The love affair with Max, and why our fuzzy kids mean so much

Boy, this one had me really holding back the waterworks.

I friended Max Graf back in 2009 on Facebook. His posts were always friendly, upbeat, funny and brought a smile to my face. I always wished him a Happy Birthday, and even responded a few times with a smile of my own.

Max never really answered back on his own. After all, it’s hard to do without opposable thumbs

Max was the constant companion for a South Florida family that made him the “spokesdog” for their pet business. Max was always there as an ambassador and part of the sales staff until he retired last year. I always told myself, “You need to get there and shake his paw”. I never did. We always believe there is more time in life than we are granted. I also didn’t know Max was getting up their in years.

Max passed away this week, quietly and peacefully with his family. The departure of a furry friend is unlike anything related to a human farewell. They cannot speak to us, tell us they are in pain or discomfort, because to them this is just another day in life. They do, however, in so many ways, tell us when the time is right for them to go. Max had apparently sent the signs, and his family knew the time was here.

On his Facebook page, his Dad wrote the following tribute to his friend and kid. I read it, and could not hold back the tears for several minutes. It is, without question, the kind of farewell we all should have in our life.

Max Graf, September 4, 2003 – August 17, 2020.

Max Graf, aka Fuzz Face, The Moo, Mr. Moo, Little Moo, Tough Guy, Stinker Butt, Snorkle Puss, and Little Junior, passed away August 17, 2020, with his loving doggy mother and father at his side.

Born September 4, 2003, Max was an orphan left to fend for himself on the mean streets of Hialeah, Florida. Utilizing his dazzling charm, his rock n’ roll star good looks, and his gregarious nature, Max forged his way into a rescue group and, ultimately, to his forever home.

A confident canine with plenty of ‘pinions and a keen intellect, Max studied hard to become the best dog he could be; graduating Magna Cum Laude and earning his Good Canine Citizen degree.

His studies prepared him well for future success and he showed great prowess in Sitting, Staying, Leash Walking, Rolling Over, Butt Sniffing, Rolling in Stinky Stuff, and his favorite, Duck Chasing.

In 2009, Max partnered with his family to open a retail business in Plantation, Florida that specialized in healthy foods and treats for dogs and cats. Over the years, Max helped the business grow and thrive, serving in key roles like Taste Tester, Chief of Security, Store Greeter, and Quality Control Manager.

During his tenure, Max never missed a day of work and took pride in his ability to win over new customers. Many would come to the shop just to see him and ask for his advice about what food or treats they should get for their pup. Max retired in June, 2019 and settled into enjoying life at home with his family and loved ones.

“all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.”

Rest in peace, my beautiful friend. There will always only be you.

Love, Dad …and Mom too.

God rest your soul, Max. Yes, we know you have a soul. Those who love as deeply as you did, and who engender such love in return, have indeed the perfect soul.

Good boy.

From helpless to a home, Brooklyn can finally relax

August is “Clear the Shelters” month, and there likely has never been a more daunting time for those seeking to ensure every animal has a forever home. COVID-19 has made it difficult financially for many people to bring another mouth to feed into their lives, and you would think shelters everywhere would be overflowing. Part of the problem few talk about it is the number of abandoned pets, mostly dogs, that are being either turned into shelters or simply left to beg and die on the streets. The entire thought is more than a little gut-wrenching for anyone with a heart.

Which is why stories such as these are so important to note. In the darkness of the pandemic, stories are emerging from across America about people turning to and actually emptying a number of shelters. COVID-19 has created a lot of depression and loneliness at every level, and people are finding there is nothing like that furry companion to brighten the days, even just a little bit.

Brooklyn had been in the Hamilton Township (NJ) Animal Shelter and Adoption Center for seven years. Think about that. For you and me, seven years doesn’t seem like much. For Brooklyn, that’s more than half her life. While she has been helped along by a foster Dad, she never had a place to call her own.

Until now.

There’s not much to the story, just a 15 second blurb on local TV news and a social media post. However, there she is with her new family. She’s going HOME, the first one she has known in a very long time.

Animals such as Brooklyn know change when the see and experience it. They know the difference between being in a cage over being in a home. They are social and experience emotions in so many ways. In essence, they are just like children. All they need is a little love, a warm place to lay their head, and the knowledge someone is there for them. That’s not a lot to ask, and in this time of so much need among us all, stories like this make me believe there is indeed hope for a society that at times seems so cold.

Find your new friend at a shelter. The love you get in return will be unconditional and wrap you in it’s arms so tight, you will never want to let go.

