone. People will notice our absence for a short time and then not at all.

We have so many friends that we have met along the way. I see them now and know that these friendships will slowly fade away as I will no longer follow our routine. That routine of 2,047 days, or over 4,000 walks morning and night, will exist no more.

He is “only a dog” to the rest of the world. To me, he is everything. I already miss the dreams and the walks and the hugs. How I wish I could keep them with me until my last day. To adopt this dog who is technically younger than you – and who is now much older than you – is crushing.

I will say – you love the seniors even more. The frailer he becomes, the more I cherish him, and wish I could have more time – or forever – with him…

Sadly, the last thing is the lack of a smile and the worry in his eyes. Every once in a while, he smiles. But the days of smiles are gone because he knows… we both know:(

always looking forward; now reflecting back:(

For most of my life, I look forward. I plan, prepare and often – naively – think nothing can go wrong.

I got confirmation that Max’s issue is systemic and we probably have weeks. He has a lost a pound this week. He feels good overall, with intermittent pain when eating and drinking. Still prefers to drink off the carpet and we are trying to manage that to save the second rug. The vet agrees, we are now in hospice and the best path forward is palliative care.

It is hard not to reflect on the past and dwell on the changes. I am trying to appreciate every minute with him and not think about the loss heading my way.

I watched Marley and Me. There was so much in the movie that actually helped me. The changes they go through, the loss of their ability to line up the body with the soul, the grieving, and the longing for the dog to let you know when it is time. The changes in behavior – where they sleep and how they respond – were so accurately portrayed. I couldn’t handle the movie before, but I used it as a resource to prepare this time.

The last few lines of Marley and Me are so meaningful:

Dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes or designer clothes

A dog doesn’t care if you are clever or dull, smart of dumb

Give him your heart and he’ll give you his.

How many people can you say that about?

How many people make you feel rare and pure and special?

How many people can make you feel extraordinary?


No one ever told me

No one ever told me… that realizing your baby is suddenly old will be almost unbearable

No one ever told me… that one day your world will lose color as your dog turns gray

No one ever told me… that the joy of planning for a tomorrow without them isn’t interesting

No one ever told me… that the haircuts, boarding, toys, and food plans make your life full and complete

No one ever told me… that the rituals, routines, nuances, and traditions make life sparkle

No one ever told me…that adopting your pet means never ever being lonely

No one ever told me… that this companion gives life great purpose and never ending joy

No one ever told me… that you will love them even more as their strong body gets weak, as their hair gets thinner, and their body wastes away

No one ever told me… that you begin to envision that awful day and your dog looking at you like how you could do this to me, mom

No one ever told me… that you may be forced to decide it is their time to go without knowing if it really should be

No one ever told me… that all the love in the world cannot save your dog from leaving you

I doubt we have months, but am grateful for any minutes or days ahead. I am not sure how I will survive in this cold world without my best friend.

I love you more than I ever knew I could love, my special boy.

Facing the future

I am lucky to be able to write this.

I am watching the changes, trying to envision what I will do, and the world gets grayer in color some days. My little boy is turning gray and having pain in his belly. He was 11 pounds – now 9 – but the signs are there. I have always worried about his health and many look at him and say things might be fine. I know what is happening.

He has pain when eating every day and is fearful of the water bowl. He is frail and holds his body in a contorted stance at least half the day. The subtle, but tale tell signs, are significant changes in Max’s daily routine. For example, he slept in the living room for five years and never with me in the bedroom. Now he goes to the bedroom at 8 pm. He used to watch the front door all the time from his own bed. When he goes to the back room. When he first moved to the bedroom – he would guard the door. This week, he now lays at the top of the bed facing away from the door towards the wall.

Days, weeks or months?

I ask myself how much time do we have? I have loved Mr. Max more than I have ever loved any animal and he is like my child. He is loyal, affectionate, playful. Here is what I know about dog ownership. It gives you such purpose. Since I adopted Max on June 9, 2016 – even for a minute – have I felt lonely. I was perpetually lonely – sometimes lost – before Max, and know that hollow and cold world may return when he leaves this earth.

