Max 7yr yellow Lab
Background Story in Max’s Words:
Hi, my name is Max. Here’s a little background about me – and the story of how I came to be a Brookline Labrador Retriever foster dog living with Eileen Boyle, her daughter Mallory, Mallory’s boyfriend Connor, three dogs named May, Mitzi & Daisy, and a cat named Lilly.
I was born 7 years ago (though I’m not sure of my exact birth date) in Lancaster County, PA. Yup, that’s right, I am just one of an estimated 2 million dogs bred in puppy mills each year. I’m sure you can understand why I was very happy when a nice young woman bought me for $200 and brought me to south Jersey to give me as a gift to her father. She thought I would make a great companion for him – and despite her good intentions and my best efforts to be a good dog – they didn’t really understand that what I wanted and needed most was a lot of guidance, attention and patience!
I can’t tell you a lot about the next 7 years of my life, but I remember I was often lonely, confused and stressed. My owner was in his late 60’s, not in the best of health from poorly managed diabetes, and something called a “hoarder.” I was often left alone, not regularly taken outside to relieve myself, and rarely exercised. Even though he took me for walks from time-to-time, I never got any instructions about walking on a leash, so I pulled him any which way I wanted to go! And I wasn’t happy using the house as my bathroom; I just didn’t have a choice because I couldn’t get outside.
Sometimes my owner would get so sick from his diabetes that people called paramedics would barge into the house. They would put me in the bathroom all alone while they made all kinds of noise. I would bark a lot, but they ignored me. Those were especially scary times.
On Wednesday, October 25, 2017 a man came to the house – he was called a sheriff – and eventually my owner’s 3 adult children also came. They helped my owner, who was being evicted, move his things out. I was tied to a pole in the dirt and gravel backyard while things were carried out and loaded onto a truck. It was a hot, sunny day and though I tried to be good, I was scared and thirsty so I jumped and barked a lot. Everyone still ignored me.
Then a friend of one of my owner’s sons who was there to help with the move, came over to greet me. From his scent I remembered meeting him before, and since he was nice to me back then, I got excited. He was nice this time, too – he petted me, tried to calm me down, and got me some water, but I was just too excited. Then the guy – I heard him called Connor – offered to take me for a walk! Oh happy day! I was delirious – and though I really tried to behave, and Connor is young and strong, I pulled him like crazy down the street. He was still very nice to me, didn’t yell, and seemed to really like me.
Shortly after my walk with Connor, he tied me back on the pole and left. I was so sad when he left! Little did I know he’d be back in a short while with a woman – and that my life would change dramatically!
When Connor and the woman arrived, I couldn’t contain my joy! Despite Connor’s attempts to get me to stop jumping up and barking, I was out of control. The woman didn’t come too near me at first; instead she spoke with the owner and his daughter. I heard my name mentioned a few times, but I was mostly focused on Connor. Later, the woman came over to greet me briefly, but I was just too excited and kept trying to jump up all over her. After the woman and Connor left, my owner’s daughter and son drove me to a place where I was briefly examined and given shots. (I loved the car!) Afterwards, they drove me to another new place – when I saw Connor come out with the same woman from earlier I got super excited again. Little did I know that this would be my foster home, and that Connor, this woman, and her dogs would teach me all kinds of things in the weeks to come!
That was a big day for me! My excitement level was through the roof – and despite my undesirable behavior – these people decided to give me a chance. A lot has happened since then, and I know my journey has really just begun, but I am ready, willing, and able to prove to a person or a family that I am a good dog. No, correction – that I am a GREAT dog! Just give me a chance! You won’t be sorry!
Update in Max’s Words:
My foster mom, Eileen, says that I’m a big bundle of love and energy. I guess she really likes me, because she smiles and laughs a lot when I’m around. And I like her, too! (Connor, however, is my favorite human!)