Thank you to everyone who ensures that dogs like Brooklyn can be safe and sound for the rest of their lives.

Good girl.

Shake paws with the most dogged car salesman ever

We’re dedicated viewers of programs such as “Lucky Dog”, where pooches who seem destined for a tough and perhaps unfortunate life are given another chance and find their furever homes. While the program is set n California, we need to remind ourselves that around the world, there are those pups and adult dogs facing difficult times. A good deal of them never do find that special place to call their own.

In this case, however, it’s one of those “luck of the draw” moments, where a dog named Tucson manages to happen upon the right place, the right time, and the right people who felt the need to reach out and help.

Tucson has to be the most successful automobile salesman (salesdog?) in he world. Given that chance, he’s now running the show, or so it seems, at a Hyundai dealership in Brazil. From a young pup with no hope, his story has gone worldwide thanks to the caring nature of those at the dealership. From helpless, to famous.

It just goes to show that we all need to keep our eyes, and our hearts, open for possibilities. Tucson likely didn’t get a second look from a lot of people, but all it took was one person to show him some love.

Now, it WOULD be interesting to have Tucson be in the passenger seat for a test drive.

Good boy.

Coping with the pandemic is often just a pooch away

It has not been easy for anyone here in the pandemic summer of 2020. Covid-19 has, in some cases, created irreparable damage to individual lives and certainly careers. Many people have been turning to therapy, medication, alcohol, the usual things we humans reach for in difficult times

However, there might be just an ever-so-slight bright spot in all this madness. As we seek to find ways in dealing with our new normal, we’re turning more and more to bringing home a new addition to the family. In the process, we’re saving more than just one life.

Adoptions are up across the country.  In some cases I’ve read where every dog needing a home has found one and the kennels are actually empty. Sad they don’t always stay that way, but some shelters are building up a backlog of people wanting to adopt. In most cases, we’re talking quality adopters who truly come seeking more than just a handbag.

These are always dogs who have so much love to give, and I cannot stress enough how people should look at the older dogs. By older, sometimes that can be just 4 or 5 years of age. They desperately need someone new, having been loved in many cases and now simply abandoned. A lot of families are tight on money, and the dog, along with other pets, are sometimes the first to go. I’ve seen far too many cases where they are often just dumped on the road instead of the shelter.

The pandemic has made us all think long and hard about life, and what we do with it. There is nothing finer than sharing the simple act of love with those in need, whether 2, 3 or 4-legged. These are the wonderful, beautiful, touching stories that we will look back on and say, “remember how that ball of fur saved us in the pandemic year?”

That’s what I mean, it’s more than saving one life. It’s saving us all.

With that, the love lasts well past the years spent together.

The power of the pooch amidst the pandemic

Anyone who has ever had a canine companion accepts certain things rather quickly. They are loving, warm, often difficult, sometimes exasperating, but more often than not they become our little place of solace and peace. There is nothing to compare with the bond between dog and human, especially in those simple moments of just being there for one another.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed so many lives, and in many ways these are lives that will never be the same. Ever. We are all being forced to transform, find a new normal, perhaps when all is said and done we can become a more compassionate people.

That’s where dogs enter the picture, and in this case, a dog named Watson. In a world filled with so much hustle and loneliness, Watson quickly became more than a “day at the office” for Apple Mandy, who came to New York City from China.  NYC can be a tough and unforgiving place, take it from one who grew up there. However, from the hard sidewalks and often even more hardened people, there can be found those small moments of wonder. In the end, it seems as if Watson was there all along, just waiting for Apple to come along and for them to find each other. The rest, as they say, is kismet.

The pandemic has caused far too much grief, been the reason for spilling far too many tears, and made us all think long and hard about who we are and what we do with regard to those around us.

In this case, all it took was for one dog to show there is light at the end of this long tunnel, and peace can be found in a panting, inquisitive ball of fur.

Good boy.


The world’s most famous Beagle: Snoopy NEVER gets old!

Now wouldn’t this have been the perfect lede story to bring back the website! I might be a day late, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to miss noting Snoopy’s birthday, celebrated on August 10th. Here’s the link.

Snoopy has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. “Peanuts” may have been the first comic I fell in love with, and was always a little disappointed when he didn’t show up, usually bowl in mouth looking for food. Little did I know that decades later we would have our own version of the dog that never ceases to seek food, as Bailey could be his long-lost daughter! Her bowl is a bit too big for her to carry, but she sure knows when Mommy or Daddy are getting “brefast” or “din-din” ready. Little brother Magnus the Norwegian Elkhound is a bit more subdued.