We have had 5 1/2 wonderful years. He is a normal, nice, and bossy dog now. I just hope we have more quality days, weeks, and months. But the signs are there and I am trying to prepare my heart and soul.

Oh, Maxwell, how I love you.

Love is love is love

I love Max. He limits me socially yet I am never lonely. I spend a thousand a month on him for fancy hair cuts, visits, and food but it is worth every penny.  I am still the only one he will walk with, but never giving up hope that could change.

This is the beauty of love.  The love of a pet is the greatest gift.

I wish – more than anything – I could adopt another, but not now.  I know I would worry less if he had company.

Happy fall season to all!

Do you see what I see?

IMG_1812fullsizeoutput_1339IMG_1774IMG_2297IMG_2277Here we are … 26 months later from adoption.  So much has changed, but some things are still the same.

What has changed:

  • I boarded Max for a week and he was great!  He even ate as he often doesn’t if I am away.  I did okay without him as well although I missed him dearly.
  • He lets people pet him now and I think he genuinely likes people.  Outside the home only.
  • He has a few dog friends that he adores.  He “hip bumps” them – which they don’t understand nor do I – but is joyful after he sees them.
  • He does great while I am at work even though he sits alone for hours.
  • He is a little nicer to our daily pet visitor and, if I am home, wags his tail and jumps all over her.
  • My family doesn’t like him which is hard for me.  My friend said he was a mean dog when describing him to someone today.
  • He is a hysterical barker to visitors in the home. If I take him to boarding – he is okay, but he isn’t easy away from home with me (as in the family).
  • He eats Farmer’s Dog and – while doesn’t love it – he has much better GI.  He eats much less these days and cannot chew much (he doesn’t have many teeth).
  • He is very affectionate.
  • He is a man (dog) of routine and he used to be a man (dog) of adventure on his walks.

What hasn’t changed:

  • He still wakes me up every morning between 5-6 am.  I haven’ t slept past 6:15 am ever if at home with him.
  • He still loves to play ball for hours.
  • He is bossy and loves to trespass.
  • He barks loudly in the home and car.  He is basically Cujo at home and in the car.  People are scared of him!
  • He still won’t let anyone else walk him unless at boarding.  This is the biggest challenge as it contains me at 5 – 7 am and 5 – 7 pm every day so I cannot exercise in classes or go out after work most of the time.
  • He likes to take walks and is exuberant as we head to them.
  • He brings me love and joy everyday.

The purpose of my headline is this: how can I get this sweet and lovable doggie to show that part of his personality to others.  They would see what I see and that is what they should see….

Anyway – I entered my little guy in the People Magazine Cutest Dog Contest for rescues.  It would be so wonderful if he won!  Even if not, he is the cutest dog in the world to me.


Difficult boy

Well… so much for a hope of turning this rescue boy around.

My days are longer and I hoped exciting things were ahead for Max and I.  He is a not good candidateIMG_0106 for doggie daycare due to his behavior at pick-up:(  We are now working with the world’s sweetest walker who he terrorizes when she comes into the apt.  He barks and is scary in that mode.

He will not work with anyone in the home.  I worry for our future.  We have been down this road and I must find a solution for his behavior. He responds to others – albeit with some hesitation – if outside the home.    I have to have a social life, a job and friends.  But it is hard if you work long days, commute and are the sole caregiver for a little being.   He requires about 3-4 hours with play, walk and food leaving me little time to do anything else.

I will keep hoping and trying to find a solution – something to change his level of trust.  I truly believe he wants to engage – but there is still so much fear.  I wish we would find a trainer or behaviorist who truly could help him …us.  IMG_1160IMG_0244IMG_1047


So many changes…and happy holidays!

After a long break, I hope Max and I can find more time to blog.  He really is an amazing boy and is changing every day.  I found a best friend – that is for sure.

We went home at Thanksgiving and spent three days away from home.  There was fear at being someplace new (and 10 people, a dog and 3 cats) and, after a few days, he got a little GI issue.  Overall – it was an amazing success.

We will give it another try this weekend.

The most exciting progress is that he is doing doggie slumber parties, or boarding, and may have a chance to try daycare in a lovely home with other small dogs.  I have been rushing home from work for 18 months and the thought of not having to worry about his getting lonely or frustrated due to no walk by 4:00 pm would be heaven on earth.

