Some of the dogs adopted from rescue need ongoing extra care. If you have to go the extra mile because your dog has extra needs, keep us informed on his/her progress.

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Postby LabLover » 11 Jun 2014, 23:35

It was the 13 June 2011 when Jim and I set off to MKF with some goodies. Glenys was out at the time so I asked Sam if we could go and make a fuss of the doggies and give them a biscuit. When we got to Max’s kennel I thought OMG poor thing he was so thin, his coat was a mess dull and patchy and his eyes dull and so sad yet he took his gravy bone ever so gentle. Little did I know but Jim kept going back to his kennel giving him another biscuit while I was talking to Sam. That night Glenys called to thank us for the goodies and got talking about little Max who had just been brought in. Glenys said she needed an urgent foster home for him because he was so severely underweight and needed to make sure it was just due to neglect and that there was nothing else wrong, Max was only 16 months old. I called Glenys back soon after to say we would love to foster Max providing he got on with our boys Milo & Zak so Glenys suggested we take them down to meet Max and well no problem what so ever. I remember all the way home in the car Max sat on Jim’s knee snuggling into his shoulder I knew then that Max was already on his way to his forever home.

Max had no interest in food it was like he didn’t know what to do and just looked at his bowl and then would go and lie on the dog bed. The next morning we took them all out and it was so sweet cos Max was in the middle of Milo & Zak and all of a sudden he gave each of them a lick on the face as if to say thank you for letting me into your home. Out walking Max’s tail just hung straight down and it was clear he hadn’t been out very much, he also didn’t know about toys or what to do with them. Gradually with coaxing and patience plus watching Milo & Zak and also having a routine Max started to enjoy his food, treats and especially his pig’s ears. Max was regularly monitored by our vet Ruth and within weeks soon began putting on weight. He was also more confident, loved to play with toys and started wagging his tail when out on walks. Although Glenys had said I could pick his forever home I knew it would break my heart to let him go and think it would have set Max back because it was clear he had developed a bond with Jim, me, Milo and Zak. Eventually Jim agreed it was right Max belonged here with us and so on the 21 July off we went to see Glenys to officially adopt him.

Max the first day we fostered him (sorry if the pic upsets anyone)


Months went by and Max continued to flourish gaining weight, shiny coat, looked forward to meal times, playing with his bruv’s especially Milo and also lavished the love and cuddles. Although Max was more confident and had started to develop his own character some noises still scared him.

Suddenly in the December Max started with a bad tummy upset which wouldn’t clear and after numerous visits to Ruth (our vet) who initially suggested a change of diet, as she thought he might have developed an allergy to chicken together with a course of steroids she decided to refer him to a specialist at North West Surgeons in Cheshire. Unfortunately, we had to wait a month as the steroids needed to be completing out of his system first.

So in March 2012 we went to see Rebecca at North West Surgeons who after examining Max and chatting about his problems suspected it was IBD but said he would need tests to be 100% certain and also to establish the type of IBD as there are 4 different types. She explained one of the tests they carry out they have to keep a log of the number of times they have performed it, as there is a risk the bowel could be perforated and if that happened Max would need emergency surgery to repair it. She did say she had done it 1,000 times and it had never happened so I just prayed to god it wouldn’t happen on the 1,001 time. What Jim and I weren’t prepared for was that we would need to leave Max 2 days and it broke our hearts when Max cried and pulled to us as we left. I just cried all the way home as I couldn’t stop thinking what must be going through Max’s head other than why don’t they want me now, I really felt we had let him down but knew there was no other option. I have to say even though we had Milo & Zak the house felt so empty without Max and it was the longest 2 days ever.

When we went to pick Max up Rebecca confirmed it was IBD and that his body wasn’t absorbing B12 (folic). I asked why all of a sudden he had developed this, as he had been eating all sorts of treats and never shown any sign of an upset tummy until recently. Rebecca said although it can be genetic due to Max’s past and him not being properly cared for his gut will have been damaged and not developed properly and although he’d been able to eat all the things he had been given there sometimes comes a time when the gut just suddenly starts to reject them and won’t tolerate them anymore. Rebecca prescribed medication and also put Max on an exclusion diet of boiled potato and fish 3 times a day plus a vitamin.

