Project Max

Day One/January 8, 2012

It has been a very full day.

Let me rephrase — today my life changed.

It’s not a permanent thing, but even in its temporary state, the big day has been exhausting.

Let me back up. We woke up this morning, went for our usual long walk (today to the bakery) and then loaded up in the car. I had no idea where we were headed, but it was beautiful along the way.

We loaded onto a ferry and watched the snow on the distant mountains, in awe of the Pacific Northwest’s ability to make us appreciate it after so much rain and wind of this past week.

I’ve been to Vashon Island before — we have friends who live there — but it’s been a long time since we’ve visited (too long, if you ask me!). I was pretty certain we were headed to Jane, Monica, and Keenan’s house, but when we parked the car and everyone went into a restaurant (but me) I grew a bit suspicious. This felt like a much different trip.

After lunch, our next stop was to a stranger’s house. Again, I was asked to wait in the car and only realized what was happening when out strolled Max — the Great Pyrenees/Lab mix — the rescue dog I’ve been blogging about lately.

It hit me then — “Oh yeah…he’s coming to live with us for awhile!”

They loaded Max into the back of the car with me and let me tell you, he’s a big guy. I was a gentleman though and shared the back of the car with the giant fella. Then and only then did we drive to Jane, Monica, and Keenan’s house and I was thrilled! I love them and frankly it’s been way too long since we’ve seen them. I was excited to say hello and introduce them to Mr. Gentle Soul — Max! It was instant love.

Monica and Jane are both human physical therapists. Max knew. He moved toward them asking for massages and rubs all afternoon.

Meanwhile I played fetch in their big back yard and disemboweled a stuff animal they let me have.

Keenan is a wonderful dog who was generous to not only share her moms with us, but her toys as well.

She’s an older gal, but doing really well (who wouldn’t living with two PTs!). But she kept her distance as she’d had a big day yesterday hanging out with a bunch of puppies. I’m sure my energy and Max’s newness were enough to tire her out again so she watched from afar — in that wise and soulful way she has.

Meanwhile, Max won the hearts of everyone (yes, including me)…exploring the yard and showing a bit of interest in the numerous toys.

Max’s journey to full health is going to be a long one, there’s no two ways about it. He has a lot to learn about walking and moving, but already he’s making some, dare I say, big strides.

He’s able to pull himself up from a lying down position.

When he wants something, he moves toward it (today that was love from Monica and Jane).

He’s eating (something that he hasn’t shown too much interest in, but once Suzanne — his original foster mom who has taken such amazing care of him — figured out he liked “fresh” food, he’s been really eating…more about this in a minute).

And he is regaining a sparkle in his eyes.

We left our friends’ house and loaded back up on the ferry. Another beautiful ride…

We stopped at the pet store to pick up a harness big enough for Max (I’ve decided his full name is Maximum because that’s the size of harness it took!) and then headed home. Max was tentative at first…cautiously resting on my bed in the living room (yes, I have many beds in my house, but now there are even more — it’s kind of like a flop house around here!)

But he eventually slept and Gretchen found herself enamored with his paws — so tender and delicate since he hasn’t had a lot of chances to build up callouses.

Then we ate dinner. As you may know, I’m not a big eater — very picky — but I was asked to help Max learn to really enjoy his food so we mixed some of my food with his and the two of us ate a hearty meal of raw beef and vegetables (mine) and chicken and vegetables (Max’s, though he got some of my beef, too, which he really really liked!). We both cleaned our bowls and then snuggled up for a massage.

Yes, I’m a little uncertain in these photos, but Max is a perfect gentleman — he didn’t mind at all that I shared his bed AND shared in the massage and stretching exercises.

This is going to be an interesting journey and with all the well-wishes from our friends and family, we’re gonna do our best to help Max literally get back on his feet. I have to admit, he’s pretty darn sweet. I bet I have a lot to learn from him and hopefully I can teach him a thing or two as well.

Stay tuned for more Max updates here at Project Max. I have a feeling the two of us are going to be the best of friends pretty soon!

By the way, while I’ve been typing, Max has fallen sound asleep on my bed by the computer. His back legs are twitching and his eyelids are bouncing with an exciting dream.

It’s been a very full day…a day that has changed my life.


Read more about Max — Day Two – Stairs

4 Replies to “Project Max”

  1. Ginger…he is adorable. Perhaps you can get him to get a move on a bit more. We’ve decided he has agoraphobia as he’s afraid to go too far from home. I know you could help with that, Ginger. xxxooobackatya!

  2. Any updates on Max? My friend and colleague introduced me to Max first through her Facebook page and then with stories of Max and her son who adores him. I haven’t heard any updates lately. How is Max and his family doing?

  3. The latest blog was posted last week ( and on Rubin’s FB page, I shared a current video of him. He’s eating well (as you’ll see in the video) and he’s happy and content. He’s still very weak and atrophied, but we’re hoping to get him back in the pool for some gentle range of motion exercises and massage soon. Thanks for following us and you can always check in on our blog(s) by clicking on Project Max on our website. It’s a drop down menu that let’s you see all the postings. Rubin and Gretchen

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