When Maximus was first diagnosed back in July, the vet warned me it was a very aggressive form of cancer and that his chances of survival were small.  Still, when I discovered that I was only a 90 minute drive away from one of the country’s best animal oncology clinics, I didn’t hesitate to make the drive down for the initial consult – and then, for several week after, make the subsequent trips for Max’s radiation treatments and anti-cancer vaccines.  Even before the treatments, I’d seen the change in him, my normally upbeat, forever-famished dog suddenly slow and no longer all that interested in food.  His mood had changed but, every time we would pick him up after a radiation session, I’d see flashes of his old self: bright-eyed, tail wagging, happy to see us (but, most importantly, happy).  When we first started those sessions, I was informed that his life expectancy would, in all probability, be at best three months.  I should be prepared to say goodbye to him in November.

While the initial radiation therapy had positive results, resulting in a slight shrinkage of the tumor in his mouth, subsequent treatments proved ineffective and, before long, the tumor had returned to its original size.  The anti-cancer vaccine was Maximus’s last hope and the oncologist cautioned me that, if we didn’t see results soon, then I should be prepared for the worst.  I didn’t.  And I started to prepare myself for November.

Eventually, Maximus seemed to regain his appetite.  He wasn’t the same ravenous eater he used to be, finishing up his portion in half the time it took the other dogs to finish theirs, but with patience – and a little hand-feeding – he started eating again.  Then, in late September, he suddenly stopped eating and despite my best efforts, simply refused to take anything.  This was two days before our scheduled return to Vancouver and, in my mind, I thought it was his way of telling me that he was ready to give up.  At the time, I simply hoped he’d make the trip back home where he could pass away in familiar surroundings.

Well, he made the trip back and, upon his return home to Vancouver, things changed.  He started eating again.  He seemed happier.  He was a long way from better, but it was as if he’d been granted a second wind.  That November deadline came and went, but he was still with us.

Then, in early December, he stopped eating.  Again.  As the days ticked down, I imagined it wouldn’t be long before he finally surrendered to the disease.  But he was tough.  He didn’t eat for over a week, his weight dropped, he was increasingly lethargic but, still, there were flashes of that happy Maximus I used to know – especially when some friends paid us a visit with their children.  Max always loved kids and, when those two walked in the door that day, he was up and at ’em, tailing wagging.  I hadn’t seen him so excited in months!

That gave me hope and a subsequent visit to the vet resulted in a change in meds.  Rather than leave him behind for the Christmas holidays, I elected to bring him with me to Montreal.  Thanks to the medication, his appetite returned (partially) and he was up and around – whenever he wasn’t lying around.

We returned to Vancouver once again yet there was no miracle third wind this time.  His condition seemed to gradually worsen.  He could no longer climb up the porch steps.  I would have to carry him.  And still, there were moments – like the day we took him down to Yaletown.  He walked more that afternoon than he had walked in recent memory and, the following day, he was exhausted.  And the day after that.  And the day after that.  It was as if, in that one afternoon, he’d packed in all that walking he’d been meaning to get around and, finally, gotten it out of his system.

As my scheduled trip to Tokyo approached, I began to reconsider going.  I could cancel my flight and receive a refund for my flight and, while I’d probably have to eat the cost of the hotel, the price would have been a pittance compared to the time, effort, and money I’d already spent on Max.  Ultimately, if my staying behind could have helped improve his condition, I wouldn’t have hesitated to do so – but, the fact was, his condition wasn’t going to improve.  At best, it would remain steady.

Which it didn’t.  A week ago, he stopped eating.  Again.  And I was out of options.  Despite my success in hand-feeding him a little food the other day, he  has refused to take anymore since.  He no longer walked around, preferring to lie in his bed, eyes open, and rest.

As I said in yesterday’s blog, it’s not a decision I can avoid.  I either make it sooner or later.  Yesterday, I made an appointment to bring Maximus in this morning – just in case.  I wanted to sleep on it.  Our dog-sitter, Christine, came by to visit and the dogs were, as always, excited to see her.  Even Max managed to climb out of his bed to say a quick hello before returning to his spot.  I trust Christine.  The dogs love her, she’s had vet training, and she assured me she’d have no problem taking care of Maximus.  In the event of downturn, she would take him to my vet who had already offered to care for him while I was away.  And that gave me hope.  So, hoping for some sign from Maximus, I set him down on the pillow next to me and went to sleep.

Well, I’d like to say a good night’s sleep cleared my mind and helped me make a decision but the truth is I didn’t sleep well, my mind was far from clear, and I had yet to decide this morning.  Maximus’s condition hadn’t changed.  He was neither noticeably better nor worse than he’d been the previous day.

I suppose that I would have erred on the side of caution.  Like I said in yesterday’s blog, this is a decision you can’t undo and I’d rather leave room for reconsideration.  Best case scenario – he would hang on until I got back at which point I would have to make the call.  But, at least, he would have a week with the other dogs.

And so, almost decided, I brought the dogs out for their morning business.  I’d just carried Jelly out.  Maximus was right behind me when his legs suddenly gave way beneath him and he collapsed, sprawled out on his belly atop the porch.  I set Jelly down and called for Max, expecting him to get up.  He seemed to consider it, even made a bit of an effort, then finally gave up and lay his chin down.  He was waiting for my help.