Eileen, Connor and Mallory have “house” rules that we dogs are expected to follow. When I mess up (mostly my nose gets me in trouble) and get into a trashcan or get too excited about something, they scold me with “No, Max!” But most of the time they give me very short, specific commands like “Leave it, Max!” or “Settle, Max.” This way I know what they want me to do! Connor just has to snap his fingers and point down for me to know he wants me to sit down. And Eileen has perfected the “cold shoulder” where she turns her back, folds her arms across her chest, and waits for me to chill. Mallory worked magic teaching me to walk on a leash in just a couple days!
Eileen says that I am smart dog. Most of all, I like making my people happy and proud of me, and so I try very hard to learn what is expected. At first, it was very hard because I will admit I had no manners at all…not in the human world or in the dog world. Though I am not a super large dog, I am very strong, so it can be challenging to handle me when I am excited. They have been patient and consistent with me; in the beginning, getting my attention and rewarding me with a small treat (piece of kibble) whenever I behaved well. Food rewards are still my favorite way to be encouraged or recognized, but I am beginning to truly appreciate pats on the head and playing games, too.
Since arriving at Eileen’s, a LOT has happened! For the first few days I was in a crate most of the time, and I didn’t like that very much at all. Eventually however, I learned to relax and chill in the crate – and was only put there when nobody was home or at night to sleep.
However, since I have proven myself to be completely housebroken (not one accident or marking in the house since I got here) and have not destroyed anyone’s belongings, I’m now allowed to sleep on the couch in Eileen’s bedroom, or sometimes even sleep on her bed, depending on whether her other dogs get there first!
Two days after arriving I was neutered, had a (benign) lump on my back removed, was micro-chipped, tested for heartworm which was negative, got my first flea & tick treatment, and a chewable Heartgard treatment, so I am fully vetted at this point.
I eat two meals a day (and I’m very proud to tell you that I am not food aggressive in any way with adult humans or Eileen’s dogs – however I haven’t been around kids or babies), love going on walks (short or long), walk extremely well now on a leash with a Martingale collar, enjoy playing with dog toys and am learning the command “Release” and also learning to “Fetch” with a ball.
I know and perform basic commands including “sit,” “down,” and “stay.” I’m getting better and better at “off,” “gentle,” and “settle” – though these are a lot tougher for me since I still need help controlling my energy. To get my attention when my energy ramps up so high that just voice and/or facial expression fails, my foster mom uses a squirt water bottle. Most of the time now, I just see that water bottle and I get off or settle down – I really don’t like getting squirted!
Eileen also says that for a dog that was rarely around other dogs, I have adapted amazingly fast to her pack. She has 3 female dogs – May is a 10 yr. old 70 lb Rhodesian Ridgeback-Rottweiler mix, Mitzi is a 10 yr. old 33 lb. Cattle Dog-Terrier Mix, and Daisy is a 4 yr. old 12 lb. Papillon-Yorkie mix. Her pack is well-balance, trained, and they’ve been very welcoming, yet firm with me, too! Eileen watches us very closely, especially in those first few weeks when my social manners were lacking and I wasn’t neutered.
Something that might surprise you about me since I’m such a strong, big boy – I really love snuggling under blankets, cuddling up with human(s) and even other dog(s), getting my belly rubbed, having my ears scratched, and in general – being given affection. I have a hard time relaxing, so a gentle, steady belly rub or all-over gentle massage is like heaven!
I’m looking for a human(s) – preferably adult(s) – though I think mature teens in the home would be fine, too – who will give me plenty of affection and attention, but also provide me with all-important structure, discipline, and boundaries. I love taking walks, riding in the car, playing ball, learning new tricks, being challenged in general. Don’t think I always have to be on the go however – Eileen works from home and when she’s working, us dogs are napping for hours at a time.
I’m a smart guy with plenty of life left in me – and nothing makes me happier than having a chance to please the one(s) who love me by being by their side, following their commands, and making them proud of me! I can’t wait to meet my furever people(s)!
MAX IS AVAILABLE