I Support Pet Adoption

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Happy Ending Project: Max

Another in a series of stories written by volunteers about dogs they helped save. These stories illustrate the wonderful outcomes that are produced through our volunteers' commitment to saving these animals. I hope you will find them inspiring!


Friends to the Max by Kara Steiniger

It was by accident that I met Max at the West LA shelter one day when I went to visit another dog. The dog I intended to see was an older Australian Shepherd mix. My older dog, who dislikes most dogs, has a fondness for Aussies, so I keep an eye out for them in the shelter. Oso, the Aussie, happened to be at a mobile adoption that day so I had some extra time to take another dog for a walk. Max was just across the way from Oso’s kennel snoozing in the sunshine. According to his card he was ten years old and he'd already been at the shelter for two months. He got up and walked over to say, “Hi.”

When I walked him, he had the energy of a young dog. What caught my attention was the way he looked up into the trees. He seemed to be observing and appreciating the sights and smells, and especially the trees.

After my first encounter, I continued to visit and walk Max, and had even contacted a few rescues about him. I arranged with the shelter to show him at a mobile adoption event. At that adoption my friend Patty met Max and loved him too. Patty and the others who met Max did not believe he could be 10 years old. He had the teeth of a 4-year-old and seemed to be at most 6. Patty and I promised Max that we would not let him die at the shelter and that promise took hold.

We networked Max and raised money for a rescue to take him. Through networking, we met Laurie who had noticed Max on the shelter's website. She also wanted him safe. We had a team!

After about a month of networking and fundraising, with Max's time growing scarily short, an out-of-town rescue stepped up to take him. We were thrilled and relieved. Max was neutered and boarded until the rescue was ready for him. Then Patty and I drove him to the rescue over 100 miles away from Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, after a few days at the rescue, another dog provoked a fight with Max. He was off-leash at the time and fought back, injuring the other dog. The rescue decided that they could no longer keep Max.

Max rode a rescue train consisting of a couple connecting rides back to L.A. He went to stay in a great boarding facility where he would get time out of the kennel each day. “Team Max” members visited him at the boarding facility and took him to adoption events that a generous rescue allowed us to attend. Max was made the star of a youtube.com video, and his picture was posted on several rescue websites. We then had a garage sale to raise funds for his boarding and resumed networking online.

Since Max was involved in a fight at his initial rescue, and we had observed that he liked to chase cats, we were cautious about placing him with other animals. We sought to place Max with a person who would understand these issues and be able to work with him around other dogs and preferably not have a cat! I was concerned about showing Max, because in my experience he was an independent type and did not initially shower people with love and affection.

About six weeks after Max’s return to L.A., Bill spotted him on Karma Rescue’s website and I received an inquiry. We arranged to meet at the boarding facility. Max took to Bill immediately. We sat on the ground and Max would snuggle right up next to Bill. He rolled over for belly scratches. So much for my concerns about that! Intermittently, Max would get up and take his bone to chew for awhile. Bill liked this combination of sweetness and independence.

Bill’s application to adopt Max, as well as the home check, revealed a great situation for our Max. An experienced dog person, Bill works out of his home so Max has a full-time buddy.

Max at home chewing on his favorite bone!

At last report, Max has two dog friends with whom he gets to visit regularly. He adores young children and goes for regular walks on the beach where he likes to run around. Bill asked me if I'd noticed what Max does when he walks under trees -- I knew right then that Max had found his perfect home.

P.S. Oso the Aussie was adopted too!

To create your own happy ending story visit your local shelter!
LA Animal Services

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