Our Gentle Giants

The story of two Floridians and their foster Great Danes

September 29th, 2015

How Max Found His Way Home

By Tara
Tags: , ,

Here is the timeline of the past 2 weeks:

Saturday, September 12th

Ana’s third Petco event was two Saturdays ago. She did great! There were a couple of families who were interested in her, but nobody was very serious. It was a particularly special event because our friend, Jayme, was able to make it with her two Great Danes, Ace and Delilah. If you don’t know, Jayme is the one who brought our first foster, Bubba, to Great Dane Love. She doesn’t work directly with GDL, but she is a friend of the rescue. She volunteers down at a Humane Society in South Florida and when Bubba, our first foster, came in looking mentally and physically awful, she knew that he wouldn’t stand a chance there and contacted Great Dane Love. You can read more about his story at the shelter and with us in this post.

This was taken at the end of the event. We were all exhausted.

This was taken at the end of the event. We were all exhausted. Jayme’s dogs are the Merle and Black Danes to the left.

Back to the Petco event. Jayme was there with her dolls and mentioned to me in passing that there is a 13 year old Great Dane/Mastiff mix at the shelter. We talked about how sad that is. It’s sad because he’s an insanely old giant breed (Great Danes and Mastiffs don’t usually live past 10) and he’s in an “open admission shelter”:

An “Open Admission” shelter is oftentimes referred to as a “Kill Shelter.” This type of shelter will accept all animals. There is no appointment necessary before surrendering. There are no age limitations, behavioral requirements, or health standards necessary to surrender your animal. As a result, shelters like these are often forced to euthanize in order to protect the health and safety of their general shelter population.

Source: Pet360

Nobody was going to give him a chance.

For the rest of the day, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I wanted to save him. After our experience with Bubba nearly being euthanized despite being a perfect dog and Rocco dying in foster care because he was old and sick, I couldn’t ignore this Mastiff mix. I knew he wasn’t going to live for very long and wanted him to die in our arms instead of on a dirty, concrete floor.

So I contacted the shelter while we were at Petco.

This shelter is over 2 hours away from our home. The Petco we were at was in between our home and the shelter. We figured there would be no harm in driving another hour and 15 minutes to meet this dude. So once the event was over, we packed Roxie and Ana in the car and raced down to the shelter. We got there 30 minutes before they closed and we got to meet Max.

He was such a sweetheart. They brought him out to a fenced-in area and he met Roxie and Ana and got along fine with them. He fell in love with Christian, mostly because Christian gives the best tummy rubs.

Once it was time for the shelter to close, Christian and I exchanged one look. We wanted Max. And we wanted him right then and there.

We didn’t know how he was with cats. He didn’t come into the shelter with very much history. Mia had a particularly bad first experience with giant dogs. Bubba was very hyper and would lunge at her and she was terrified of him. She hid the whole time he was with us. Thankfully, Rocco and Ana were/are more relaxed around Mia, so she is fine with them. But what about Max?

They offered to take Max into the cat room to meet the resident cat, who is always cool, calm, and collected.

What did Max do when he met her?

He sniffed her briefly, and moved on.

He was perfect. And he was going to be ours.

We were all set to take him home with us that very minute, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a hold of our landlord in time. Once we did get a hold of her, a few hours later, she gave us her blessing to bring another dog into her house!

Tuesday, September 15th

The next day we could pick up Max was the Tuesday after we met him. As much as we wanted to, we decided we shouldn’t. We had a trip to Pennsylvania planned for the following week and had no one to take care of Max for us. Boarding him was not an option. What if he developed Kennel Cough and was turned away? We had no plan B. So we had to wait 2 weeks. 2 long weeks. They weren’t able to hold him for us, which was completely understandable. We hoped that he would be adopted by the time we got back.

Well, he wasn’t.

Tuesday, September 29th

We adopted Max today!

Like I said earlier, the shelter is over 2 hours away from us. Jayme, being the sweetheart that she is, offered to pick him up and meet us halfway at a Petsmart. We met up with her and B from Great Dane Love and made the exchange (hugs in exchange for Max).

Look at how adorable he is! His head is super blocky and I love it. He looks sad in the second photo, but he was actually looking at a small dog standing next to me.