And that was when I decided.

Of all my dogs, he was the gentlest, the most well-behaved – the handsome one who charmed children and grown-ups alike.  He was stubborn but strong, the most independent of the bunch, and yet, still, surprisingly needy and always appreciative of a little food and a lot of affection.  And vice-versa.

I’ll miss him.

Maximus: April 1, 2000 - January 26, 2012

189 thoughts on “January 26, 2012: Maximus

  1. My condolences Joe. It is never easy saying goodbye to a dearly loved Pet. We had to do it with one of our dogs and our cat a few years later. It is never a simple decision. But from what I have read on this blog Maximus had a great life.

  2. I’m sorry it had to happen. Blessings to you, to ease your heart. I’m sure he has found a huge green pasture to romp in like a puppy again, waiting for the day he’ll hear you call him again.

  3. I am so sorry to hear that Maximus is gone. My heart pours out to you my friend. We love our dogs too and this is hard for any owner ( I hate to use that term since they are family members) to go through. Know that our pug MacLeod ( of the clan Macleod) will keep good watch over Maximus and show him around where ever they go when they are done here with us.

  4. Oh wow. I am so very sorry. Thoughts and prayers to you and Akemi and the other dogs. ((((hugs))))

  5. So very sorrow for your loss … we lost our 16 1/2 year old dog Snowball a week before Christmas

  6. I’m so sorry, Joe. There’s nothing I can say that will make it better, or easier, but I would like to thank you for sharing him with us. Sweet boy, may he rest in peace. A huge hug to you from all of us.

  7. I’m so sorry. I don’t post much but read the blog daily and I’ll miss the updates on him and the pictures. Take care and remember the good times.

  8. Bless you for making the hard decision and seeing him through this. I’ve had to do this 5 times in 5 years (I keep adopting older cats and seeing them through their last years) and it’s never easy to make the decision and/or follow through. No one on earth could have loved him more than you did, and best of all, he knew it. My sympathies to you and the whole extended family.

  9. So sorry for your loss, Maximus was loved and adored by many world wide. Thinking about you and your other beautiful puppies xxxhugxxx

  10. Aw-w-w, poor sweetheart. My sincerest condolences to you and everyone who knew and loved Max. You all have so many memories and, thanks to this blog, so many more pictures than you would have had without the blog. To say that we enjoyed seeing and hearing about all the stories and escapades would be an understatement.

    Circumstances have prevented me from going back in time lately, but I plan to. Why? Because I have enjoyed this blog, your food and travel (& family) adventures, Max’s family doggy stories and pictures and your writing about …. your writing – learning about the anatomy of a television show and comics. This has been all so interesting and priceless for me and others.

    There are a lot of memories and furball pictures packed into this blog that, no doubt, will lift you as you go back in time. I admire your loyalty and the love you give to your pets and how you have included them in your inner family circle, and in turn, us. I hope that all these memories bring you joy as the circle of life forms another loop.

  11. My condolences for your loss. You gave Max the best and I’m sure he appreciated every moment with you, Akemi and the other pups. My thoughts are with you all.

  12. I’m so sorry Joe. No words can describe loss. My deepest sympathies. If I may so prudent so say that I’m sure, from all I’ve read so far, that you have made all the right decisions. I just wished the choice making would come easier. But it never does.
    All that is important now is: You’ve tried everything. You had more time to spend with him than expected and you’ve made the most of it. He does not have to suffer anymore. And all thanks to you and Akemi!
    Best wishes to you both!

  13. I’m so sorry, Joe. Maximus had a good life with you, and you had a good one with him. I hope knowing that will bring you comfort.

  14. And here I thought I’d only cry for my own pets. :*(

    Yeah…wow… this hurts…tears for Max, and many tears for you, Joe.

    May you have peace of mind knowing that you went above and beyond these past few months, and there was nothing left to do except to wait on Maximus to decide it was time. You’re the best puppy daddy sweet Max could have ever hoped for, and he was the best son. We’re all going to miss him – his laidback personality, his big soulful eyes – but I know what we’re feeling pales in comparision to how you’re hurting. Have a good cry, Joe…I know I am, and it’s okay.



  15. Sorry to hear about Maximus, Joe. Perhaps you can take comfort in the thought that he’s in a better place now, One where he’s totally cancer free and waiting on that porch for you two to someday meet again. My heartfelt condolences. Rest in peace Max.

  16. Oh, Joe. I am so very sorry. It breaks my heart to hear of Maximus’ passing and I’ve only known him through your words and pictures. I know how very hard it is to let go of a beloved pet. I had a sweet cat that fought diabetes for 2 years before her little body gave out (she was 15). Hugs to you and your other pups. I think I’ll go home and hug mine.

  17. Maximus was the sweetest and cutest pup I’ve ever seen. I can’t express how sad I feel for Joe, Akemi and for Max’s pug siblings.

  18. My condolences, Joe, it can’t of been an easy decision to take. Max was a lucky pug to have such a wonderful and caring owner in his life.

  19. Hey Joe, I am so very sorry for loss. As you know, we lost our beloved “Bugsy” on December 6th and we are still having a very hard time dealing with it. You are undisputedly one of the most caring Dog owners I have ever met. Max simply could not have been blessed with a better “Dad”. We are thinking of you at this sad time and know the days ahead will get better. All the very best…Peter & Alannah

  20. *Hugs* I know just what you’re going through. It’s like a death in the family.