Max had to go for regularly blood tests and 3 months on with his mummy’s cooking he had put on 3.5kg and had affectionately been nicknamed Mr Potato Head by his daddy. Max could no longer have anything other than fish and potatoes so to make the potatoes different as a treat I chopped them into cubes and baked them in the over, also it’s a bit difficult talking boiled potatoes out on walks. As Max was doing so well on the diet Rebecca asked if I was happy to continue cooking for him, anything that would make him better I was more than happy to do. Over the coming months Max did have an odd flare up but it was only odd and we knew it could happen even though he was on medication but it still worried us the good thing was that Ruth & Rebecca were always on hand to support us. You could always tell when a flare up was starting as when you put Max’s bowl down he would just sit and look at it then look at you with his sad eyes as if to say, sorry mummy but I don’t think I can eat this and walk away.

Max eventually after 10 months in Jan 2013 was allowed to go on a prescription diet prescribed by Rebecca which he loved but also continued having his fish 3 times a day plus potato treats. He was doing really well and continued to gain weight but a couple of weeks after changing his diet Max had a flare up which at first we thought maybe was to do with the food he’d been put on but after checking with Ruth and Rebecca they said it was just a coincidence and that it was another flare up. The flare up’s then started to get more regular and lasting longer and longer which meant sometimes he didn’t eat for 7 days, plus he had also started to be sick with them sometimes. As we always took him to Ruth each time this also confirmed he was rapidly losing weight and so decided to put him on a course of steroids. It was heartbreaking to see the sadness in his eyes with the discomfort he was in and made us feel so helpless, there was one day I had to turn round from a walk because he was struggling. A week later there was still no improvement and again Max had lost more weight so Ruth contacted Rebecca who asked to see him straight away and also for Ruth to do some blood tests in advance.

Rebecca asked us lots of questions and said it was good that we were so observant with Max and that she was going to double the steroid dose to see if it helps as it was really important that Max didn’t lose any more weight. She asked us to call next week with an update but for us to take him to be weighed first. She said that Max was lucky to have found us but we said we felt luckier that we had found him. We didn’t see any improvement with the increase dose but knew we had to give it a chance to get into his system, yet all we could see was our boy wasting away in front of us and the sadness in his eyes said it all, I felt helpless that there was nothing I could do other than cuddle him in my arms and will him to fight to pull through this. In 6 days Max had lost just over 1kg and was now under 21kg, I called Rebecca in hysterics she was so lovely and told me not to worry but I said you didn’t want him to lose any more weight and nothings no longer working for him. Rebecca explained that unfortunately, 1 in 10 of dogs with IBD steroids don’t work for and it seems that Max is one who falls into that category. She continued to reassure me and said there was another drug she could prescribe called Atopica which is normally used for dogs with skin allergies and that she would email Ruth with details of dosage etc and to make an appointment to see her. She said we would still need to continue with original medication as well.

When we went to see Ruth she said it was also a new learning curve to them about using Atopica for IBD and that Rebecca had recommended putting Max on the highest dosage for his weight and had asked for certain bloods to be taken two weeks later but more importantly they also had to be taken exactly 12 hours after Max had taken the Atopica, this would also apply to future blood tests should the Atopica work. This wasn’t going to be a stumble block for us as we knew no matter what we would work round it. When we took Max back two weeks later for bloods he had also gained a little bit of weight but the bloods showed that even though Max was on the maximum dosage his body still wasn’t absorbing it so Rebecca recommended the dosage be increased by another 50mg and for further bloods to be taken two weeks later, again when we took him back he had gained a little more weight but the bloods still showed he wasn’t absorbing the dosage and so it was increased again by another 50mg to 200mg. When we had to take him back again for bloods two weeks later this time it showed the levels were right. Max continued to gain weight was eating his meals and fingers crossed hadn’t had a flare up. The bloods taken two weeks later again showed the level was still right and was booked in again in 2 weeks time. In the meantime we were going away on hol to the lodge in South Wales and half way through the holiday I noticed Max’s fur was starting to fall out not in clumps but individual hairs and leaving him with bold patches. Max was still doing well though with eating and still no flare ups. When we took him on the Monday for bloods I mentioned it to Ruth so after a chat with Rebecca they decided to do skin scraps and plucks to check it wasn’t mites as apparently all dogs are born with a certain one which lay’s dormant but can be brought on by stress and given what Max had been through they thought this could be the cause of why his fur was failing out. The results came back negative which was good but the bloods taken at the same time showed that Max was now absorbing too much of the Atopica so it was reduced by 50mg. Over the next month the 2 weekly bloods showed all was ok but on the next test it again showed Max was absorbing too much and so the level was reduced again back to the original 100mg. The good news also was that Max still hadn’t had a flare up and was eating and enjoying all his meals and at last we felt we had turned a corner.

