Max 24/02/2009 - 25/02/2016..
Max was the dog who you really wanted/needed him to like you, otherwise you had 50Kgs of big angry dog who would not be stopped. He had two emotions and if he'd have been human he'd have had "Love" and "Hate" tattooed across the knuckles on either hand. I was very fortunate in that 99% of what I saw was Love. For such a lump he really was a lap dog, although it needed a three seater sofa to accomplish that feat, and he would love nothing more than resting his head on my lap whilst he got his evening belly rub.
After a tough first year of his life, Max came into my life from a rescue centre specifically for Bloodhounds called Bloodhound Lifeline.
Not knowing any better his first act was that of bullying poor Bobbie as soon as we arrived home. He settled down and it was not long before they became great friends. Max always knew what the right thing was, although I could often see the cogs twirling and couldn't help wondering what the hell he was going to do next. No, he wasn't the best behaved dog and that was mostly my fault, but watching him figure things out for himself was hilarious and fascinating in equal measure.
Fortunately Bobbie was equal to Max in size and that's why they became great friends. Bobbie eventually made way for Billie who although for a Bloodhound bitch, is on the small side at 38Kgs, and along with being small she has always been a little on the timid side. Of course to Max that was manna from heaven as he always anticipated extra dinner or snacks or....... Well pretty much anything if allowed. Oh don't get me wrong, it didn't matter to him whether the victim was Bloodhound, human or just another dog. Whilst having a brief play on a summer's afternoon in Hurlingham Park, Fulham, Max and Billie were happily running around and for the most part avoiding those out in the sun reading books and just enjoying the sun. That is except one young woman who was eating a small Pizza. Without breaking stride Max snatched it from her hand and continued chasing Billie as if nothing had happened. It happened so fast that the young woman looked around as if she couldn't understand what had just happened and her hand was still in the same place as when she has been holding her lunch! I have to admit bless him, when it came to food it must be his! Why? Well it's food isn't it! Poor Billie, her thought process to countering this was to shove her face right in his!! How many times did I have to drag her away for her own safety! It was the equivalent of me taking on Jonah Lomu, and needless to say I wasn't always there to save her from herself.
Going for walks with Max and Billie was always an experience and one never knew whether we would be going for a long walk, or a very long walk combined with search and rescue operations at the end of it. only 4 weeks ago Max decided it was time to go hunting, we were three quarters of our way through the walk and I saw his eyes light up, head turned and as I opened my mouth to call him, he was gone.
Okay usually after 20 minutes he'd return, just as my voice was getting hoarse, mainly letting him know where we were rather than in any expectation that he would return. Anyway after 4 hours I was getting a little concerned and so Billie and I had now returned home to get the car. After we had driven 20kms through the forest lanes to find him, it was now time to stop, it was now dark and so was now proving impossible to see him even if we were lucky enough. Pulling up to the house, there he was, one of the villagers had found him sheltering beneath his children's trampoline and kindly brought him back!
For all his faults he was a magnificent dog, the best guard dog one could possibly wish for. If it hadn't of put him at risk I was very tempted to put a sign on the gate that read "If you are entering without permission, I hope you can leap the front gate within five seconds, because Max will get you in six". People approaching the gate was always a lottery, were they going to get bitten or slobbered? Phil my regular BT engineer who owns Huskies, always scared the life out of me because he would just roll up and give Max a big old hug. Some weren't so lucky!
Having read this so far you would imagine Max to be a devil dog, but this really was not the case. Wilful and stubborn, and occasionally fearful. When bringing up your dog, if you do it in an atmosphere of fear, the result will be a dog like Max. You cannot take that fear away so you have to manage it. Above all though, Max was a loving dog, constantly insisting he had a chest rub or a belly rub. Or maybe just a stroke. When 50Kgs of dog insists on this behaviour, it is hard to resist!
So now Max has left us after so many great years of his company, my house is now quiet. No more barking from Max at each and every car passing the garden, or rambler walking down the lane, or even the cyclist he had spotted at the top of the hill. No more shouting from me "MAX GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN". "MAX LEAVE BILLIE ALONE". "MAX COME HERE". "MAX, MAX, MAX, MAX, max, max".
So quiet.....Too quiet......
RIP my boy