Tribute to Max

Maxwell Dogborn Coffey


Out of Maisie (mother:  purebred Scottie)
by Bud (father:  Llasa Apso and Friend).

Maxwell, fondly known as Max, was born May 2, 2010, at 11:55 a.m. on the screened-in back porch at 3362 Mink Run Road. Midwife assistance was supplied by godparents Don and Sylvia, who assisted Maisie in removing cauls, loving welcomes, etc.  Last out in a litter of five puppies, Max weighed five ounces. He was named after the scientist Max Born (1882-1970) who helped birth quantum physics. Like his namesake, Max was unusually smart.

Max was what some might disrespectfully call the runt of the litter because he was last born and, typically, smallest.  But what he lacked in size he made up in personality.  At three weeks with eyes barely open he barked at Don, and from that moment, heart and love won, Don decided “We’ll keep Max.”  And glad we are that we did, along with his sister Lily.

To think of Max is to think of adventure—and escaping from confinement, which he quickly learned from his Mama Maisie.  Together they dug under the fence more than once. One time Maizie got stuck and had to be rescued by Don. She loved all her children, but Max clearly was her favorite. You could always tell when Maisie was thinking, “There’s just something special about that boy.”

Max was always looking for any slight crack in a gate or door—and like a flash he would be gone, returning hours later, tongue hanging out, after his humans had spent anxious hours searching for him.

Max was always more interested in love than in food. This lifelong preference is well displayed in the photo above, showing Maisie taking a well deserved break from her new ever-hungry family.

Max was cat-like in that he seemed to have nine lives.  He once got stuck in the muck of our front pond.  When finally found—up to his neck—he had to be fished out with a long stick, grabbed by his collar and pulled to safety on the bank.  What a mess of muck to be washed off—one of Max’s many necessary baths.  Another time, seeing a deer(!), he lunged forward, yanked the leash from its hand and was gone a’streak into the woods—leash and all.   After hours of searching, neighbor boys found him, leash thoroughly entangled in underbrush, and brought him home. Yet another time he streaked through a gate not closed quite quickly enough, and was brought home hours later by son Paul who found him, delinquent but free, by the side of the road.  And these are just a few of Max’s many adventures.

The Pan Trick was a game Max picked up from Maisie. She created this game by rolling her food pan down the hill, then retrieving it and doing it all over again, with gusto.  Observing this, Max soon played the game too, eventually improving it, adding details, and making it his own.  As he got older he felt he must do this trick for us each day.  Every evening he would pre-place his pan past the dog house, at the top of the hill, anticipating the fun. As soon as he saw us coming he would grab his pan and play the game. Push the pan violently down the hill with his nose. Bite grass. Fling grass sideways. Push pan again. Bite and fling more grass. When one of us inevitably had to walk down the hill to coax him back up the hill, he would grab the pan in his mouth and proudly carry it to the top, chest out, wagging furiously. When we said “Drop it,” he would, finally—all showed off and ready for our evening walk back to the house.

He hated the indoor baby gate we put across the utility room door to confine him and Lilly while they had their supper and we had ours.  Never overly interested in food, he would try to eat his quickly and dash to freedom in the big room before the gate was put in place.

Walking Max was always a vigorous forward motion.  We often said we should have named him Grant (after General Ulysses S. Grant) because, like the general, forward was his only motion, never retreating.

Evening movies/documentaries were his favorites.  He would jump up on the couch, take his place to my right, Lilly often on my left and we all sat all snuggled for the evening. When the movie was over he often needed several bouts of petting before he’d agree to jump down.  When he was no longer able to jump up on the couch, we sat on the floor.  He just wanted the close loving time.

Max was a recognized, certified, Good Guy. He and Don were charter members of The Good Guys Club. Max was the epitome of loving. Giving love and being loved were always more important to him than food or anything else.  His dear little spirit shone brightly indeed. Max will be sorely missed around here.