    People who’ve never had a dog don’t understand. A well loved pet gives unconditional love. Even when we are at our worst, they continue to shower us with affection. When we are low, they make us feel like the most special person on the planet.

    God rest his little soul, and God bless you too Joe. You did everything you could for the little guy, so I hope that gives you comfort.

  21. I have tears in my eyes because of a dog I don’t know. Well no, that’s not true, I have tears in my eyes because of a dog we all came to know because of your stories, especially the stories of the past few months. You shared your love for Maximus with all of your readers, and we share (and hopefully take away) a bit of the sorrow. When I read yesterday’s entry, I kind of had a feeling that in the end Maximus would show you which decision to make, and I’m glad he did. He gave you the sign, he told you when he was ready. And hopefully you’ll be going to Tokyo with a sad heart, but knowing that you did the best you ever could, and that you were there for him in his last minutes, and not many hundreds of miles away in a different country.

    My sincere condolences for your, Akemi’s and the rest of the pack’s loss.

    RIP Maximus

  22. I’m so sorry for your loss, Joe. I think it’s safe to say that Max lived a great life and lived it to it’s fullest. Memory Eternal.

  23. I’m so sorry, Joe. I know how hard it is right now, but think that you will always carry the wonderful memories of Max within you.
    My thoughts are with you.

  24. He was so loved and he knew that. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Akemi, Bubba, Lulu, and his special buddy Jelly. Much love to you all.

  25. You did everything possible and you know that Max knew he was loved.
    I am very sorry to hear of his passing and like others have mentioned, I find I am in tears as well. Big HUGS to you, Akemi, and the other babies; your extended family misses him too.

  26. Oh Joe, I’m so very sorry. Its a heartbreaking decision and at the time you feel you’ll never get over it and you won’t, but you have so many happy memories, many of which you’ve shared with us and so we feel with you. Be at peace Maximus. Hugs for you Joe.
    Lots of love from Cornwall:(

  27. Joe,
    I can’t remember when I started reading your blog, but I’ve enjoyed it as part of my morning coffee/wake-up routine for what seems like forever. I’m a huge dog lover, and so feel a connection to your canine crew through your stories.

    Honestly, recently, I’ve been a bit hesitant to click over to your blog because I knew the news of Maximus’s passing couldn’t be long in coming. I knew how hard that would be.

    Not that it’s come, I have to admit I feel a sense of relief. You asked Maximus for an answer, and in the end, he gave it to you. You didn’t make the decision; he did.

    I think that’s the most a loving pet owner can hope for.

    Big hugs on what has been a sucky week for animals all over it seems (several animal tragedies here in Texas).

    Vickie Taylor

  28. I can’t begin to understand your sorrow. Sometimes, truly, there are no words.

    I’ve contacted my local no-kill shelter and on Saturday I’m going to sponsor a pup in Max’s name. They don’t have a pug or bulldog, but they’ve offered to name the next pup that comes into the shelter after him. I won’t ask for that, because Max was, well, Max.

    I’m at work and keep tearing up thinking about him, so I gotta go, but my heart goes out to you, Akemi and the rest of the pups.

  29. My condolences to you and Akemi and all the pups. You and all of yours will be in my thoughts as you deal with this. Know that you did all you could for your furry friend. You are the best doggie daddy I’ve ever seen. Rest in Peace Maximus.

  30. Oh gee. I’m glad I didn’t read this at work. My co-workers would wonder why I was bawling my eyes out.

    I’ve never met Max, but felt I knew him by reading your blog. I’m so sorry for your loss, and having gone through it myself, I know exactly how you feel right now.

    Maximus will always be kept alive in your hearts, and his spirit will always linger near you.

  31. My condolences. Such a hard decision to make but you make when you know it’s time. He was a much beloved dog and he well knew it. RIP Mighty Maximus

  32. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I really feel like I got to know Maximus over the last couple of years that I’ve been following your blog. My sincere condolences to you, Akemi and the pugs. Be well.

  33. I am so sorry, Joe. Maximus was a good dog and you did right by him. My thoughts are with you and your human and pup family.

  34. My condolences to you and your family. My heart goes out to you. A thousand people will shed a tear today for that little dog they never met, but knew well.

  35. Just to add: Inspired by Paloosa, above, I’ve made a donation to my local animal shelter in Max’s memory. I know they do good work.

  36. Words are never enough – but I think you managed to do that. Your pets are very lucky to have someone who cares so much.

  37. Lost my comments when I logged in, delete above.
    When I saw an early post, I knew before I even registered the title.

    I am so sorry and wish there were any words to help the pain. There aren’t.

    Thank you for sharing him with us all this time. He will be loved and remembered not only by his real life folks, but also by many of us who have known him only through you. As sad as I am for your loss, I also know my heart is strengthened when a pet receives the love and care they deserve but all too often never receive. He was as lucky to have you as I am sure you feel to have gotten him. Belief in after life or not, I am sure the memory of that bond stays to honor you.

  38. I am so sorry Joe, I knew – something told me to check the blog today. He was a happy dog with the best dog life a dog could have. You will always have memories to carry you. God bless you.

  39. Somehow they always know when the time is right and find a way to let you know eh?..my condolences to you and may Maximus rest in peace..