We have so much Snoopy around the house, and I even have one of the original “Snoopy Spacedogs”, dressed in his Apollo flight suit. I wouldn’t part with it for anything in the world.

There is nothing like a beagle, and nothing can ever compare to Snoopy. He never gets old, is one Hell of an excellent ice skater and hockey player, and teaches us all about the simple act of loving a dog.

Happy Birthday, Snoopy! Thanks for everything!

Max proves it’s good for some politicians to be “ruff” around the edges

Every day, social media and our basic conversations is filled with anger and screaming about politics and politicians. Without question, the individuals bring it upon themselves with a heaping helping of questionable behavior and comments. Wouldn’t it be great if there was just one politician out there who didn’t engender rage? One that every day proved you don’t even have to say a real word to be admired.

Meet Max, the second generation of lovable mayors in a California town. Duly elected and serving his term with dignity and pride, Max proves some politicians are OK to love, even talk nice to. After all, it’s difficult to be angry with anyone who notes his trips the local Dairy Queen.

I think I’ll start a petition to have Magnus or Bailey serve a few terms. After all, the worst they’ll do is raid the kitchen at City Hall.

For this Eclipse, every day is just a walk in the park

Most of us want to believe our furry kids have a real sense of intelligence outside of just being able to fetch or do tricks. Every now and then, one of them surprises us by doing something we just shake our heads at and smile.

Eclipse is one of those cases. I don’t know about you, but I would be panicked if one of my kids took off on their own. In her case, she can probably teach humans a thing or two about responsibility. Also having more than a little fun during the ride in life.

This Dog Takes the Bus by Herself to Walk Around at the Park

Atta girl.

Parkland therapy dogs remembered forever in yearbook photos

One day, many years from now, older adults who had their young lives torn into by the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida may indeed reach back for their yearbooks. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t cracked mine open in more than 30 years. Never had a reason to. 

These adults will, the brave ones who still want to revisit those days and that time when their life, and the lives of everyone in America. changed yet again because of someone seeking to do harm. 

I’m going to guess these pages will be looked upon many times in the future, and when they are, there will be the smiling faces of friends lost, and those who helped them thru some of their darkest days. 

The therapy dogs who were there, mixing with the students and teachers solely for the purpose of bringing them a little comfort, show them a little love, and hopefully make things a little easier in difficult moments. 

The rescue dogs are forever remembered on their own yearbook page, a wonderful idea to honor these four legged heroes. I saw them at the school, and wept watching them work their magic. I’ll wager more tears will be shed in the future when these pictures are viewed. Hopefully, tears of joy. 

Animals, especially dogs, have this innate ability to make our lives just that much better, They do indeed sense when we need them, and they never ask for anything in return save a hug and a nuzzle. 

Here’s hoping that many years from now, when the dogs themselves have passed on and these students are seeking a quiet moment to remember a time of healing, they will turn to this page, these photos, and share a smile with their fuzzy friends. 

Good dogs. 

When the rescuer decided this rescued pup was his all along

Fate is an interesting mistress. She comes along when we least expect to see her, and while she is not always kind, every now and then she leaves us wondering why we were the person who came to be in a certain spot at a certain time. 

Paul Bryant of the North Charleston Fire Department now knows exactly how that feels. 

As a veteran firefighter and first responder, Bryant has been at the tip of the spear in many a rescue operation over his career. None, however, was quite like the manner in which he met his new forever friend. 

That little pup who somehow got trapped under a pile of rocks? No one could free him until Paul was called, and from the moment that little guy emerged, you could see there already was something special going on here. 

No one came to claim this wiry and energetic youngster, and that’s when Paul decided fate had stepped in. He was called to that rescue for a reason, and the reason included a new member of the family. 

Watch the video and see the joy in both of their eyes at the eventual reunion. Rocky, the perfect name for this little guy, could not be happier. He’s one of the lucky ones, not spending much time at all in shelter and off already to his forever home. So many others await to be chosen, and somewhere out there, we can only hope fate has a positive ending in store for them. 

Life could have taken a difficult turn for Rocky, but now, he and Paul are off on new adventures and lifetime of love. All because one man was lucky enough to be called at just the right time. 

Here’s hoping the positive hand of fate touches many more humans and pets as they seek their lives together. 

Well played, Paul. 

Good boy, Rocky. 

Fun and entertaining dog tales from around the world