My first Boxer was Mugs, a muscular fawn and white male. I had always loved the appearance of the breed and their personalities. However, because of the financial responsibilities of raising our family, we had never gotten one. When one of our children moved away, and couldn’t keep him, we acquired Mugs.
My wife and I live on 65 acres here in the foothills of eastern Tulare County, and Mugs relished the ranch life. He was my constant buddy, and followed me everywhere around the ranch. Mugs and I soon became great friends.
On a Friday in October, 1999 Mugs had a heart attack and died. I came home to find him on the Family Room floor. I cried for my companion, then lovingly laid him to rest in the pasture on the ranch home he loved.
I learned about Boxer Rescue Los Angeles the next morning and immediately made the call. On October 31, 1999, we headed for BRLA with our other dog to see if we could find a match.
I was sitting in a chairs outside the kennel when my wife brought a beautiful big male over for me to meet. He spied me and never stopped until both front feet were on my shoulders and he was bathing my face. Max adopted me before I had a chance to adopt him.
During the three-hour drive he stood on the back seat of the pickup and licked my right ear, the side of my head, and any cheek he could reach. My entire right sleeve was wet with slobbers. He was so happy to have a home and a family.
Over the next eight years he suffered few maladies. One Sunday morning Max was bitten by a small rattlesnake. Our vet was able to get antivenin into him within thirty to forty-five minutes of the bite. A black widow spider bit him which gave him a big lump on the back of his neck for several days. But in general, he was extremely healthy and happy.
In July Max was diagnosed with T-cell Lymphatic Cancer, which is highly resistant to any form of successful treatment. Chemo, and the associated malaise, were just not something we wanted him to go through. Over the next two months, he went downhill steadily, until he was a walking skeleton with a hide. But, he didn’t seem to be in any pain, nor apparent discomfort.
We knew that his physical condition would suddenly crumble one day with little warning. We watched him carefully for indications of pain or discomfort. He remained happy and loving. He seemed to be doing as well as could possibly be expected of him.
We came home on a Wednesday to find that he had pooped on the carpet in the family room. This was not normal for him. The stool was also a dark chocolate, indicating blood, probably from either the back of his mouth or throat. This was the second time he had exhibited dark, loose stools. With heavy hearts, my wife and I agreed that "the time had come" to let him go, while he still had some semblance of quality of life remaining.
We had an appointment with our vet at 3:30 Friday afternoon. At 2:00 I went down into the pasture to check on irrigation. Surprisingly, Max wanted to go along. He went straight to the ditch, then crawled in with great difficulty because his hindquarters were not working well. He waded in the ditch with the water up to his scrawny belly. He lapped up a good drink, and then with even greater effort hauled himself out onto the bank.
He stood in the shade of a nearby tree for a couple of minutes watching me. Then he seemed to say, "To heck with you out there in the sun. I'm going back to the house where it's cool." He slowly made his way back up the drive.
When I went to wash off my irrigating sandals, he had one final drink from the hose as he had done innumerable times. I sprayed the water into my palm, letting it bubble up, so that he could drink out of my hand. The feeling of his soft tongue and lips still lingers on my skin.
Our vet offered to come out to the van. Max was lying in the back of the van on a rug he particularly liked from my office floor. My wife sat close by his side, so he was comfortable.
The nurse got into the van to hold his head and lay him back. With one last lick on my cheek when I leaned over, and with my wife and I petting and talking to him, it was soon over.
We brought him home where he joined our first boxer Mugs, as a permanent resident of our pasture-ground on the ranch he loved.
Our vet agreed that we had taken him as far into the progression of his disease as we dared.
He had a wonderful life, we had a marvelous companion, and he loved us dearly. We miss him of course, but because of Boxer Rescue LA, he had an opportunity for a good life, and we had a special friend.
We will soon make another appointment with BRLA. Since we now have two small dogs, we will all come together to find another beautiful boxer to bring home. Thank you for providing Max, and us, with a wonderful experience.