    Carol x

  40. I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers for you, Akemi and the other dogs.

  41. I’m sorry for your loss, Joe.
    We have a dog at home too (first-timer), and I can’t begin to imagine how will things play out when we come across a moment such as this.

    Descansa en paz, Maximus.
    Rest in peace, Maximus.

  42. (((hugs with tears in my eyes)))

    Once the dog gets to where he wants to do something, like get up on his own, to please you and he can’t, it’s the right decision. Dogs will do a lot of things that aren’t in their interest to please their owners because they are just wired that way. It’s up to us to tell them that it’s okay, that they’ve done more than enough.

  43. So sorry you have to go through this; the price you pay for loving these great friends. I’m sure Maximus’ spirit is watching and will always be around–showing up in little places/memories. I actually believe my beloved shepherd, Kyra’s spirit put in an appearance with the new pup, Bella (she’s now 2 years old) and made me smile again.

  44. “When the Man waked up he said,
    ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’
    And the Woman said,
    ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more,
    but the First Friend,
    because he will be our friend
    for always and always and always.'” – Rudyard Kipling

    Good boy, Max. You will be greatly missed.

  45. My condolences to you. I have been following yu blog and Maximus’s progress and my heart goes out to you. We had to make that decision for our 17 year old standard poodle on Mother’s Day. I truly believe that you and Maximus knew when it was time to say goodbye. I’m sure he was just as brave as our Montjoy.

  46. Joe!

    I’m so sorry! There are no words that can heal or take the pain away. Take comfort in knowing that you gave your 100% for him for the entire time he was in your life. That’s the hardest part of love, making the tough decisions like you had to today. He told you it was time, and you listened… as hard and difficult as it was, the selfless act of putting him before yourself was the best gift you could give him. Remember that, you gave him the best, even at the end! Take peace in knowing that he loved you truly and truly knew that you loved him.

    I’ve heard people say that animals don’t go to heaven because they don’t have souls, my belief has always been is that the reason they don’t have a soul is because God gives them a free pass… we (humans) are the ones that choose if we go to heaven, animals go regardless just because of who they are.

  47. My heart breaks for you, Joe. So sorry about your loss of sweet Max. You did all that could have been done, even making his last months better.

    I don’t think a dog can have a better life than to be with people who love, cherish and make them a part of their family. You do that in spades. You gave Max the best life he could’ve had – a happy one, even to the end.

    Give yourself time and permission to grieve.

  48. My family send to you, Akemi-san , Jelly chan, bubba chan and Lulu chan our deepest condolences. I unfortunately have had to make that same choice twice before and it doesn’t really get any easier. *hugs*

    Just remember Max is waiting at the rainbow bridge for you and his dog siblings & cousins and his bowl will never be empty while he waits .


  49. Remember that all of our loved ones who are no longer with us will continue to live on, as long as we remember them in our hearts and minds which is forever. 🙂

    Enjoy doggy heaven Maximus, we are all very glad to have known you through reading and seeing you in this blog. Thanks very much Joe for letting us get to know Maximus. 🙂

  50. We will miss him too, Joe, very much. Big, big hugs to you and the other dogs. And thank you for sharing him with us!

  51. I’m so sorry Joe. I know how pointless it is to say that, almost as much as it is to hear but it’s all I’ve got. I’m sure you’ll cherish the time and memories you’ve had with him as much as he did. Please know that I’m shedding tears with you today as would anyone who has made this decision. I am sending warm thoughts and virtual internet hugs in your direction.

  52. Sincere condolences, Joe. I’m so sorry to read of your loss. It’s been a pleasure reading about Maximus over the past few years, and enjoying the photos of him and his doggie family. I don’t doubt they will miss him greatly, as will you. You’re a wonderful dog owner, Max was very lucky. My thoughts are with you, Akemi, Lulu, Bubba & Jelly. xo

  53. Joe,
    So sorry to hear about Maximus, but you did the right thing at the right time. He, and the rest of your dogs a blessed to have you as their Dad.

    I’ll keep a good thought and a prayer in my heart for all of you.

  54. Joe, I am so sorry. He had a great life and obviously loved you very much. You went above and beyond to extend his life and make him happy in his last months with you back home in Vancouver. You should be proud that he had such a long and happy life, and that you got to be a part of it.

    Now would be a perfectly acceptable time to start taking a break from this blog. There are plenty of animal lovers here, I know we’d understand.

  55. Tough decision but it was the right one. Animals deserves dignity too and this was done in dignity and respect, and this is very important.
    Joe, you may want to talk to Peter Kelamis. I believe he went through something similar last month. He suddenly lost a little good friend too and he really had a hard time.
    I do believe a lot in empathy. Try to talk to Peter. It should help both of you.
    Also give time to sadness and grief. It has its place and there is no shortcut.
    Take care my friend, and don’t hesitate to take a break from the internet and all the noise.

  56. Joe…Max could not have asked for a better “Dad”. He was so loved and cherished. I am so grateful to have hung out with him for a while. Sending you love and light.


  57. I’m a serious lurker of your blog and I enjoy the pictures, videos and puppy updates. I’m so sorry to hear about Maximus. He is a handsome fella and I know he’ll be missed.

  58. The problem with this world is that people last too long and pets don’t last long enough.
    Best wishes. If there is a heaven, the first ones to great us will be our dogs.

