Saturday, February 28, 2009

Maxxism- The Reluctant Owner of a Lab

In August of 2007 I had my own apartment. In my apartment I had this insane roommate who didn't sleep in her own room because she couldn't get to her bed (complete honest truth). In my own room I shared my space with a guniea pig named Bostwick. He was the sweetest little rodent boy and, of my 3 guniea pigs, my first boy. I came to find out that boys have a lot of health issue because, well, the sit in a cage, sometimes in their own filth, with their junk just sitting there out in the open. I had to have Bostwick shaved... down there... twice and then the third time it was really bad. He ended up having a bladder infection. I took him to the vet and paid a ton of money, money I had saved up to attened the wedding of a dear friend of mine that was several hours away and had to miss because of this vet visit. 3 weeks later he died. He was the first guniea pig I didn't get to hold as they passed I just found him one morning.

Soon afterwards I started thinking about my next guniea pig and then I realized I was living on my own... I wasn't limited to a pet my parents approved of I could get whatever I wanted. So I chose a dog. The dog had to be small, under 20lbs, which was tough for me since I grew up with Doberman Pinschers and a father who, after seeing someone walking a small dog, would say "Look Chelsea! Other people are walking their rodents why don't you walk yours!" I ended up going to see a set of Manchester Terriers, male and female, who weighed around 10lbs and a few days later went home with the female who was so skinny you could see the bones in her tail. That little pup became my Delilah Dee whom I dote on too much. That was in September of '07.

When I met my boyfriend in November of '07 he had just bought a house the same month I got my little Delilah (who, once properly fed, now weighs 15lbs). He had a friend renting out his basement and a huge back yard that was missing but one thing... a puppy. I don't think Jason was very serious about getting a dog but, as he tells it to me, his roommate really wanted a dog and was strongly encouraging him to get one. I, being the planner I am in my total chaos, was thinking long-term if I were to move in was the house big enough for Jason and I and 2 dogs? I came pre-packaged with a dog and though I wasn't serious about moving in with him 2 months into the relationship I was still thinking about how it might work.

A friend of Jasons, a co-worker named Amy, has a grand passion for dogs. In fact, she has four dogs... 5 maybe if Rocky never got adopted... at the time though she had 4 dogs and couldn't keep any more so when someone she knew found a Lab puppy wandering I-70 that puppy was promptly given to her to find a home. Amy's house is sort of the foster home of lost dogs and almost anyone who works for their company that has a dog has a dog Amy provided them. This not so little 4 month old puppy was put in 2 homes before he was given back to Amy and she attempted to force him upon Jason. I was against the dog... Jason's house is TINY and a lab would be too big. Plus I had never liked labs. Maybe it's because growing up a friend of the family had a Golden Retriever who was the most annoying dog in the world and I had such a bad taste any kind of Retriever was on my no list. They slobber, they were clumsy, too hyperactive and had long fur. I grew up with Dobes who were graceful dogs and hygenially easy to take care of. As long as you fed them, walked them and played with them ever so often they were very content beings. I was just learning how to care for a dog that looked JUST like a shrunken dobe with 5 times the energy but three times the snuggle factor and equal the overall matienence I wasn't prepared to even date a man who had a lab.

But Amy, a former saleswoman for the company, was sneaky. She brought the dog, who she named Max, over for a visit. Jason sent me a text at work saying Amy and the puppy were coming over. I cautioned him to not get the dog, to think about it, and he said that was the plan. He wouldn't make any decisions that day he was just meeting the dog. After I got off work I went over to his place where Amy, Jason and Jason's roommate, Robert and Robert's girlfriend Anna were all gathered with this HUGE yellow puppy. Soon after I got there Amy went to leave and said she would be by later with a kennel Jason could use and I was in shock.

He got the dog.

And that dog was the source of many fights.

He was always EVERYWHERE and Jason could no longer come over to my place because the dog had been in the kennel all day and when I was over the dog, which Jason does not believe in changing an animals name even if he had only had the name for a week but did change the spelling to Maxx (the extra "x" made him more EXTREME!) was always jumping on us and chewing on everything. EVERYTHING.

Fast forward to August of 2008. Robert and Anna had decided they wanted to move in together and Jason thought it was the time for me to move in. I had brought my little Baby D over several times so she could get to know Maxx since this day might come. She did not like him. Right after Jason and I started dating I moved back in with my parents and Delilah became accustomed to housemates that were a little more... refined. Maverick and Jasmine my parents Dobes are called. They would play with her but were mostly intolerant of her puppy ways and she made a sport out of annoying them and aggravating them to chase her. Maxx made a sport of pummeling anything that moved and chewing on anything that didn't. Delilah was never safe except wedged between the couch and a wall where she would growl and bark at him incesently.

Not only did Delilah not like him but he annoyed me to no end. It was one thing to date his owner it was another to live with this dog who enjoyed getting great drinks of water then walking across the house, drooling his last gulp all over the kitchen floor all the way to the living room to put his head on my lap and act "sweet". It was one thing when Jason would get furious at Maxx for getting out of his kennel and destroying something. It was another thing when Maxx got out of his kennel and chewed my favorite pair of black heels.

Maxx was a fence jumper.
Maxx chews on everything.
Maxx thinks everyone in the world was his friend.
Maxx drooled.
Maxx jumps on people.
Maxx has a foot fetish which means he likes to lick feet.
Maxx sleeps between me and Jason and still thinks I sleep on HIS side of the bed.
Maxx's fur clogs the vacuum cleaner. To vacuum the living room is to empty the canister 3 times and our living room is TINY.

Eventually Maxx got himself in big trouble and had a traumatic experience which he and I shared and since that day I've loved the big slobbery, furry oaf that chews everything from my shoes and my books. That story I will tell another day for it is the moment he went from an annoying puppy to my buddy. Delilah and him eventually became friends and as I write this I believe they are in my room wrestling with each other which in dogspeak I think is how they express their love... To end this I'll list a few of the things I love about Maxx:

The world confuses him and it's cute to see his face as he tries to figure things out.
He tries really hard not to give me slobbery kisses when he is complelled to lick my face.
He loves to snuggle when he's tired.
He learns from his mistakes.
He listens.
And most of all... Maxx has a big heart with a lot of love to give and I know that I have a huge chunk of that love and that is the greatest honor a lab can give.