At 12 months, he began to allow others to pet him.  We are still unable to make progress with a walker, but we won’t give up.  I really think he is almost close to what one would experience with a ‘normal dog’.

To any readers of our blog, happiest of holidays and hope you spend it with family and loved ones – including the furry kind.  More to come soon and will write more often…



Hi there to my few readers,

Max is showing so much progress.  Instead of writing the blog – I am coaxed to play ball, walk, cuddle, and watch my pup trespass.  Unfortunately, Maxwell loves to trespass and our walks often turn into battles about how many backyards are accessible to him.  If not allowed to run through many of these beautiful yards, especially in the yards that happen to have pups he likes, he won’t budge and the standoff begins.  Last week, he woke up people we know as their windows were open and the dogs started barking as he ran by their bushes.  I was so embarrassed.

The most important update on progress is that he is allowing folks to pet him.  He is engaging with people and dogs far more than he used to.  I see hope for a social life (fingers crossed)

The less than happy news is that we still wake up by 5:10 am every single day.  And, if I don’t wake up upon his initial attempt – the sneezing and coughing starts, followed by  growling or barking at a fictitious threat outside.  The last straw will be every toy is pulled out of of the toy box because my little guy knows that will be too hard for me to resist (one)…The lack of sleep for a year has definitely taken a toll on my looks & energy.  However, it is well worth it for all the love he gives.

Happy 4th of July & thanks for stopping by to read the update!IMG_0006

One year anniversary

One year ago – right about now – I brought Maxwell home as a foster dog.

I love him very much and have given every ounce of my existence trying to help him adapt.

Today wasn’t an easy day.  I took him two blocks into town and he had a panic attack.  Then we approach my condo and we encountered a small child.  He, again, had a full fledged flee attack.

He was no different with the behavior meds.  I was offered an immersion class, but he trusts one person – me.  I cannot risk what could happen if I break our bond and his spirit.  I also have been told PTSD is different in regard to training than a regular dog.

Some days I have hope, but today I am feeling a bit down and hopeless.  These dogs are so damaged and I don’t know if there is a way to repair a non-socialized and abused dog.

I welcome ideas…and continue to hope he will make progress.

Thank you for being a friend

A few things happened this week.  I gave Max his first dose of tick meds.  I DON’T recommend Bravecto for small dogs.  He took it Sunday, could barely stay awake and is still not eating much.  I felt like he was dying for a day or two and you have to wonder how toxic these pills are:(  Bad mom feelings are the worst:(

I drive him to a lovely neighborhood twice a day as he still struggles with the busy road outside of my house.  Gorgeous homes and friendly people; the neighborhood brings us both a ton of joy.  We get to see lots of dogs which he loves these days (pic of Max and a pom friend below)…

The latest Max idiosyncrasy habit is his fascination with trying to visit with each neighbor’s home in this glorious neighborhood.  It is so embarrassing and he stares at each home for a minute or two.  He pulls me towards the door of each home we pass by.  I guess he wants to meet friends or that is the only explanation I can conjure up.  I tell him I would like to live in these homes also, but he cannot just go up to each door:)

It is actually cute to watch, but I am hoping this habit is a short-term one!



IMG_6043Maxwell still has so far to go, but I will admit he has a permagrin (permanent grin) on his face every day or so it feels that way.  Being a bad dog mom, I have been occupying him with treats called Bentley’s beef jerky chews.  He LOVES them and they occupy him.  It used to be that they kept him focused for a few hours, but he now chews them up in 10 minutes.  However, they are GI friendly so, for now, it is too tempting to use them.




For my little guy…

Wishing my best friend and little guy a happy National Puppy Day.  He has been doing well and we are soon going to add a 3rd anxiety drug to our cocktail.  Fingers crossed it might work so I could get him walking or engaging with humans….

What is helping with the anxiety now?  The Adaptil (two in a small space), $30 rugs, pee pads, beef jerky chews (bad mom), Presence to watch him with the iPad, turkey and beef, and toys.  I built him a bench with steps and he actually is beginning to use it to look outside.  Very exciting!