  59. My condolences and warm thoughts to you and your extended family. Please take comfort in the fact that Max let you know that it was time.

    I’ve never had to make the decision, but I know how great the feeling of loss is to say goodbye to your friend/child who has been such an integral part of your life for so many years. There will always be a sense of loss, even after many years; but at the same time there will always be the feeling that he is there with you, and that will be comforting.

    I’ve gotten to know your dogs over the last year and half, especially Max, as you shared his story with us, and I feel like I’ve lost a friend too. Thank you for sharing with us.

  60. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Maximus with us. How are your other dogs doing? I know mine grieved after losing his buddy.

  61. My condolences to you, Akemi and your doggy family, Joe. I started bawling my eyes out for poor Max even before I got done reading your post. Even though I never met him personally and I know that now he no longer has any pain or discomfort it’s still hard to come to terms with the fact that we are all mortal. May the little guy rest in peace.

  62. Joe and Akemi, I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful life Maximus got to share with you. He will be missed. Thanks for sharing him with us. Always have said you are the best ever doggy daddy. Please know that I care. {{hugs}}

  63. I’m so very sorry for your loss Joseph … my thoughts are with you ,

    Anthea .

  64. Sorry to hear about Maximus, Joe. My condolences. You gave Max the best possible care any animal or family member could have asked for and beyond. RIP Maximus.

  65. Hi Joe – my deepest sympathies for the loss of Maximus. He was truly an amazing dog. Some day, perhaps, there will be comfort for you in the knowledge that you gave that amazing and courageous little dog the best life and the best companions you could. I know it’s small comfort now. Also, don’t let yourself go down the road of wondering if you made the right decision – all the decisions you made were for love of Max, and they could not have been wrong.


  66. I’ll have to read your last two posts a little later. Too many tears, I can’t see. My thoughts and prayers are with you Joe and Akemi and the other dogs. I’ve been there and know how it hurts.

  67. I’m so sorry for your loss, Joe. You are the best doggy dad for giving Maximus every chance to stay with you as long as he could. He loved you so much he made the decision for you. Being able to go on knowing that you can look back on this without regret is a gift.

    RIP Max.

  68. I’m so sorry for your loss. We (my parents & I) had to make this decision for my 21 year old cat a few years ago. It’s never easy & even when you know it’s time.

  69. Oh Joe. I’m just crying. I’m about a week behind in your blogs, and I saw this in my email and knew what it had to be about. We’ve grown to love your dogs, so I am not surprised at the tears falling from my eyes right now and the swell of love that is pouring from my heart to you and Akemi in great sympathy. Maximus will always be remembered not only by you, but by all of us, as he touched the hearts of so many around the globe. May the wings of his love lift you all up in the road ahead as you grieve his loss. May you find comfort in the happy memories. Our family sends you cyber hugs of comfort. XXOO

  70. I’m so sorry Joe… I’m actually in tears here at work…good old Max he helped you make the decision…I think it was the right one…he passed with you with him….I’m thinking of you, Akemi and all the dogs at this difficult time…is there anything we can do?


    When I get home I’ll link to my fave Max photo

    I’m sooo sorry


  71. Darn.. Im so sorry Mr. M…… My thoughts and condolences go out to you. Very sad.

  72. I am so sorry for your loss, Joe. Max was a great pup. And you are a great dog owner. Condolences to you and your family in this difficult time.

  73. ♥இ≻–‵ ♥இ≻– ‵ ♥இ≻– ‵ ♥இ≻– ‵♥இ≻– ‵
    ♥இ≻–♥ In Celebration of Max’s Life ♥இ≻–♥
    ♥இ≻– ‵ ♥இ≻– ‵ ♥இ≻– ‵♥இ≻– ‵ ♥இ≻– ‵

    I am so very sorry Joe for your loss. You share your beautiful family with us in such a way it is hard to keep the tears back. Thank you for letting me come to know your sweet little family.

    *gives Joe a hug*

  74. I’m so sorry, Joe. I remember how much this hurts. Peace to you.


  75. Joe, my heart goes out to you and Akemi. It is never easy to make that final decision. I’ll bet he knew how much this choice bothered you. And in the end, Max decided for you. What a brave lad he is.

  76. My dog Sam is staring at me wondering why I’m crying. A dog I would not have had the courage to adopt if not for your kind words in May of last year when I lost my canine friend Rhet. I know what a shot to the gut this is. I still hurt a little each time I think about my loss. Over time it has become easier to remember the many good years and not just the tough time at the end. I will miss Max even though I only knew him through your many posts and pictures. He was a very good and very lucky dog. Thank you for sharing him with all of us. I wish you strength.

  77. So sorry Joe.
    It was the same thing that had us make the call for Jake and Scruffy.

  78. *hugs for Joe* I have tears in my eyes as I read your blog. I am so sorry. 🙁 I wish I could give you a hug in person. I never really knew Maximus only in pictures and through your blog. Yet…I am truly heartbroken and saddened by his passing as if I knew him personally. My thoughts and prayers are with you…Joe…Akemi…Jelly…Lulu…and Bubba.

  79. Even though a long coast separates us I always felt when I came home from work and read your blog that I was catching up with my friendliest neighbor and his family.

    Very sorry for your loss.