As Max’s blood levels remained ok over the next 6 weeks it was decided we only needed to take Max for bloods once a month which we did up until the end of November. Max then went for a monthly check over in December and January and because he was doing so well and now weighed just over 30kg which Ruth said anywhere between 29kg and 30kg is about right for him she didn’t want to see him for 3 months. In March when we went back although he had had a slight flare up a couple of weeks earlier which was nothing compared to the ones before has he had still eaten and it was just his poo that wasn’t good plus you could smell the fish on him which happens when the gut isn’t working properly and so somehow releases out the odour through the pores. Ruth explained this could still happen from time to time and so long as it was only the odd time and that the flare ups weren’t lasting then she wouldn’t be concerned. She said if they did start to become more frequent and severe again then it might they would need to increase the atopica and on that note she signed him off. The only thing we have to do is to take Max ourselves to the surgery to be weighed just to make sure he’s maintaining his weight.

It’s a pleasure watching Max enjoying his food the first bowl he always goes for is his fish and he will do anything for a potato treat both of which I cook freshly each day for him. Although we have always had a routine for the boys feeding time it’s more important now that we keep to it for Max and it’s quite funny cos if we go a few minutes past Max now comes and keeps pawing you on the leg as if to say “well where’s my meal”. It’s also nice that Max can now have an Antler to chew on but only for 20 mins as they are made of 100% natural ingredients plus good for cleaning teeth.

Max also had cherry eye when we got him but didn’t bother him until March (same time he was signed off with his IBD) when his 3rd inner eyelid swelled. At first Ruth thought he might have got something in it which had irritated it but couldn’t find anything although, tests did show that he had some inflammation and so was prescribed drops. As the first drops didn’t appear to be working he was prescribed some stronger ones and when these didn’t work was referred to an eye specialist.

We couldn’t believe how good he was with the tests he had to go through Debra (the specialist) even pushed the inner eye lid back in using a cotton bud (not one to try at home) and thought the inflammation was due to him banging or rubbing his eye. She said she could operate and anchor the cherry eye down but given the size and that it had never caused Max a problem before if it was her dog she would leave which we also agreed was the right thing to do, plus we think it makes him look so cute and it wouldn’t be Max without it.

However, what the tests did show was that Max has a small cataract in each eye but are not causing any problems to his vision given the size. She said it’s quite common for pups to be born with then this size and sometimes never get any bigger but given it was the first time she has seen Max she wants to see him again in September to re check them and if they are still the same size with check them again in 12 months time. so will keep you posted.

Max really is a very special boy when you think of what he went through in his previous life and then the fight he had on with his IBD it’s seems so unfair, as he’s the most loving boy you could every wish to meet. Max is very much a mummy’s boy and always wants to be with me, although he will now go in the lounge if I’m in the kitchen cos he knows he can keep still his eye on me. I think it’s lovely Max is like that as it shows there is a special bond that we have developed between us. We feel so privileged to have Max as part of our family and although it has been a roller coaster ride and heartbreaking at times just knowing we have helped to turn his life around and to see him so happy now and enjoying life makes it all worthwhile. As with Milo & Zak we really love and cherish Max more than words can say and although he’s a big boy now to us he will always be our Little Max. One thing for sure is that no matter what we will never ever give up on him.

