The Gentle and Loyal Maximus
by Heidi and Chad Estes
Maximus was our first Newfie. We got him at three months old. He was the puppy of the litter that you could NOT get out of the water trough! When we went to pick out a puppy from our freind's litter, he ran strait to the water, sat down, and stayed put, all the while looking as if he were in total bliss! My husband Chad said "He is the one"! He stole our heart immediately! Our beloved Akita, Hoover (who passed nearly three years ago, at age 13), took Max under his wing from the beginning. Even though Hoover was no longer a "puppy", Max brought out Hoover's younger side. Max was so playful, and just the right amount of mischeviousness. Everyone and every animal that met him loved him! When Max was a little over two, we got our second Newfie/third dog. An all black, who was three months old, that we named Rugby. Max immediately had a best bud. (Hoover the Akita wasn't as thrilled, but tolerated him anyway.) Max and Rugby were so much fun! When we would have them near water they went crazy, and we couldn't keep them out of it, even puddles. Max was such a graceful swimmer, while Rugby was a bit slower at finding his "gracefulness" while in the water. They were the same way in the snow! They were contagious when we were out with them! My husband and I would act as child-like happy and as silly as they did. We all spent many happy years together.
In April of this year, 2013, Max started limping on his front right leg. Wasn't too severe at first, with no obvious signs of injury or swelling. He was over ten years old and had never had any joint problems before, even at his major size of 170 lbs., a big, beautiful Landseir. Within a week or two the limp wasn't getting any better, so we him in for an xray. We were so mortified with what it showed. His shoulder area was nearlu whited out on the film. The vet informed us that he had pretty severe bone cancer, that it was "common in large breeds", and that he could have anywhere from a month to even six or more to live. Keeping him comfortable was the goal until then, we all agreed. That was a Saturday afternoon. We put him on an anti-inflammatory and an as needed pain med, with fairly decent results. Max was comfortable and still went on walks eagerly. Four weeks to the day from his xray, on a Saturday evening, he seemed a bit strange, almost like all of a sudden he didn't know where he was at. My husband and I called him to go outside to relieve himself and it was the most difficult time he had ever had getting from his bed to his feet. Very unsteady, slow. Once outside, he still seemed disoriented, not sure what to do. When we tried to get him to come inside, he couldn't get up the two steps from the garage into the mudroom. We knew it was time. We had agreed we would not let him suffer, and that he would "go" with as much dignity as possible. He was such an amazing friend, and a much loved part of our family. This was going to be so very to do. To say goodbye to Our Maximus....
(Hoover had passed over two years prior to this.) when we took Maximus to the vet's office that evening, all of us went. My husband Chad, our two other dogs Rugby the Newfie and MooMoo (a small ten lb mix we had rescued a yr previously), and myself. My husband was so distraught. Max was his best friend; he was so very attached to Max from day one. As was I, but their bond was different, one I hoped Chad would be able to share again someday with an amazing animal. I do feel that all of us,Max included, knew what was about to happen. Rugby, who was going to be so lost without Max, acted strange, already looking lost (he wouldn't leave Max's side, ever over the years). The vet was closed so there was only the vet, her assistant, and us there.we all went into the room, our other dogs included, and she gave us some time alone with Max. We all layer down on the floor next to him, rubbing and hugging on him, wiping our many tears as well. max seemed so very tired then, and still, like the honorable,loyal dog that he was, almost seemed to be telling us that it was going to be okay. That he was ready. That we were doing right by him. When our vet came in, we held him and talked to him, while she injected the shot. He went to sleep just as gracefully and as peacefully as he lived every day of his life.......
Needless to say, Rugby has had a very hard time adjusting to being without his Max by his side. Not as playful, even a bit sad it seems. But we will continue to appreciate every day with our other two dogs and our cats, and give them the best lives possible.
Maximus, thank you for enriching our lives. You were such a gift, and we were very thankful to be your family. You were more than a best friend, so much more. You will always be loved, and remembered, and honored, and missed! If there is a Heaven, I hope so much we can all run and play and laugh together again someday. We love you, OUR GENTLE GIANT!