  80. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and Akemi. It was a pleasure getting to know Max through your blog.

  81. Of course you will miss Maximus. All of us here in this blog community will miss him.
    Condolences, sympathy and peace to all of you.

  82. Joe, I’m so sorry for your loss. You’re so great with your dogs, as the amount you talk about them, and how much time, effort, and money you put into extending Max’s life show. They’re all lucky to have you, as was Max, and I’m sure he loved and appreciated all the time he had with you.

  83. I’m so sorry to read about Max’s passing. I know it had to have been a hard and painful decision on your part, but it sounds like Max gave it his best shot and then left it up to you. I know how hard it was losing my Mandy 3 years ago. I still miss her but was ‘lucky’ (if you can call it that) in that she passed on at her own time, waiting for me to get home from work one day before finally letting go. You gave him a good life, better than a lot of dogs have been lucky enough to have, and Your life was the better for it. My heartfelt condolences to you and the rest of your family. Peace be with you.

  84. I’m sorry Joe – it’s never easy to let go of a beloved pet. You’ve got my deepest condolences. He sounded like a great boy and he’ll be missed. RIP Maximus.

  85. the tears are coming down for your little friend who had such a charming smile. I know you will miss him and so will I miss reading about him. You gave him the best life any dog could ever have and he gave you the most love any pet owner ever received. Know that I join you in sadness.

  86. so, so sorry for your loss. you did everything that you could for him. i know you’ll miss him, but he’s no longer in pain.

  87. As I started reading your blog entry for today, I feared the worst. By the end of it, I was crying as hard as when we had to put our own beloved animal to sleep because of a cancerous tumor in the roof of her mouth. After she slipped away from us, as Maximus has from you, all that’s left is the pain of loss…but not the pain of feeling that you cheated them out of extra time or condemned them to more suffering or less of the great life you’ve already given them. It’s easy to say and even easier to believe that Maximus is in a better place. And if Heaven is anywhere near half as good as they life he spent with you and Akemi and Bubba and Jelly and Lulu, then you can bet your ass that he really is in just as good if not better place. What’s left now is you, Akemi, Bubba, Jelly, and Lulu and fantastic memories and photos (all of your photos posted of Maximus since his diagnosis I have saved in my e-mail account) and those are great but they’re not the real thing so I’ll tell you what every family member I have tells me and I really do believe it: They’re waiting for you. When it’s your time, Maximus’ll be the one to come help you and bring you to whereever he is with him. In the meantime, they’ve never left you. I garauntee it, you’ll be sitting writing this blog or watching a football game and you’ll swear to God you feel him laying on your lap or his head sleeping on your foot or you’ll see him out of the corner of your eye still sleeping in his bed, curled up and contented. You’ll look at the bed or your foot or your lap and he won’t be there, you might tell yourself it’s a figment of your imagination, but don’t do that, don’t discredit how much love can transcend things like death. He’s still with you Joe, he’s just cloaked. Till the time comes when you can see him again: I’m so sorry for you, for Akemi, for Bubba, for Jelly, for Lulu.

    And for anyone else going through something like what’s happened over these past months, I hope this comment as well as this blog help you too.

    Sincerely, Samantha

  88. Dear sweet Maximus may you rest in peace you may have lived a short life but your impact on Joe and akemi hearts will last a lifetime.

  89. I am so sorry Joe. I had to do the same thing to my dog as well, and it is so heartbreaking. My condolences to you and the other pups.

  90. Sorry to hear about Max. This type of decision is a very hard one to make, just cherish all your memories of him.

  91. I’m so sorry, Joe. It’s a hard, gutwrenching thing to lose a dog. *hugs*

  92. Joe, Im so sorry for your loss, loosing a loved pet is just like loosing a member of ur family, it just plain hurts, I know u have many good memories of Maximus that u will cherish for ever… RIP Maximus

  93. Oh, Joe, I’m so sorry you had to make this decision. Even though a very privileged few of us have met the darling, the years of blogging with pics, video and detailed commentary made it feel like we all knew him personally. And loved him. He was such a lucky guy to have you as his parent, guardian and friend. My best friend was in shreds after she had to put down her first, beloved cat and I felt so helpless, but realized it really felt to her like losing a child. Wishing you and Akemi, and the other kids, strength of heart. (T__T;; )

  94. I’m crying here Joe… it’s like I’ve lost a pet I’ve come to love too.

    I haven’t commented much lately, but I’m a faithful reader of your blog and supporter of all that you do. My sincerest wishes go to you and the whole “family”. Maximus had a great life because of your love.


  95. So sorry, Joe. :*( I’ve made that decision before, and it sucks. Hugs, hugs, hugs for you, Akemi, and the pups.

  96. I am crying as I write this, but I know that Maximus is now looking down on you thinking how lucky he was to have a Dad as good as you.

  97. Always a lurker, hardly ever a commenter, but I wanted to offer my sympathies to you and the rest of the gang. From what I’ve seen on the blog, Maximus lived one heck of a dog-life thanks to you. I raise my glass to you and your buddy.

  98. Big hugs to you Joe, and all your family. Losing one of your best friends and sidekick never gets easier, but if there is a heaven, he´ll be waiting for you there, full of life and mischief for his best buddy´s return to him.