Look at how adorable he is! His head is super blocky and I love it. He looks sad in the second photo, but he was actually looking at a small dog standing next to me.

We met at Petsmart because we wanted him to be bathed and checked out by the vet before we brought him home. He was absolutely filthy at the shelter. He was cleaner when we met him today, but only because Jayme had given him two baths: an iodine bath and a regular bath. He was still stinky and had some inflamed skin.

The groomer said he did a great job! He was lovely to everyone. His ears were particularly gross and parts of his body smelled yeasty, but they were able to clean him up for the time being. He is so soft and squishy. I can’t wait to finish this blog post and go cuddle up on him!

Next, we headed to Banfield (the vet within Petsmart). We have used Banfield as Roxie’s primary vet for her entire life (over 10 years) and have been ridiculously satisfied with them. Their insurance rates are super reasonable and it covers so, so much.

He was an absolute love to us and to everyone he met at Banfield. When we were in the waiting room, all he wanted was to be loved on by me and Christian.



Then the vet assistant came in and all he wanted was love from her. She took him back and they drew blood form him. When she came back, she was gushing about how good he was before she even entered the room completely! She said he got on his side immediately and allowed them to draw blood.

The vet came in and did an exam. He was perfectly pleasant through the whole thing. He wasn’t a fan of him poking around in his ears, but he didn’t fight him off.

His blood work hasn’t come back yet, but most of his tests returned normal results! Healthy so far!

By the way, the vet took a look at his teeth and guessed his age was 8. 8 years old! Frankly, this is definitely believable. Max is healthy and spry. But how could the owner tell the shelter he was 13? A 4-5 year difference? It actually kind of made me mad. He would have had such a better chance at getting adopted if they knew he was under 10 years old.

Doesn’t matter now. We are thoroughly in love with him and are glad nobody adopted him while we were away. Now he’s alllll ours!


We brought him home and re-introduced him to everyone. Roxie doesn’t care about him (as we expected). Ana initially smelled him but then ignored him (she was home alone all day and was eager to go potty and eat dinner). Mia was curious and a little nervous, but she’s totally fine now and is bravely walking around the house. And as for Max? Well, he has found a spot on the cool tile to call his very own.

Welcome to the family, Max!


  • Jill Wilder September 29, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Love love love reading your story about Max. I’m puzzled why his former owner was so wrong on his age but ultimately, that will give you guys more lovey time with him. Glad the meet and greeting has been so uneventful. This gives Ana more experiences as well. You two are awesome!

    • Tara September 29, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      I was thrilled to hear he was younger! We were falling more and more in love with him with every passing minute today. It’s nice to know we likely have more than just a few months with him.

      Yeah, one of the most frustrating things about rescuing/fostering is not always having the whole picture.

      I think Ana will really benefit from having a playmate. Hopefully he’ll play with her. We’ll see tomorrow! Everyone passed out after dinner and now I’m rounding them all up for bed.

  • Tashena Shaw September 30, 2015 at 12:31 pm


    • Tara September 30, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      <3 back atcha!

  • Adriana Todd September 30, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    What a wonderful story. And what a kind heart you have. I am so happy Max found a home. I had tears in my eyes the entire time reading this. I love dogs. I can’t wait to have a home where we can start fostering. Thank you.

    • Tara September 30, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks for your kind words :) We are so lucky to have landlords that are okay with big dogs. Hopefully we’ll continue to be that lucky if we need to move.

  • Ashley September 30, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    LOVE this post. Congrats on the new addition to the family! He’s a cutie!

    • Tara September 30, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      Thank you! I’m so in love with him <3

  • Tamara September 30, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    This is so sweet and it’s great that you get more time! We have a rescue, too, and I love reading other people’s stories.

    • Tara September 30, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      Really? What’s the rescue?

  • Post a comment

  • Our Gentle Giants » Anastasia’s Quirks September 29, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    […] were at a Petco event last weekend for 3 hours (the same event where Jayme told us about Max). Roxie and Ana were pooped. We opened the trunk of the car to throw our stuff inside, when Ana […]

  • Our Gentle Giants » Our Hellish Week November 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    […] us is that he died in our arms (technically, Christian’s arms). He died surrounded by love. We really did rescue him back in September. According to his bio, he was an extremely old Mastiff. Plus, he was at an open-access shelter […]