Maximus let me carry him this morning.  On the surface, it may not sound like such a big deal but it really is when one considers that, throughout his life, he has never willingly allowed himself to be carried.  All it would take was an: “I’m going to pick you up!” and he would quicken his pace, scampering ahead to avoid the scoop and lift maneuver I’d perfected with Jelly.  I suppose he was too proud for that sort of thing – a husky black pug like himself, being toted around like some designer handbag – and always avoided my best attempts to hoist him.  No matter how hot the day or how high the couch, he preferred to get there on his own.  And even in the past couple of months when he slowed down and walking became more of a struggle, he still refused, scurrying ahead and out of reach. Until this morning.  As we headed out the door, he took a half dozen steps down the hallway, then stopped, threw a look back at me as if to ask: “Well? Are you gonna say it?”  And I did.  “I’m going to pick you up!”  But this time, rather than scamper off, he stood his ground and allowed me to scoop him up in my arms.  I lifted him up and carry him to the elevators, out the building, and down the three blocks to the park where he did his business.  And then walked back home.

I’ve decided against the surgery.  Given the size of the tumor, it would be a very invasive procedure that would have involved the removal of part of his upper jaw. Instead, I’m opting for radiation therapy, partly in the hopes that it may shrink the tumor, but mainly because – according to the doctor I spoke to – it would alleviate some of the discomfort and difficulty caused by the tumor at the back of his throat.  And so, starting this week, Maximus and I will be making the 90 minute trip to the University of Guelph ( and 90 minutes return) where he will start undergoing weekly radiation treatment and receiving bi-monthly anti-cancer vaccines. Hopefully, we’ll see some positive results that will, at the very least, grant him the time to return to Vancouver in January for good and enjoy the rest of his days in the backyard he loved so much.

68 thoughts on “August 8, 2011: Another Maximus Update

  1. Sounds like you’ve made the best decision, Joe. Hugs and all good thoughts to you and Maximus.


  2. The surgery sounds as if it would be life-altering, at the very least. I truly hope that the combination you’ve settled on will both extend Maximus’ life and give him good quality of life. Hugs to you both.

    Nola S.

  3. I am so saddened. I wish you or any of us animal lovers did not have to go through anything like this. But sometimes we do. I did. I’ve often wondered why dogs lives are so short. Why only 11 to 18 years (if you’re lucky), when some dogs have such great caregivers and families to take care of them. Why so short? But then I think of all the dogs who don’t have that. I bet they out number the lucky ones. You were right when you once said your dogs won the lottery when they came to live with you. They are some of the lucky ones.

  4. Echoing Stella. I hope he can get back to Vancouver too.

    We’ve had our first hit for a job for hubby since being on the West Coast. He has a phone interview for a job in AL tomorrow. (And yes, I know that means going back halfway across the country. 🙂 ) They contacted him within an hour of his applying which I figure has to be good. 😉 Thoughts and prayers appreciated tomorrow about 11AM central time. Thanks.

  5. So relieved to see your post, Joe. You’re doing the best and most that anyone could do. Had to smile at Maximus. He wouldn’t ask to be picked up, oh no. But he didn’t scoot away, either. 😉

    Something happens when you have to pick them up & carry them… Your heart is in your throat. Am remembering when I had to pick up my Samoyed girl and carry her the rest of the way home. It was all I could do to keep from crying in her fur. Love on Maxi really good, Joe. Hold him really tight…

  6. You are a most kind and generous dad to your doggies. Maximus is blessed to have you take such good care of him. I think you made the best decision for him. I hope that the radiation works with some good results.

  7. I’m sobbing. I hope this helps him and gives you all time together to get back home and to be able to say goodbye. But you never know. I do believe in miracles. You just never know. Maybe a breakthrough will happen 2 months from now, and Maximus will benefit from that. Sending many hugs to you and Akemi (and Fondy — I know she loves him, too).

  8. I don’t know what to say here without it sounding trite, so I’m just going to say, “Good luck, Max, and make Joe give you a cookie for me.”

  9. I am so very sorry the results were not more positive and I applaud your choice to do what is best for him, even though it is hard. Sending prayers he gets some quality time back in his old back yard.

  10. Joe your blog has me really depressed lately, from the weather, the city, the poor dogs, Akemi soon to be departing, and the return of Carl Binder. Where is the good news been lately?

    Poor Maximus, was there any talk of doing the surgery and then freezing off what remained?