Since I adopted Maxwell, my fear is that I will die on this highly dependent boy.   I am really healthy, but somehow I ended up at death’s door and I was so worried for him.  With that in mind, I am determined to get him to trust others so he can walk and be okay if I don’t outlive him.  There must be a way as he is spoiled and loved beyond belief.

He is so quirky.  He is TERRIFIED of flies (think a chicken coop) and fascinated with any downward sloping driveways.  He goes ballistic if we see a dog outside while in the car.   He feels powerful and strong in the car booster seat and likes to stand so he is taller than me.

I am so lucky to have met Maxwell.  Here’s to an easier year ahead and, hopefully, a future where we can have friends and – maybe – I can start to focus on exercise and seeing friends just a little bit more.:)  The pic below is on the way to the vet for his rabies shot; I felt terrible as he was so unknowingly happy.  But it went just fine.


My second chance… who knew?

Last summer, I titled our blog thinking my second chance was to love a dog.  February was eye-opening.  Midway through the month, I decided to sneak in a late class to work on toning.  During that class, I experienced the worst pain of my life.  At first, I thought it was a stroke.  However, I could function.  I thought I had pulled my neck and, in the process, developed this strange pain through my head.

I always thought doggies could sense pain.  Maxwell didn’t notice that night or the next few days.  The pain got worse and very bad.  I learned, over a week later, that I had a warning bleed.  I was a walking time bomb and the odds would say you don’t walk around for eight days in this state.

I learned that I was having emergency brain surgery and the I must immediately leave.  Remember, Maxie hasn’t walked with anyone but me and still doesn’t allow anyone else to touch him.  Maxwell stayed in his bed and waited for my return for six days.  My wonderful friends fed him, but all he did was bark at them.  Thankful for the pee pads because his world stayed small for those six days.

I pray we can find a way to get Max to develop some trust of others.  I cannot imagine a life without travel or more social outings, but I also couldn’t live without him.  However, only time will tell how I will manage this situation.  Max is MUCH better with things like fear of trash cans and elevatorsIMG_5875, but hasn’t moved with human engagement and interaction.

We switched him to fluoxetine and that may help.  Only time will tell….in the meantime, I am grateful for more time here on earth and that I didn’t end up never coming home.  You realize that there is no way to explain the circumstances to a puppy.


Good week

Besides the pigs ear GI issues, we had a good week.  Max was really sick from a Bark Box gift – lesson learned that this guy cannot handle treats like other dogs.  I ordered one, but that may be our last due to the two days of illness:(  That requires another new rug (#5 for the year).

However, he is doing great and looks adorable with his new haircut.

Wishing everyone a good week!

The Times They Are a-Changin’ (song)

Max was, once again, very sick with GI last week.  To the point where I assumed we could be in real trouble.  However, he is doing better now and we got a few tests to make sure all is okay.

On a happier note, he is flourishing in regard to his interest in engaging with other animals.  We went to the dog park today and he let big dogs run up.  The past few weeks, it worried me as he has intermittently run after big dogs and barks.  Today, he was calm and friendly to all five dogs who came up to sniff him.

He also has an interest in cats.  We are cat sitting this week and he keeps trying to take me to the cats apartment.  If this continues, I may get Maxwell a cat.  I don’t want a cat, but will do it for him.  I also think it could help me worry less when I am gone as he will have a companion home.

Should I get him a cat?  I really cannot afford a cat.  I don’t want a cat.  But if it would make me feel less guilty and make him happy – I may just get a cat.  I also would want a small cat that is like a dog:)

With that, it brings me such joy to see this boy thriving as he realizes he is safe and loved.  I have given him more of my time, energy and life than I ever anticipated I could muster up for anyone.  He is my biggest life accomplishment to date and I hope he has a wonderful life.

More to come and, as I post so infrequently, thanks to anyone still reading!img_5311img_5321img_5322img_5323img_5326






Cold weather woes

img_5210So very sorry for the long absence.  Maxwell is thriving in most ways, but we continue to have our struggles.  We hit 7 months yesterday so I keep hoping for continued improvement in how he relates to the world.