Here's a couple of recent pictures of our Little Max

Waiting for my potatoes



Amanda & Jim x
Amanda Jim & Fynley xxx

Remembering our beloved boys Milo, Little Max & Zak who forever will always be in our hearts and never forgotten Feb 2003 to May 2016, Jan 2010 to Jun 2017 & Nov 2004 to Nov 2017.
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Postby Joe + Hilary » 12 Jun 2014, 00:10

What a brave little trouper he is. I think you are super doing him fish and potatoes every day. Your post was sad but hopeful, I felt for Max and you when you describe his eyes looking sad. I hope you keep him well for ages, he sounds such a special chap, no wonder you love him so much. His photos at the end a lovely, he's so handsome.

for you: :love3:

for little Max :love2: :bighug:

Hilary, Tuppence & Rowley
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Postby jackie » 12 Jun 2014, 08:16

I am pleased you took him on not sure he would have had such dedicated foster parents. WHat a time he has had but thanks to all your hard work he is now enjoying life. Those photos are gorgeous :love5: :love5:

Jackie x
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Postby Lins » 12 Jun 2014, 09:01

Totally agree with Jackie. A Big thank you :love3:
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Postby Glenys » 12 Jun 2014, 10:28

That is a most wonderful story of a special dog and two dedicated people who turned his life around.
I know Jim and Amanda have done all this without question and their love for their dogs is total.
I asked Amanda to do this story for the site so that people know that sometimes taking on a rescue dog is definitely warts and all a real vocation and also this is an inspirational story too because often people ring and want a rescue dog but also say "I don't want one with problems".

Thank you for what you have done for little Max xxx
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Postby littleorp2 » 12 Jun 2014, 12:20

He's a lovely lucky boy whi I'm sure loves you to bits, just as you do him you wouldn't think he was the same dog
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Postby coco-bean » 12 Jun 2014, 14:31

Little Max you are so beautiful. :bighug: :love4:

Your story was sad and happy and I loved reading it.

Yes it made my eyes leak.

Your Mum and Dad deserve these :love3: :love3: and more.

Your pictures are so so wonderful.

Milo and Zak for being so cute and good brothers. :bighug: :bighug: :love4: :love4:
Debbie, Coco & Kinder X

Who ever said diamonds are a girls best friend..... Never owned a Labrador or two
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Postby juliefarrar1 » 12 Jun 2014, 15:25

Wow … What a wonderful story, I have the tears in the eyes… What dedication and devotion to Max.. So pleased things turned out well and what a stunning boy you are… :love5: xx

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Postby mollie » 12 Jun 2014, 16:52

Lovely post Amanda. I remember Max coming in to Rescue. Fantastic what you, Jim, Milo and Zak have done for him.

Having spent some time with Max a few weeks back I can say he is every bit as gorgeous as his photos - and is a picture of health.

All credit to you Amanda for your home cooking that has probably (with the help of your fantastic vet) saved Max's life.

:love3: :love3: :love3:
Mr Bumpy - always in our hearts xx

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Postby lucys mum » 12 Jun 2014, 17:17

What a lovely story and what a lucky boy Max is to have such a lovely family, he is beautiful :love5:
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Postby JacksDad » 12 Jun 2014, 21:26

Well done to all of you. The way he looks at you says it all. :bighug:
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Postby postman Al » 12 Jun 2014, 21:28

I am a 53yr old male and reading this story about little Max brought a lump to my throat, the poor little man has been through so much, thank goodness he found a wonderful adoptive and forever home. I have IBD, diagnosed in 2011 and my weight went down to just over 5st, so I can imagine what he must have gone through and those around him that loved him, my family where in the same boat. Reading his story makes me feel that I should have been seen by his vet as I think the treatment he received sounds far better that I had, only major surgery save my life and allows me to enjoy my life again with my Max and Sunny. Thank you for sharing and I personally wish you all a happy life together and thank you once again for caring you are wonderful people. :bighug: :bighug: :bighug: :bighug:
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Postby autumndays » 13 Jun 2014, 13:18

A truly inspiring story of love and devotion.

Amanda and Jim's long journey to give Little Max the life he deserves truly demonstrates the spirit of this rescue and those who adopt through it- that a 'forever home' means forever, come what may :2385:

To Milo, Zak and Little Max :bighug: :bighug: :bighug:

To Amanda and Jim :love3: :love3:

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Postby 12_paws » 13 Jun 2014, 19:47

Max's story really touched me and your dedication to your beautiful boy deserves the biggest, shiniest medal in the world.
I've often thought what a delightful gang you have, little Max usually flanked by his big bruvvers in the piccies, and had no idea that he had such an awful start.
For you :love3: and your boys :2086: (a whole box of good wishes)
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Postby Yvonne Walsh » 13 Jun 2014, 21:26

What a wonderful story of love and devotion. I hope all goes smoothly for Max after all his trials. Hugs for you all
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