  11. I hope the treatments go well and excede expectations. Really hoping for the best for him. Hope you are doing as best as possible given situation Joe.

  12. You’re a great dad, Joe Mallozzi. You and Max, take good care of each other. xoxo

  13. Am thinking of you and Maximus, and sending good vibes.
    Your current situation strikes a nerve for me – my beloved boy Jack (the cat) who ran away in fright after the Feb 22 earthquake in Christchurch, NZ, and who I’ve been desperately searching for for 6 months finally showed up last week – he was hit by a car and killed. It was devastating to finally get some news and have it be that.
    So, give Maximus lots of love and cuddles on my behalf!

  14. Thank you for the update, Joe. Will continue to pray for his healing and well being. Thanks to your blog, I feel like Jelly and Maximus live next door rather than, well, across the miles and oceans from where I live. Big hugs to Maximus!

  15. I wept tears reading your entry today. I said a prayer for Maximus and I hope he does well with his treatment. Joe, you are an awesomely good doggy dad. And your love for Maximus has been shining through the photos you’ve been sharing with us.

  16. Let’s hope the chemo will take the right effect. I’m sure it was the best decision and I wish Maximus and you the very best!

  17. G’day Joe

    Sobbing here.
    Take care, all the best for the tough little guy, Maximus.

  18. Stay strong!
    You really seem to be sailing towards some windy weather.
    May you and Maximus have an extra smoooth sailing after all of this.

  19. *tears* *hugs for Joe and Maximus* My thoughts and prayers go out to both you and Maximus. I just hope and pray that he makes it through the radiation. This just breaks my heart very much. I wanna hope for the best. Poor Maximus. 🙁 I just wanna give him hugs and kisses. Poor baby.

  20. Some people say that animals have no souls. It is incomprehensible to me that any creature that gives and receives love is lacking that spark of divinity. My prayers are with you and Max. This is an intensely heart-wrenching time for you and your brood. Know that you will be sent best wishes and hopes by thousands of people whether you hear from them or not. Good luck and snuggly kisses to all.

  21. Joe, listen to your heart, that’s God talking to you.
    I’m sure He’s also talking to Max. Trust Him to guide you.

    Praying for comfort and strength for all concerned.


  22. Your stories and pictures of Maximus are breaking my heart. I hope the little fella pulls through.

  23. Aww hope he pulls through. Is there any hope that the radiation will shrink it enough that they can perform surgery without removing the jaw? Well good luck you’ll both be in my prayers.

  24. Hugs to Maximus.

    @LisaR: Good luck to your husband (and you) with the job interview!

    – KB

  25. Had to take a few minutes to compose myself before I could comment. Please give Maximus a virtual hug from me.

    I’m praying for the treatment to go well for Max. The secret of life is simply for each of us to make other people happy, and in turn people will make us happy. That’s pretty much it.

    I just spent a lovely weekend with my niece and nephew; a laser tag birthday party, cake for dinner, and lots of excrutiatingly embarassing questions like do I have milk in my boobies. They are convinced that I’m hoarding a stash of delicious 2% milk in my bra. Oy vey.

    They can be very sweet and well behaved, but just before bed time they turn into a tiny maniacal mob; I tried to go break up a fight and they pounced on me like a fish thrown into gen-pop at a prison for the criminally insane. I miss them already.

  26. I’m so sorry to hear about Maximus. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that the radiation therapy will work and that Max’ll be able to spend the rest of his days in comfort and in his beloved backyard back home.

  27. Big xxxhugxxx to Maximus. Hope he makes it to the backyard he loves so much. Positive thoughts going out to you and all your family. X

  28. Saying a prayer for Joe, Maximus, and their family, well as for LisaR and hers.

    Also asking for prayer. My chronic digestive problems are worse than they have ever been. Having an invasive test tomorrow, prefer not to go into details in “public”. Suffice to say, I’m afraid to eat ANY solids, as it’s difficult to avoid my trigger foods. Hoping tomorrow’s test will give us some clues.

  29. So sorry to hear that. Hang in there, both of you!
    I know how hard it can be (had to put down two of my dogs one after another, at 15 and 11 yrs old). I’m sure with proper treatment and continuous LOVE and care, your little rockstar will overcome!

  30. Joe,

    That you even had to make a decision between those two options can be stressful on you and, as a result, on Maximus. Keep those happy thoughts and memories in mind. Hope the treatments turn up some positive results.