    I never got around to thanking you for the email you sent me when I had to let go of my friend, but know that it warmed my heart and lifted my spirits. I now have a new little kid to fill my days with laughter and love ( an 8 month old chorkie!), and I look forward to the years ahead.

    Feel our love and warmth in this time of sadness.


  99. Teary-eyed like others, I also offer my condolences. Even knowing you were doing the right thing, I can’t imagine how hard this morning was for you. I hope the great times you had with Maximus overcome the sadder memories. I know that’s easier said than done. Time helps.

  100. Aww, little Max… my condolences to you and your family. He had a good life and a wonderful friend in you!

  101. Joe, My sincere condolences.

    Last April we lost our beloved cat of 17 years. Pipar (Pepper) was with us since she was a 6 week old kitten. She saw all 3 of our children born and moved 3 times with us. She was as much part of the family as the children. She always acted like a kitten , but she stated slowing in the past few year and this past winter was a brutal one and it for sure took a toll on her. She slowed in her final months and I had to build stairs to help her get onto the sofa and our bed where she preferred to sleep. In her final days she could barely move and we confined her to our bedroom where we had already set up her food and an additional litter box. The last night she was with us I picked her up and I believe she could no longer see, but manged to give me a purr. My wife and I talked and I was going to call the vet in the morning. That night she meowed early in the morning hours. I got out of bed and petted her while she took her final breaths. I can take comfort in knowing she did not suffer much if at all and her final moments were knowing she was loved.

    We have since added a new kitten and a puppy to our family. While we do love these animals we still do miss our Pipar.


  102. Hugs to you and Akemi. He was a very handsome little guy with a perfect doggy smile.

  103. I’m sorry Joe, my condolences.

    You did everything you could, more than the vast majority would do, so you should feel no guilt.

    Remember the good times and that Max had a great life

  104. My deepest sympathies and condolences to you, Akemi and all the rest of the best brood in the hemisphere.

    I had to let go of my own cat, Rascal, last week Tuesday, and wasn’t even expecting it. He seemed to be really not feeling well, so I took him in for a look and he weighed half his normal weight (he was at 6 pounds). I left him for blood testing, and five minutes before an extremely important medical appointment for myself, I got the call and found out he was in the final stages of kidney failure, and that there was nothing the Vet could do.

    So after my medical appointment, where I found out that I’m bi-polar, I had to let my best little buddy of 8 years go. I had to be there for him. I wasn’t about to let him pass away with someone he’d only meet a few hours earlier. So I know what it’s like, in the immediate, where you have to do something that you know is the right thing for them but breaks your own heart. Knowing that they won’t be snuggling against you again. Ever.

    So here’s my best /internet-man-hug that I can give you. I hope the others take Maximus’ absence well. I know that they’ll definitely be supporting you…

  105. Sorry to find the Max update.

    Gone through the same thing with my dog.

    Our four-legged friends will usually go before us.


    I am still reading the blog.

  106. To be honest, I’m one of those people who don’t pamper pets as much as it seems most on this blog do. But while I don’t agree with spending large amounts of money on a pet, thinking back the only time I have ever cried over the death of anyone was when I was 13 and our family Retriever was put down. And I cried a lot. So while I don’t agree with it, I can understand it, and you’ve done a good, honest thing by doing all you could for your pet. If you treat humans the same way you treat animals, then you are a first rate human being.

  107. Joe, I am soooo sorry to hear about sweet Max. I hope you can feel all the prayers and love coming to you and your family. I have been very touched by the love and devotion you give to all you dogs. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Jami

  108. Joe,

    I’m so so sorry that you had to do this… But, I think indeed Max told you he was ready. I doubt that made it easier, and I know you, Akemi and the other dogs will miss him for a very long time. I never met him, although through this blog I feel like a friend, and I too, will miss reading about him. Peace be with you all.

  109. I’m sorry to hear about your loss Joe. I know it might not sound like much but you should rest easy knowing that you did everything you could to make it easier for him. RIP Maximus.

  110. I’m so sorry. It is a very hard decision. I had to make that decision with my 2 cats within 6 months of each other. They were my babies, but I didn’t want them to suffer… big hugs to you Joe xxx

  111. You’ve absolutely nothing to reproach yourself for Joe, you’ve done everything humanly possible for Max and given him a very happy life. *hugs*

  112. Really sorry Joe. I think we’ve all grown to love Max and the others, he will probably be one of the most missed dogs on the Internet. Big hugs for the other dogs. xx

  113. I am sorry Joe. You did above and beyond what most people would do for their dogs. I think he knew that and that is why he gave you those flashes of his old self: things to remember him by. He also wanted you to know that he was going to fight it as long as he could so he could spend more time, final times, with his pack. But I think you were right in thinking that he was saying “Ok, it’s time.”. At least you got that final night sleep with him, as where I did not with mine.

  114. I’m so sorry, Joe :'( You did everything you could to help your little guy through and you were there for him at the end.

    We’ll all miss him too.

  115. I’ m so sorry for your loss Joe. All my prayers and thoughts with you, Akemie and the other dogs.
    I know how you’re feeling. My dog Vela died four weeks ago. I know, how hard it is, when you must make that decision.

    Remember all the good times with Max.

  116. Deepest sympathies on your loss. Seeing your lovely dogs on the blog make me wish I had one (or many) and miss my family dog with my parents.

