Dear Maximus,

I had to say my final goodbye to you 1 month ago, and the impact you had on my life and everybody who has met you is amazing. You have made many people who were afraid of pitbulls see that Pitbulls are not as bad as everyone says they are. I remember the first day getting you, my boss at work needed to get rid of a dog to a good home because her boyfriend’s nephew was moving and couldn’t take you. I immediately said I will take you with out even meeting you. When I went to her house after work and met you for the first time you ran and jumped up on me and gave me kisses all over my face, and from that point on we were inseparable. When I got you, you were already 4 yrs old and I had you for 11. That was the greatest 11 yrs of my life! You are truly missed and everyday I think about you. I find myself at night still making sure that you are covered and when I realize you are not there is saddens me.

I have questioned myself on if I was a good owner and if I took care of you properly. I hope I did, I hope you never felt unwanted or unloved. That was and never was the case. You were very much part of the family. When you would sleep on the bed with me, it had two reasons, 1. I hated the way you would give me those sad eyes, and I know you used it to your advantage. Because you would get anything you want. 2. Before I use to have nightmares every night and I didn’t when you were there. The nightmares have come back. There is so much I wanted to say to you, but when you got sick it was really quick. I remember the last night we spent together I held you the closest I ever have and you put your head on my shoulder and we didn’t move the whole night. Was that your way of saying that you knew it was time? I want you to know that I plan on rescuing two pitbulls, and it is not to replace you because that will never happen, but it is for me to get two dogs who have not known what it is like to be loved and wanted. Again I am not replacing you but it makes me very sad to know that there are dogs that do have no clue what a treat is, or what it is like to hugged and petted in a loving way. I know that you understand. Give Grandpa a hard time up there, he will enjoy it and probably give it back to you. Aunt Katie will be up there as well as everybody else so you should have plenty of people to play fetch with. We will be together again.
p.s. I still have the scar on my foot from when you dropped the cinder block on it, I couldn’t be mad. I said drop and it you did.

Max thank you for every wonderful memory.

Saving a Life

To my dear friend,
I have told the story of our struggle a million times to others, but you should know it. It may help explain why there are some days I cannot let you go. You are so understanding on those days and you seem to realize I just need a quiet moment with you to fully accept you are here and you are mine.

We both have paths that have left us with scars. I am an over-achiever who suffers with mild depression that only three people know of. A few months before we met I had decided to give up a career in a field I had trained for for four years and follow my passion, much to the initial chagrin of my family. I was moving to a strange city on my own with no friends or family nearby. I was terrified. So against my better judgment and the advice of others I began to look for a dog. At first I looked at bassets, but they were all in rescues and cost hundreds. Eventually I examined many breeds and started to form my picture perfect dog in my head. A dog who wants to cuddle, to sit at my feet while I work, who I could let off leash and would stay by my side. A best friend. A protector. I knew I needed a mutt.
I began to scour petfinder.com and craigslist. I wanted to adopt a dog in need. I visited all the shelters in town and met many dogs, but never made a connection. Until I read a post on Craigslist asking that people adopt from a county shelter an hour north. It was overcrowded/underfunded and they were having to put a lot of their dogs down. The dogs were ten dollars and besides a rabies shot had nothing done for them. I looked them up on petharbor and I saw you for the first time. I had seen a hundred pitbulls and pit mixes in other shelters and online. But your sweet labrador eyes looked so sad. I convinced a friend to make a day of it and we would just look. after driving an hour we were told because of construction the shelter would not open for another four hours. We almost went back home. But we instead visited another shelter and came back just to find you were not there. I asked when you had been adopted and they said you were at a special adoption event across town that closed in thirty minutes. We raced over and I finally met you. You seemed confused, but strong and sweet and one of the best looking dogs I had ever seen! You were the only dog not adopted. I asked how long I could wait to take adopt as I was a few days from my move and was informed this was your last week before being euthanized. I whipped out my checkbook ad within minutes you were calmly in the backseat of my car and had a new name. Apollo, in hopes that someone just hearing your name wouldn’t challenge you for my purse.

We struggled together those first few months. You were sick with kennel cough, a food allergy, and a skin infection.You constantly itched and were losing fur all over your legs and ears. I was giving you six pills a day and had to work from home because you broke out of your crate. You didn’t know then that nothing on this planet would stop me from coming home to you each night. You went from a ten dollar dog to a thousand dollar dog. My parents begged me to give you up. I was so worried I had failed you.
But just like all the experts said: with love, routine, socialization, and patience you got better! You are so confident now! You play with other dogs politely, you are on a premium food that makes your coat shine and grow healthy. You play and get into cupboards and bark when you hear a stranger at the door. You need to be close to me, you love to sit at my feet. When I let you off leash you say right by my side. ‘You help me focus on someone else and it has made my depression almost non-existent. I am in bed now with you at my feet. I love you so much. Everything was worth it. Everyone else wanted to give up on you, they say I saved you. But when I think of living without you I shudder. Here’s to many many more years together my dear friend and remember we have already weathered a storm, we can do anything together.

Dear Miss Zora,

My dearest Zora… where to begin?

You entered our home as a clumsy, little fur ball whose legs were too long for your body. I loved you instantly. Even as a puppy, you are such a good dog, minus the fact that my armchair and ottoman are missing some corners. You sleep in our bedroom every night without incident, patiently spend time in your crate while we’re away at work and spend hours staring our the window to make sure the house is safe.

Thank you for making sure I’m protected at night while daddy is away for work or hunting. I no longer have to worry about all that goes bump in the night because I know you’ll probably lick ‘em to death. I love being woken up to your face on my pillow every morning, even when it’s before my alarm goes off. I love your kisses and hugs and when you spoon with me during TV time.

Adopting you during our first year of marriage is great practice for kids someday. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a tad OCD. Toys and blankets all over the floor from one end of the house to the other tests my patience sometimes. Just because I pick up a toy and bring it to your basket, doesn’t mean you immediately have to get it back out. Just sayin’. Even your nose artwork on my sliding door, my chewed up underwear and shredded fleece blankets are constant reminders that you’re so very special to me.

I don’t know what I would do without you. I’d probably still be talking to myself in an empty house, making excuses why I shouldn’t go out and run and feeling like something was missing in my life. I love you so much and can’t imagine a life without you and your crazy ears.

I may have rescued you, but you rescued me as well.