    Dr. D.

  31. Poor Maximus! I have you, Akemi and the other dogs in my thoughts and prayers.

  32. I have a close family member that had some heavy radiotherapy, and it is true that it does cut the pain somehow. I wish good luck to you and your dog and to have courage for what is to come.
    Take it 1 day at a time, because sometimes it can be too much if you try to take it all at once.
    So do your best today for Maximum. Make sure you also take care of yourself and be careful it doesn’t induce a depression on you.
    Hang in there guys.
    Take care.

  33. I read this blog everyday but in all those years I think the only times I’ve ever commented were about your doggies. My heart aches and I am hoping with all the hope in a hopeful heart that things work out so that Maximus can enjoy his beloved backyard once again. Hugs, belly-rubs and doggie face-licks to all of you, especially Maximus and Jelly.

    Bless your good heart, Joe. I hope karma comes through with good news soon.

  34. So sorry to hear this. Here’s to the radiation giving Maximus more time. You are such a good doggie dad. Take care and scritches to Maximus.

  35. I’m so sad about my fav one Maximus =( I can feel sadness through your daily posts ! I hope he will be better ! Take care of him and as we say in french : bon courage !

  36. Sending Good health vibes to Gilder . Sending Good luck vibes to LisaR on interviewing.

    Is it today you drive Max to the Dr? Good luck! I hope Max doesn’t get too nervous in the car. Hugs to all of you!!!

    Ponytail: you are so right! I just got back from the humane society. There are dozens of dogs/cats that will probably spend their entire life there. Mr. M.’s doggies hit the lottery!

    Did everyone hear about Eureka? Syfy channel needs to change it’s name again. Do shows like Mongolian Death Worm or Ghost Hunters count as Science Fiction?

  37. I can cope with most of the things that life throws at me – except when one of my ‘babies’ are ill. It is horrible not being to do anything to take away the pain or discomfort that they are going through, poor Maximus looks totally miserable. 🙁

    It would seem that there is to be another mindless night of violence and rioting in the UK. The scum should be caught and ejected out into outer space – maybe using transporter technology – too late in the day to attempt to spell Asgard/Asguard 😉 They would then be unable to re-offend or pass their genes on to a new generation of scum.

    Thankfully Scotland seems to have avoided the trouble and I hope that it is not long before the people in the major cities can get back to normality.

    Our Police officers don’t, under normal circumstances, carry guns so I can only imagine how tough it will be for the Police to police the riots.

    ♥ ♥ ♥ Hugs to Maximus ♥ ♥ ♥

  38. Focus on the positive, Joe. Maximus no doubt is very empathic towards your feeling as well. Positivity and laughter are the best medicine for him and you.

    Take care, Joe.

  39. I am sending good vibes that it will work out and Maxius will be able to play in his backyard.

  40. @Gilder, Tam Dixon, and sorrykb: Thanks so much for the good wishes. The interview went great!!! The person who interviewed him was really impressed and told him he was on his short list. Decision to be made in no more than two weeks. Will let everyone know.

    @Gilder: Praying for your health issues. Sounds like issues my hubby had many years ago when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s/colitis.

  41. ((((Maximus)))) ((((Joe)))) ((((Akemi))))
    Having “escorted” 2 kitten children to the rainbow bridge one at the age of 12 and one at the age of 18 I feel for your pain. Hoping the treatment works beyond all expectations.

  42. I’m with everyone who hopes really hard that he gets back to Vancouver and can enjoy the yard for as long as possible. I guess I may have missed a comment or post, but was it a year ago he had his last check up? It seems like a lot of cancerous growth in a short period of time? Or not, I admit I don’t know nearly enough about the topic as I should.

  43. I think you’ve made the right decision for Maximus. If you can alleviate some of his discomfort and he’s still enjoying life (you can always tell) that’s the best course of action. I hope you get a lot more quality time with your little guy. It’s the hardest thing knowing when to ‘let go’. From experience, they usually let you know,, not that it makes it any easier. Take comfort in the long happy life he’s had so far and keep telling him he’ll be back in his beloved Vancouver back yard before long! I also hope Akemi will be able to stay 🙂

  44. “He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
    You are his life, his love, and his leader. He will be yours,
    faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.
    You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.” -Anon

    Best wishes for Maximus.

  45. I am sorry , Joe . I hope he gets better again. Best wishes for Maximus.He will feel your love and care and he will be healing and well being quikly .

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