  117. My condolences. I’m sorry for your loss. Max’s beautiful light shined brightly, and he will not be forgotten.

    Rest in peace, Max.

  118. It saddened me to hear about Maximus, Joe. I’m a long time lurker here, but your loss moved me to write. My deepest sympathies and condolences to you and Akemi. My wifes nephew lost their pug and I helped them create a youtube video as a memorial to their family member. It might help if you gather up photos and consider doing something similar for family and friends to help remember him. Here is the video I made if you wanted to see it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxPbjyi25qM

  119. Joe, I was heartbroken to hear the news about Maximus. I’m very sorry for your loss.

    Maximus was much loved, and I know he had a very long and happy life with you. Even though you had advanced notice, nothing can prepare you for the loss of a cherished family member. Although he is now gone, you can take solace in the fact that he is no longer suffering.

  120. Joe,

    I very much enjoy reading your blog. Besides your intelligent musing and wit, you are a gentleman of the high order. I appreciate the time you have taken to bring us into your live and introduce us to your pets and home. I am glad you left us with a picture of Maximus enjoying live on that Sunny Vancouver day (Though I never met Max, that picture does make me smile). I have a similar picture I keep as a screen saver of a departed pet as he sunned himself at my parent’s Florida Key residence.

    I am sure you did your best for Maximus. And while have anxious moments, he trusted you. I fact you did more for Maximus than I could ever do in a similar situation. But a numbing drive back to the home makes the reality of things no less. My Condolences and wishes for better days.

  121. I’m so sorry Joe, I think we all felt like we knew Max through following this blog so we can feel some of your sense of loss. As someone who has lost dogs in the past, I know that he will never be forgotten.

  122. Hi Joe. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how you are feeling and wish there was something comforting to say. You know a bunch of folks are with you.

  123. I have no idea who you are or what this blog is about, but reading this makes me want go and wake my dog up and give him a stroke.

    I am very sorry, mate.

  124. Oh Joe, I am so sorry to hear about Maximus. My condolences.
    Remember: you made the best decision you could and you did the best you could for him while he was ill and healthy too. You were both lucky to have each other. In the end, he went with dignity. Perhaps, that is the most important thing. Hopefully, the good memories will help you and all who knew Max smile and laugh through this trying time.

  125. I fall a little behind in my blog reading and miss an entry like this!

    I am so sorry, I can’t even imagine having to make that decision. I’ve never had a dog, and never will so I can’t even come close to understanding.

    When I was younger I would babysit for my neighbors every week, and then one week they canceled the day before because the kids were going to go with their grandparents for a cousin sleepover since there was no school the rest of the week. The parents came home from their weekly meeting to find the family dog (the dad had this dog before he even met his wife) dead in the garage. I was so thankful to not have been home with the kids for that! The next week they were still devastated.

    Akemi, give him another hug, I’m sure you could both use it!

    All my condolences-

  126. I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for having shared Maximus with us in your blog . Your love for him shone through .You did everything you could to help Maximus and when the time came you had to take the difficult decision, you did it not to make your life easier but to make his suffering stop , and that is showing love too.
    I’m sorry this is late ( I had no access to the net) but just wanted to send you and Akemi hugs.

  127. I’m sorry I’ve been away from the blog for a few days, only learning this news now. You and Akemi have my sympathies.

  128. Dear Joe, I am sorry you had to make such a sad decision. You were very brave. Making that decision is never easy and the only consolation arising from such a difficult decision is that a loving and trusted family member is now pain free.

    I just wish my BFF would understand this. She has a 19yo cat who has kidney problems & Alzheimers and I just cannot understand why she refuses to be of more help to her loving & faithful friend. She would certainly have a more restful night’s sleep, rather than getting out of bed at all hours because the cat has forgotten where the bedroom is :/


  129. Joe, my internet has been down for several days so I was unable to read your blog until today. I am so sorry about Maximus. We have had the priviledge of having wonderful dogs ourselves and experienced similar loss as well with our two much loved labs. I know how much Maximus will be missed.


  130. Dear Joseph and Akemi, I am so sorry for your loss and my dearest sympathies for having to make such a difficult decision. Thanks to your writing, I’ve had the privilege of sharing your love for Maximus and the menagerie. He was a good dog that had the fortune of leading a great life in a loving home. Now, his spirit is in a better place and his suffering is over.

  131. haven’t been here for a while… then saw this..sorry Joe.

    My condolences.. Maxi was a lovely dog and I loved reading about him and love that smiley face pic. One of my faves.

    My JRT is now passed. I too had to make the decision that you did… Riley was blind, 14 and riddled with cancer and had become very paranoid and as a result, attacked me. I now have one mangled fingertip (which is not typing this ..)that I had to have plastic surgery on ..the vet advised that we euthanise him before he attacked my two boys.

    Hope all is well with you…need to catch up on your blog.

  132. Hey Joe,

    I just found out about this today after seeing your “Remembering Maximus” post, and I hope I’m not opening up old wounds.

    I would just like to offer my condolences on his passing. Maximus was a great doggie and it was always a joy to see pictures and videos of him here, whether he was lazing about, smiling widely for the camera, or puttering around with the other dogs. I am so sorry all of these things happened.

    At the end of the day, I guess it was just his time. The point is though, he lived a wonderful life amongst a wonderful family that loved him very much, and that’s what matters the most, I believe.

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