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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Max's big heart

We first met Max, a big-hearted dog from South Africa, a few years ago. He heard, through the grapevine, that hiking in Colorado was lots of fun. So, we invited him join us on a pack hike in the Rocky Mountains. It was a long flight for Max but he thought that it was worth it. Below, I'm flanked by our dog S (yellow lab). Max, and K. We were all rejoicing being together in the high mountains. For Max, it was the first time ever!
A couple of years later, we remembered Max's impeccable manners and morals when we had a high-spirited black lab puppy, R, join our pack. We thought that Max would be the perfect mentor, by teaching R to use his sparkle of high voltage energy for good rather than mayhem. After all, Max has a huge heart and loves a good joke - just like R.

Soon after R, the itsy-bitsy and wild puppy arrived, we tried to capture a photo of our three labs. But, R wouldn't stay still for us! So, we e-mailed Max for advice. But, despite detailed instructions from the sage Golden Retriever, we still couldn't keep R from breaking into unruly playing whenever we tried to take a photo. Our yellow lab, S, would flee the room during these photo opportunities because R became so wild!
So, we invited Max to visit us and to teach R how to behave. Just after Max arrived, we captured this photo! Max's good influence was almost instantaneous. (Notice that Max was actually lying on R's legs to hold him in place...).
Look at the intensity in R's face. He tried so hard to live up to Max's expectations and succeeded!

Later during Max's mentoring visit, we wanted to have the whole pack sit together for a group portrait. Max whispered jokes into R's ear (notice how R's ear is cocked toward Max to hear his whispers) to keep him entertained for long enough for this photo!
Later in Max's visit, he worked with R on good kitchen behavior. He taught R to curl up next to our AGA stove, always a warm spot, when in the kitchen. This spot still ranks as one of R's favorites in the house, thanks to Max's influence. It's hard to tell from this photo but Max is also blocking R from stealing steak from the counter!
A few months ago, we invited Max back to see for himself how well he'd taught young R (he used frequent flyer miles - from his previous travels - for this visit). Although R is still rambunctious, R learned to sit in a dignified way for a camera and act like a gentleman from Max.

Most of all, R gained a heart as big as Max's by emulating Max. He showers everyone, human and dog alike, with love. I think that's the most Max-like characteristic R learned from his wonderful mentor.
As you can tell, most of this story is a fantasy of what life might have been like if Max had actually bounded onto an airplane to come visit my pack. The true part is Max's loving, happy, and big heart.

Now, I'm very sad that Max is sick. This tribute to him is one of many in the dog blog world today. Please keep thinking of Max and his wonderful family as they lovingly celebrate each day together.


  1. Most wonderful visits you have had from Max! Great to see the entire pack!!! Big smiles over here.
    Happy Valentine's Day friends.

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  2. What a GReat post for part of Max's Tour!

    This is truly the essence of why Max has touched all of us so deeply!

    Thanks for being a part of it!

  3. I think toasting Max has been one of the most fun things I have ever been a part of on the 'net.

    I can only imagine how much fun this will be for his family to read.


  4. Twooly a wondewful post celebwating max's big heawt.
    Youw bootiful labs hve leawned so well..I can see theiw heawt in theiw eyes
    Happy Valentine's day..
    love and smoochie kisses

  5. Glad to see he escaped my header for a romp with your pack! :)

  6. What a beautiful post and truly to make smiles in hearts.

  7. Looks like he had a wonderful visit!

    Emma Rose

  8. What wonderful visits Max has made over the wonder your dynamic duo are so level headed and well behaved :)

    Thanks for sending Max our way for a tiny visit to say hello before he continued on his World Tour!

    Happy Monkaversary to all,

  9. More snowy adventures for Max! We just know he loved his day with you guys!
    Happy Valentine's day to all of you!

    Love ya lots
    Maggie and Mitch

  10. how wonderful!! i'm sure Carly will get a huge smile from this post!!!! we love Max too and everyday we hope is a good one for our friends in SA!
    cute puppy pics!

