† Rest in peace Max.

by on May.22, 2013, under Family, Max, Musings

We said goodbye to a dear friend yesterday – our dog, Max.

Almost 13 years ago this small abandoned puppy found us. I had just put down my dog of 11 years and was not ready to accept it, but who could say no to the beautiful eyes of my children who pleaded, “Can we keep him?! Can we keep him?! Pleeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeeeeeee!” As a family we named him, Maximus but Emmy (at 1 1/2 years old) could only pronounce “Mackz” – so we went with Max.

As an outside dog, Max took his job seriously as the protector of his family. If ever something or someone came too close to our yard, he would charge the fence and produce such the fiercest growls I’ve ever heard. Those were meant to let them know he would tear them apart if they were trying to hurt his family.

“No sir, this place, this yard, this family, IS OFF LIMITS!”

Max didn’t bark to just bark, he meant it. Even our neighbors mentioned if they heard Max bark, they knew there were people out front. Didn’t matter that they were just walking/exercising. Max saw you and let you know.

When I traveled and called home, Liz would mention she might have heard a noise. I would confidently ask, “Where’s Max? Is he barking?”

“No, he’s sleeping in the yard.”

“Then there’s nothing out there.” That would immediately calm Liz.

It was his yard, not ours. Just two weeks ago he caught and killed a nagging squirrel. He’s even killed three coral snakes and racked up so many kills that I came up with a Kill Board.

“¡Es muy Bravo, El Mackz!” My Mom would say – God rest her soul she would always use Emmy’s young pronunciation.

But his fierceness was only equaled by his playful nature with our kids. Like all family dogs, Max was more like a kid; he had many toys in the backyard, a purple ball, two soccer balls and a Tonka dump truck. When the kids went out to play, he’d grab his truck and run around the yard with it. But his favorite was the purple ball. We’d throw it across the yard and he would fetch it, drop it at our feet and look up playfully, almost saying, “Again!”

Back in Feb 2013 we took Max to our Vet because he had injured himself somehow – he couldn’t walk. We were sent home with an arthritis diagnosis, some pain medications and Max bounced right back. But three months later, Max must’ve re-aggravated the injury. Back to Vet we went but after two days, he was getting weaker, still in pain and would just lay in one spot in the yard. A weak bark would escape him if he heard the “walkers” up front though. We set up another appointment with the Vet and Joaquin and I dropped him off Tuesday morning in the hopes they could help him. Later that morning, the Vet called to tell me, “It was time.”

We gathered at the Vet’s office later that day to comfort Max and say goodbye. Max weakly wagged his tail and although still shivering from the pain, he obediently stayed close to Joaquin, finding comfort in the arms of his Master. As we all stroked his fur, Liz read a prayer and Joaquin asked if he could be there alone with his dog and we agreed. When the Vet came in, Liz and Emma said their teary goodbyes and left the room. I told my son I would wait outside, then reached over, scratched Max behind one ear and mouthed, “Goodbye dear friend.”

I hugged Liz and Emma before they left for home, then waited outside in the parking lot for Joaquin. Soon after, the door opened and  I watched my 17-year-old son, walk towards me carefully cradling his dog as tears streamed down his cheeks. Rapidly blinking and lump forming in my throat, I put on a brave face watching my young man bravely face a tough moment in his young life. He gently laid Max down in our truck and I embraced my son. His strong hug finally squeezed the tears out of me and through sobs I told him, “I know Max was very happy to be with you at the end.” “I know Dad,” he sobbed. We stood there hugging, faces buried deep into each other, comforting each other and after a few minutes, we took deep breaths, wiped our noses with the back of our hands then drove home with tear filled eyes.

I was hurting but it was rough to see my children hurt as well.  

At home, Joaquin carried Max to the backyard and as a family, we buried him under the Mesquite tree behind our fence. My heart swells with the love I have for my son and his dog. Joaquin stayed with Max until the end.

† Max, you were one of the best dogs we’ve ever had be part of this family. Whatever dog is guarding the pearly gates of Heaven better look out, there’s a tough smart candidate on his way that wants the job.


