Because old dogs can’t speak for themselves, we need to try to decipher their stories for them. In some cases this is easier to do than in others.
We were told that when Zeke was surrendered to the shelter by his owner on New Year’s Eve he was depressed, emaciated, covered in fleas, not neutered, heartworm positive and had several tumors. This led us to create the story of a neglectful owner who willfully let this dog suffer. We found out today that we were wrong.
We found out today that the man who turned Zeke in to the shelter was an 86-year old veteran who rescued him from a bad situation with a family member. The man wanted more than anything to give Zeke a wonderful life but financial limitations made it difficult for him to provide enough food, let alone any medical care. And physical limitations made it difficult for him to care for a dog at all. He was in tears when he left Zeke at the shelter, but he was doing the only thing he thought he could do to give Zeke a chance, even if it meant losing his old friend.
When we found out about the financial issues, we offered to pay for Zeke’s food and medical care for the rest of his life so that the two of them could be reunited (Thank you to our donors for making it possible for us to even contemplate making that offer!). As it turns out, the shelter had already had that conversation with the man, who said his physical limitations and health problems made it more than a financial issue. He was physically having trouble just taking care of himself. When shelter staff called the man to let him know that Zeke would be joining us at Retired Retrievers, the man started sobbing and said, “that old dog deserves a good few last years.”
We also found out today that Zeke’s real name is Max. Shelter staff named him Zeke in lieu of not having a name, but someone who was working when Zeke arrived was also working this morning when our volunteers arrived to pick him up. They said the man was calling him Max. Okay, so Zeke is now Max. Or Max has always been Max. We were just calling him Zeke. Anyway, his real name is Max.
Max is one lucky boy. Our friends Jenn and Jessica picked him up from the shelter this morning and drove him from Edgewater, FL, to St. Augustine, FL. There he met up with Amanda and Jim, who drove him from St. Augustine to the Florida/Georgia border (This was just one of Jim and Amanda’s two volunteer transports today). We met them at the Florida/Georgia border and drove him the rest of the way to Savannah.
As is customary for all of our rescue dogs, we took Max through the McDonald’s drive-thru for his Freedom Burger on our way up I-95. We don’t typically feed the dogs fast food, but we believe that any dog who has been in a shelter for any period of time deserves to be spoiled on the day he gets out. The first day of the rest of their lives is a cause for celebration.
Today’s Freedom Burger was compliments of two adorable girls in Minnesota. Lucy and Becca sent us a Christmas card that included a McDonald’s gift card in it to be used specifically for Freedom Burgers. As you can see in the photo, Max was very appreciative of their kindness. We usually need to unwrap the burgers for the dogs and we sometimes break them into smaller pieces, but Max dove right in and helped himself. Thank you to Lucy and Becca for making this old shelter dog so happy.
What we know so far about Max is that he is a very sweet boy who deserves a family of his own. We think he is 8-9 years old. He seems to be housebroken. He rides well in the car. He gets along with other dogs. Despite his health issues, which are all fixable, he is in really great shape. He’s going to make a wonderful companion for someone. And he’s already handsome, but once he gets some weight on him and a little TLC he is going to be gorgeous.
Thank you to Jenn, Jessica, Amanda, and Jim for spending part of their weekend helping an old dog get a second (or third) chance at happiness. And thank you to the staff and veterinarians at the Edgewater Animal Shelter for taking such great care of Max and making sure he gets to enjoy his retirement years.
If you would like to help cover the costs of Max’s medical care, please click here to donate. And we are still looking for a foster home in the Savannah area; if you think this could be you please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
Welcome to the Retired Retrievers family, Max. We’re so glad you’re here!