  11. Dearest KB


    I am so very humbled by all that is happening in the blog-world today! It's been an overwhelming full of the love chorus echoing around the world.

    I am so touched by the first picture...
    Firstly we have got to see a "mom & me" special!
    Secondly...Max is without a lead...something that I wish he'd had more of in his life. It gives me an essence of what I really wanted for him (but never go to achieve)- to be a dog in an environment where he could explore and enjoy the beauty of our wonderful world.
    Thirdly...he's been depicted with YOU...a true ICON in the dog training arena. YOU understand these animals so amazingly - demonstrated in your teachings in each of your own beautiful posts!

    But overall, I am so touched by your post today...I am quite speechless in fact!
    Your dogs (K, R and S) and YOU are examples of the love between humans and canines which waits to be embraced. Only few ever achieve that!

    Thank you again, KB...for your love, encouragement and confidence in me to do the right thing for my Max.

    With love
    (ps You are stop No "19" on this incredible day!)

  12. Woo - what a fantastic trip for Max. We are really enjoying watching all of his stops.

  13. Love this KB ! Happy Valentines to you and the labs! xoxo

  14. What a great idea for bloggers to give their support to Max and his family in this way!

  15. That Max is sure getting around! I'm regretting that I don't have Photoshop skills at all!

  16. Oh what a great post! I have no doubt that Max has been a superb mentor for R - that is definitely the sort of thing Max would do!!! Your story and pictures are so terrific - Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!
    Big Hugs and Love xoxoxoxo

  17. Happy Valentine Day to your Family and also to big-hearted Max. I visited his blog for the first time today. Your story about his mentoring is one my Grandchildren would also love! (Hint...Hint!)

  18. What a beautiful post, and a lovely celebration of all that is outstanding about the Blogosphere!

  19. Looks like Max a wonderful time w/ you and the pups!
    I know he feels the love from all over the world!

  20. What a beautiful fantasy!!! We know that if Max had really come to visit, you all would have come away with all this post shares and much more. He is such a wonderful pup. Thanks for sharing this experience with us.

    Happy Valentine's Day.

    Woos, Phantom and Thunder

  21. Hi dear NEW friends!!!!
    Nice to meet you thanks to MAx!!!
    what a wonderful post....
    How much we would love MAx was able to come here and visit us really!!!
    But through your blog and all the other blogs seems like he's here and all over the world....
    what a great power have love!!!!
    Thanks for sharing with us your special memories with him!!!

    Happy Valentine's day!!!!

    Sweet kisses and licks

  22. As I have traveled through the universe today reading about Maxdog, my eyes haven't been very dry. Part of my tears are for Maxdog and his mom but another for all of us and how special we can be when called to uplift one of our own.

    Happy Valentine's Day. Wishing you a slice of all that this world has to offer, spread generously with a thick layer of l♥ve.

  23. Oh, Caryl, I can only imagine how these tributes to Max are touching you and making his journey less painful...............for anyone who scoffs at internet relationships, a peek at Max's loving impact on so many of us should be examined ........

    More happy days to all of you !

  24. I can't believe S came by to visit too! What a grrreat idea. I think this was part of our point, but I missed it and you didn't. You're awesome KB. I'm having an I love the world kind of day and it's all because of the Max Tour.
    Hope you have a fabulous pain-free Valentine's day doing whatever makes you happy

  25. Hi KB, This was such a special tribute to Max; I hadn't read his blog before but did and cried because it reminded me of our Sadie that we lost Christmas night. I also watched Marley and Me this weekend and cried through the end.
    Thank you for sharing and always bringing a positive view to the mountains and the wildlife.
    Hugs and hope you are driving soon.

  26. Oh My DAWG. the photo of max sitting on R's paws to keep him down, cracked me UP! i love it. R learned from the BEST!

    wild dingo


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