One thing that is hard on us right now is the cold weather.  I, being a novice dog owner, didn’t know how painful snow and ice are on a pup’s paws.  Poor boy.  He has shoes and a coat, but hates both these cold weather options.  Not sure how any dog owner gets dog shoes on without a serious battle.  And the coat has velcro – unfortunately velcro sticks to his fur.  Buttons or an attachment is the recommendation for pet coats.   We did get a cute pic with his preppy coat on though so I will post it.

Additionally, salt is a serious concern.  I have been washing his paws which also doesn’t go over so well.  Salt can cause serious paw issues and apparently killed a poor pup here in our area (possibly ingesting the chemicals).   I also apply vaseline to his paws which he doesn’t seem to mind as much.

Last – we don’t have our long, fun walks right now.  We have freezing cold, dark walks where we look for an ounce of grass to pee on.  #2 is almost not happening (poor little boy).  And the 14 layers pre-work and post-work is no fun.  Poor guy has to wait around and always does so very patiently.

The kicker is that no one told me/ reminded me about cold weather woes when I adopted a pup.  I am sure if I had a snazzy dog door and a back yard with an awning, I may be posting about the joys of winter.  But I live in an urban high rise with lots of people, cars and salt.

So I hope to save another new parent from these novice, cold weather mistakes.

Wishing my two wonderful followers a happy new year and my resolution is to be a more consistent blogger.


Six months strong

December 9 was our six month mark.  It  has been the pinnacle turning point in my mind for miraculous change.  While there is amazing progress, and my love for Max grows every day, it has been incredibly hard this month.  The reasons may be more life in general – dark walks (cold weather hurts after an hour of walking in the elements), a long commute and work pressures while knowing he is sitting alone, etc…I realize this is the first time I have a dependent and know I overwork about his happiness.

The meds are helping Max in many ways.  However, he still will not allow others to touch him and that remains the constant issue.  He even is getting closer to some dogs.  I try not to think about it, but if no one else work with him, how will I manage this long-term?  I hope to travel, go out and have fun, and move forward with a career without having to run out at 4:30 pm.  Of course, I will continue to do all I can to help him and hope for a gradual trust in others.

Today we went to see Santa.  It was freezing and there were many dogs in line.  He was shaking with fear and, although you were supposed to put your dog on Santa’s sled, I held him.  I am the only on looking happy here in the picture:).  Poor Santa was looking delirious from the cold.  There was another dog, who seemed calm and happy, in front of us. His mom mentioned he had been in a kill shelter and took two years to normalize.  What was interesting to me was the level of terror that overtook this dog in front of us once it was her turn for a picture.   In comparison to the other dogs, when asked to get up with Santa. Her tail went fully under her body (almost to her chin)and she crouched to the ground.  No other dogs getting a picture showed the degree of terror she and Max were showing.  I realize that these rescue dogs will never fully recover.  What they have known may be too brutal and, while they know they are now safe, the slightest trigger may always lead to that almost-hard-to-watch panic attacks / terror response.

img_5019I got a letter from Last Chance rescue that they took the 50 ‘worst’ dogs and the article mentioned he lived in a chicken coop.  I forgot about the coop part of the story.  I try to remember his history as we struggle to socialize and train him.  He sits on command now and will ‘sing’ with me (actually he howls)!  So he is learning and many other things are easier (he will get in the elevator now!).

We hit our important six month anniversary and I pray that in six more months, Max trusts others also.  It is important for his longevity and happiness.

I have never given so much of my own life for anything or anyone.  He is worth every minute, but I still hope for easier days.

Wishing all visitors a joyous holiday full of happiness!

Barkaholic, Sniffaholic and Leafaholic

img_3243Maxwell is a addicted to barking, sniffing and peeing in leaf piles.  I don’t know what we will do when the leaves are gone.  He likes to climb the hills and piles and my role becomes saving him right before a tumble.  I have spent the past 4 weeks watching him sniff and climb each and every pile.

Barking is another issue at home.  Now, with his new anti-anxiety meds kicking in, he barks even more.  Oh boy:(  I always wanted a dog that didn’t bark.  What I didn’t realize is that what you see in the first week isn’t what you get.  He actually is husky and pom and they are both ranked as the top 10 dogs that bark.  I asked the vet behavorist about a muzzle (kind of want to chuckle) for teleconference worries.  She said no way.