PS. The tree he’s buried under was always being used by those pesky squirrels to get into our yard, I won’t be surprised if I hear a muffled, “Ruff” from the area.


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Beware of Max

by on Nov.28, 2010, under DIY, Max

Nice day outside so me and the kiddos built Max a “look out” port – like the one we built in the backyard. This one faces the front.



My buddy Al said these look like gun ports on a Pirate ship. 🙂

But Max loves it.


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Kill Board for Max

by on Nov.12, 2010, under Creativity, Family, Humor, Max

Today I went outside to check on a bird Max had caught but instead I found another dead squirrel in the garden. He’s killed so much in our backyard that I decided to produce a “Kill board.” See picture below.

Don’t get me wrong, Max is a great loving dog – just don’t go into our backyard without us. He takes his job very seriously. Hardly anything gets by him.

I’ll update it as he “adds” to the list. This is just what he’s gotten since we moved here 5 years ago.

And yes, those are coral snakes – he’s killed three of them already. See the post here.

Oh and by the way, no sign of the bird, I didn’t look too hard in the garden because maybe Max just wants to help Liz and Emmy’s garden by fertilizing it with animals. 🙂

Guuud boy Max….



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Ice cake anyone?

by on Jan.10, 2010, under Family, Max

I know this is nothing new to anyone up north but down here in San Antonio TX – this is incredible. We got down to 11 degrees by our house last night. This afternoon it warmed up to about 47 and I asked my son to go outside and check Max’s water.

This is what we found! Wow! Click on the pictures for a larger view.

It’s gonna be another hard freeze tonight so we’ll have another one of these ice cakes in the morning. As you can see, Max was not amused.

And for all you dog lovers out there – we don’t leave Max outside.

We bring him in when it gets below 35. Out by where we live – it usually gets about 3-4 degrees colder than the weathermen predict.


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Snake Charmer – I don’t think so.

by on May.13, 2009, under Family, Humor, Max


Our dog Maximus (we call him Max for short) killed another coral snake in our backyard over the weekend. Click on the pictures for a larger view.

max inspects his killThis is the third coral snake that he has killed. We had been told by our neighbors that they had seen coral snakes in the area but we didn’t believe them…until April 08 when Max killed the first one.

At first we didn’t think it was a coral snake but when we recited the rhyme, “Red touching black is a friend of Jack, Red touching yellow can kill a fellow.” Yup – that’s a coral snake alright.

We took pictures of the snake then threw it over the fence. I was worried about Max – maybe he had gotten bitten – but thankfully, he hadn’t.

Then in October 08 – he bagged #2. Didn’t get bit either. Whew!  

Then this past weekend as my son Joaquin was pulling the mower out, I heard a sudden intake of air, the word “JEZZ!” and watched my son do an incredible three foot vertical leap when he almost stepped on (dead) coral snake #3! Once again – Max was not bitten. Based on what’s happened to us (and him) in the past couple of months – you can just never know. Click on the pictures for a larger view.


2nd coral snake

3rd coral snake

emma_joaquin_maxNot bad for an mutt puppy we found eight years ago wandering around our old home. I didn’t want to keep the mutt (I had put my beloved Siberian Husky, Tasha, down that year) but when the kids saw the puppy and held it up to me…I just couldn’t say no. Could you?

But don’t let those cute looks fool you – he’s already amassed an impressive list of kills. Unfortunate animals that have wandered into our…or rather “his” backyard. They were dispatched, with extreme prejudice.

I always tell people that if you’re gonna go into our backyard, make sure we are with you. Once he sees that you are with us, he’ll do his best to cleanse you with his rough tongue and then roll over and wait for you to scratch his belly. If you scratch him good enough, he’ll close his eyes and exhale while sticking his tongue out slightly.

He’s also a great watchdog. If people walk in front of our home, he barks – if the deer behind our fence get too close – he barks AND charges the fence. That’s good…unless it’s a skunk and it sprays the fence. Not fun.

Even our neighbors appreciate Max’s dedication to his job – some have even asked if they could borrow him to place in their backyard!

Max takes his job very seriously. He loves his family and we love him.

“Good boy Max…guuud boy.”


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