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Updated: Jan 8, 2021

One of our favorite things is sending senior animals to loving homes to spend their golden years. Maxwell, who passed away in October 2019 at the age of 15, hit the lottery with his ALIVE family.

Geena, one of his owners and a longtime volunteer, shares Maxwell's adoption journey, below ...

"I volunteered for a few shifts at the Little Barn with Maxwell and noticed that it was tough for him to get attention (or peace and quiet for his numerous naps) because of puppies picking on him and the general excitement happening at the shelter.

I really wanted to figure out a way to get Max out of the Barn and floated the idea of a play date at our place with Max and Cooper, our resident dog, to my boyfriend, Dave.

Cooper is very dog selective, and previous meet-and-greet attempts to foster or adopt had always gone poorly. But, knowing that Max didn’t want much attention from other dogs, we thought that it could work. I was able to work from home and swung by and grabbed Max for the day. The initial dog meeting went well—Maxwell was so sleepy and kind of aloof, he just ignored Cooper and it was a perfect match. They both napped by my desk all day.

After we had one successful play date, Dave, Cooper and I invited Max back for a weekend sleepover. After the weekend sleepover and seeing that Max was unsuccessful with other fosters, we decided we wanted to foster Maxwell full time. The first month or so was rough because Maxwell had separation anxiety and we noticed that Cooper has resource guarding tendencies, so we worked through both issues with the help of a wonderful trainer, Rachel, who was sponsored by ALIVE. 

After fostering Maxwell for about a month, he had an application come in. It seemed to be a good one and we were given the tough decision to adopt him or proceed with the applicant. We decided that Maxwell deserved a great home and the application seemed to be a fit, plus we really admired their interest in a senior dog. We were having a roller coaster of emotions and some regret during the application process, but luckily for us, it fell through. 

Right before Christmas 2017, the owner of ALIVE texted me asking to take Maxwell to an event to get more adoption interest. It was at that very moment Dave and I looked at each other and just said "no, he's our dog." We had made up our minds. We had been talking about it after the application fell through and it just felt right—the fact that he got along so well with Cooper, his sleepy and goofy personality, the fact he was so weird, he just fit in perfectly with our family. I think I secretly hoped we could adopt him when I first met him but didn't know how it could be possible. I'm so glad we were able to give him his final home.

Seeing photos from Maxwell’s freedom ride the day he was surrendered at CACC to his final months, he looked like a totally different, happier, younger dog. Earlier this year, Max celebrated his 15th birthday with friends who took care of him at the Little Barn. He went on a date to watch the sunset at the lakefront with another senior Cocker Spaniel rescued by ALIVE named Maxine. He also participated in one of ALIVE’s Reach Out days. I really believe that love and patience extended his life and hope that every senior pet up for adoption gets a second chance like Maxwell did.”


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