As an update, his meds are making a tiny bit of progress.  He is now on a cocktail of meds as we try to move this dog to engage with others.  It is hit or miss in the sense that I haven’t seen consistent behavior changes.  What is happening is more engagement with people, a few sniffs with dogs, a willingness to go down in the elevator (usually that requires picking him up) and a new hilarious thing where he wants to sniff the all 20 doors on my hall every time he gets out of the apartment.  I asked the vet if this could be a way of trying to know others.  She said yes.  He also has gotten mischievous.  He runs away and won’t let me catch him.  Cute at first, annoying over time.  Unfortunately – he is more afraid of cars and walking has been less enjoyable in general.  Between the sniffing for 5 minutes at each stop or the stop and stare rather than walk moments, it is slow-paced and  cold sometimes.  I also am getting so little exercise, that the 2-3 hours of walking was helping me.  2-3 hours of standing isn’t going to help:)

More to come, but he really does get cuter every day.  I suppose that is what every pet owner must say, but it really is true with Maxwell:)  I hope to give him a Boo haircut in the spring – that is my fav style on poms.  He kind of looked more like Boo when I adopted him (see top picture).  I will attach a pic of Boo below in case you aren’t familiar with him (he is the famous pom as shown on the right).  Now Max looks more like the chick on the left.  Isn’t Boo so cute he could pass for a doll?  I love Boo’s haircut and cannot wait to try it on Maxwell!


What is working for Maxwell…

img_4499I have been wanting to share what is working for my little guy.  I have spent a lot of money on things that work and a lot of money on things that don’t work.

What is working:

What is working is noise machines.  They drown out the sounds that scare my pup.  That could be voices in the hall, a trash truck outside, or a dog barking in the distance.  Sadly, they don’t help with opening a can or other kitchen noise.  They still make him back.  I bought two machines.  The new machine – the Sound & Sleep Adaptive noise machine – is super cool.  It adapts to sound and even has a meditate selection.  It was $99.  The other one that I use is the Marpac SleepMate.  It has a real fan and has been on for five months continuously.  I think it is about $50.


Another thing that works well for fearful dogs is, believe it or not, blankets.  I have bought three additional blankets, on top of the Ugg blankets, and he just loves them.  One was a Laura Ashley blanket which is super soft.  Satin or velvet and satin pillows are also a fav for the pampered dog.  Dog steps help, but he won’t use any that make noise and he still uses them at moments of great desire to hang out.  It he is on the fence, the steps will be avoided.  I bought the Amazon top-rated wooden steps/ramp and, sure enough, they were ignored.  They now sit in the closet as I contemplate how to sell them.img_4725


There is more to share, but I will keep you waiting in suspense.  In the meantime, what has been working well, and cannot be purchased, are leaf piles.  Max loves them and spends a lot of time peeing in them, on them and around them.  We will miss them when they are gone.


And tonight we took an extra late walk to see the Supermoon.  I don’t think he noticed it, but I did and will share a picture.  Wishing everyone a great week ahead:)


On point article: Depicting what it is like to adopt a dog from a hoarder

I have been MIA and am sorry about that.  Life, work, election, off and on Maxwell illness (although that is less frequent these days – hooray!)….

I found something everyone should read before or after they adopt a pet from a puppy mill or hoarder… especially after a few years of age.

I have read it a few times.  It hit me to the core as it is so accurate.  Here are the points that resonate:

Q: What’s different in the behavior of dogs… who lived as breeding animals in puppy mills, or in a hoarding environment?

A: Dogs from hoarding environments were dramatically more likely to be fearful of people, of other dogs or just of the world in general. (A terror of new things—and to them, everything is new—is one of the hallmarks of a dog from a hoarding situation.) ….. Many of these dogs also dislike being touched or restrained, but simultaneously show a deep neediness and desire to be near people.

 These results paint a picture of a dog who is not equipped at a basic level to interact normally with the world, and who is desperate to relate to humans but is not quite sure how to go about it. Serpell wonders if these attachment disorders are due to the disruption of the normal environment early in the dogs’ lives, followed by an environment with little to no individual attention.You take them out of that situation,” he says, “and it looks like they hyperattach to the new owner.”

