It’s been a while since I wrote anything about our ginormous golden, Max. We’ve had him 15 months now and I can’t say enough wonderful things about him.
So this week, when we got back from The Dirty Dog Spa, I told him it was time for another photo shoot. Max does not like photo-shoots. Consequently I have to take a pile of images just so I can catch something where he is maybe not looking away, yawning or – better yet – rolling his eyes.
He is so very gentle, so completely devoted, and so obedient (other than his dogged belief that every delivery truck is there to give him a free joy-ride if only he can jump in); but he simply will not cooperate with the camera.
It is amazing how completely unique each of our dogs has been. The other hard to miss fact about them is that they are progressively getting bigger!
Mozart (25-30-pounds) came to us in 1993. He was literally a throw-away, and we didn’t know he was a Bichon until after we took him to the vet and then the groomers.
Moe followed the children home from school one day and was so completely filthy and uncared for we had no clue what he was. We eventually found the owner, who said she’d kept him locked in her back garden for two years (with two aggressive Chow Chows). Her daughter rescued him after she witnessed him literally thrown from a moving van at a gas station.
So we took him in and, from Day One, Moe was over-the-top grateful that we had saved him and wanted to love him. He lived to be – best guess – sixteen, hanging on by sheer force of will because he loved me so much.
Moe was a great dog, feisty and protective but sweet as could be. He became best friends with our panther-cat, Darth Maul, and toward the end of his life they would both walk the neighborhood with me before bedtime, a ritual Darth insisted we continue long after Moe was gone.
My “goodbye” column when Moe died garnered more fan mail than anything else I ever wrote over a decade as a Tribune columnist. We thought he was our only dog but then…
Guess what I have in the car?
But then one day in 2006 Rebekah came home with Scout. Scout was what I’d call a “natural” Labradoodle, meaning one neighbor’s Standard Poodle got out and got happy with the Black Lab next door.
I have never known a more spectacularly goofy dog. Scout was all personality. Some days she was 100% Labrador with all the dignified demeanor you would expect. Then once in a while she would go all French Poodle on us. “I’m a Poodle, you know, today I plan to be contrary and oblique…”
Mostly, though, she was hybrid of love, fun, silliness, devotion, and a quirky intelligence that got her into so much trouble. She liked to steal Rebekah’s purse, unzip the opening, then carefully place the entire contents – undamaged – in strategic places around the house.
Once, Scout unzipped our son Andrew’s suitcase, opened it, then unzipped an inner compartment before removing a box of eight espresso shot Italian chocolates. She ate them all, and if you think a Labradoodle is naturally hyper then try to imagine one that has just ingested eight shots of espresso!
I may have walked Scout, fed her, and taken her to the vet, but she was absolutely Rebekah’s dog.
When Scout passed away in 2019 we talked a lot about our future with pets and decided she was probably our last one. We wanted to be free to travel, take long day trips, and buy nice furniture we wouldn’t have to dog-proof!
But then we met Mr. Max, who at six years of age found himself in need of a new home. He looked at me with those huge, gentle, bottomless eyes and we just knew.
Max. like I said, is a good dog. And he is huge. Moe was around 30-pounds, Scout was 70, then when he came home Max weighed in around 100.
I didn’t know I was doing a dog-review today, but there it is! Enjoy the photos and – this is important – love and care for all God’s creatures. Peace – DEREK