 …the owners of these dogs report decreased trainability, presumably because the dogs avoid interaction.

Regrettably, those who adopted dogs from hoarding situations reported having difficulty finding support in the very difficult task of helping their dogs adjust. One adopter wrote, “There is little to no help available dealing with dogs with such social developmental deprivation. Dealing with physically abused dogs who have a basis of human trust in the beginning is very different than dealing with a neglected-from-birth hoarder dog.

The only thing in the article that doesn’t resemble Maxwell is that it indicates dogs tire of barking in hoarding situations.  Maxwell has a field day with the noise in my building and many have mentioned they can hear him barking.  I am working on that, but he is a quite a vocal guy for only 11 pounds.

I will post tomorrow with what is working.  This article is compelling to me and I had to give it the attention it deserved.

PS – the freckles on his nose are much darker and prominent.  I am still trying to figure out if from the Clostridium, nutrients, aging, etc… They weren’t there when I got the little guy, but his markings everywhere have changed also.img_4684


They ask if my dog is a fox? Maybe he can be one for Halloween!

Max has had a great weekend.  He continues to be doing better GI-wise and started his anti-anxiety meds on Friday.  He also got a haircut in the half the time that it took last time.  The dog groomer, Tina, comes to our home and does an amazing job with him.

Last – we have met some wonderful friends on our walks and in the building.  They seem to care about my little guy and that gives me tremendous hope that we can continue to help him socialize.  The idea of someone spending time with him makes me happy.  And, the idea of actually being able to go out and know that he wouldn’t always be alone brings me joy.

I have some new ‘anxious dog’ tips and tools and will share more in the next blog.  In the meantime, and in recognition of Halloween, I made a collage to reflect Maxwell’s resemblance to a fox.  There is also another picture of him on the trail just because he is so incredibly cute.

Since I adopted Maxwell, I get asked if he is a fox and, for some strange reason, I hear it most often from homeless people.  A group of kids asked if he was a werewolf.  I, of course, said yes.

When I first adopted Maxwell, there was a moment of pause where I thought, ‘could this little guy actually be part-fox?’.

With that, he is skittish like a fox at times.  On our walk this weekend, we actually ran into a lovely fox who ran away quickly.  He was lovely, but their tails are totally different than Max’s pompom tail.

Stay tuned for some exciting ‘taming your fearful dog’ pointers and an update on the benefits of zoloft in mini-canines in my next few posts!



Long month, but on the mend

We found out Maxwell has clostridium at 600 times the normal levels.  No wonder we have been struggling.  Three vets, thousands of dollars and something that is actually treatable.  That is the good part.  He has been on a bitter antibiotic for a week and doing much better.  I hope after  a month of treatment it will be time to focus on behavior.

I think we are out of the woods.

I do think the adapt diffusers are really helping.  They ran out and he was different without them.  More high-strung and edgy.   I recommend them for anxiety.

It is Halloween and he gets super scared of the decorations.  Lovely time in DC though and great for dog walks.


Oh boy – here we go again…

This week started off so well.  We received a car crate for a safe drive from some great friends we met walking.  Monday was a long car trip to work on socialization with the behaviorist.  His GI was trending normal and I was feeling really happy about that.

A few kibbles in the new auto dispenser and a few days later led to the return of the very bad GI.  I came home from work and it was everywhere.  The frequency was every 4 hours at best.  And definitely more lethargic than usual.  I called for antibiotics but the previous vet would only do this with a visit.  I know the drill – come in, check vitals (always fine), see the vet, get the antibiotic and pay $200-300.   As only 12 days since the last visit – quite disconcerting and many vets seem to focus on profit as a driver.  Max got worse and, by Saturday, was really drippy and uncontrollable.  It was hard as I knew another round of GI issues could implicate a more serious illness per the last vet visit.img_4350

I went to a new vet which was a good call. They are doing an ultrasound next week and think it could be another cycle of worms.  They also shared the blood may be due to dehydration in these small dogs.  They gave me a higher dose of antibiotics and other treatment.  He is in great spirits, but still seems somewhat uncomfortable.

He got a ton of attention at the vet today.  I keep trying to tell him that if he was friendly to others, he could be most popular guy around.  He actually sniffed a few folks today which is definitely making progress from a month ago.

I remain hopeful that we find the root cause and get Maxwell healthy.  I want to work on behavior, but that cannot be the priority with the health issues.

On a cuter note, I gave him a new pink spike ball. He acted like he had never seen one before and it occupies him for a few hours.  He has about four of these balls now.  He loves to play – there is never a time he doesn’t respond to the ball.  It is just one of the adorable things I love about this little guy.



Lesson learned: Adopt, then deworm


His stools didn’t show worms or anything worrisome.  The vet mentioned some may not show up in the test.

Had he ever been dewormed, she asked?

No, there was no mention of deworming that I recall, I said…  She asked for his background and I told her 8-9 years was spent in a barn with rats, dead dogs, and little care.  She suggested that deworming would be a good idea.

Since then – he is happier, he is not having any GI issues and I am hopeful.

Other new calming tools in the mix:

  • I ordered an Adaptil plug-in.  It actually seems to make him sleep during the day more soundly.
  • He is using steps to hop on the sofa with me.  I got the foam ones and worried about tripping, but he is just fine.  They are made by Majestic.
  • Nylabone puppy chew ring bone – xs.  The vet said not a great idea, but he loves these possibly even more than his spiky plastic ball.
  • A window bench and steps for him to look out a window (still in progress)
  • Use the Presence app to watch him during the day.  It shows me when he moves and I use an iPad to iPhone view.  This is how I knew something was wrong and what works or is needed.  The only bummer is the audio isn’t working and it would be great to share a hello.
  • The app showed me that while he is feeling better, he is becoming hungry during the day.  Keeps sniffing around and I wish I could get him some food.  Therefore, ordered an auto food dispenser and will report on how it works
  • Click-it Sport harness (still trying this one)
  • Ugg receiving baby blankets (adorable, washable and he loves these)
  • Our 4th cheap rug.  Shag was a mistake as he thinks it is grass.  He is also colorblind so he cannot differentiate the pee pad from the rush.  Couldn’t do the rugs without Amazon Prime – free shipping rocks.
  • Am thinking of another white noise machine.  The first Marpac Sleep-Mate.

Finally, while he has 3 beds, I may look into a new orthopedic bed for him to replace his original cheap-o one.  He looks like he hurts midday by the way he stretches. While his brain is youthful, he is 9 yo and, most likely, is stiff after 9 -10 hours of waiting for me to get home from work.

A dog walker is the goal, but I know that could take many more months.

The next step in our journey is a animal behaviorist.  I am hopeful that we can get this little guy to let others into his world!  Our visit is soon and I hope to help others bypass some of our hurdles and mishaps…

Till next post – wishing you a good weekend!



Curious George (Maxwell) and the Girl with the Yellow Hat

Max is an anxious dog.  I am trying to make him less fearful and less worried.

What shocks me daily on our walks is his adventurous spirit  This little guy wants to see every new street or path available to him.  His mom is a lover of routine.  We often end up in a stand off at each intersection with Max going  farther and farther away from home.  He also prefers the less upscale where I want to walk.  I love the large, manicured homes, but Max is focused on new and different as the #1 priority.

Curious Max and the Man in the Yellow Hat


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He also wants to follow the no-sidewalk, tricky to navigate way, much to my chagrin.  This often leads to carrying my tired little pup home.

The issues that are hardest for me are his lack of social interaction. That leaves us with no dog walker, pet sitter and no relief for me.  His adoption information said he loves dogs, but I haven’t seen that side of Max.  He was protecting his brother at the event, but he is aloof with most everyone.  Max is 9 years old yet he can walk for 3 hours and play for extended time periods each day.  Our morning routine now resembles this:

  • Wake up – 4:00 am
  • First Walk – 4:30
  • Breakfast – until 5:45
  • Second walk – 6:00 – 6:45

I am grumpy and am losing steam by 8pm some days.  If we could get a walker, I wouldn’t feel the one hour morning walk is so critical.  I remain hopeful we can find a way to get him more open to engaging with dogs or humans.  I want him to have friends and hope we can find a way.