This is Max when he was a puppy. He came from a breeder in Granite Falls, about an hour and a half north of Seattle. We picked him up the week before Christmas, 1997, and he stayed with some friends, so he could show up under the tree that morning. My friends had a mastiff, a huge, gentle dog named Mac, and Max bonded with him over the week to the point that when we're out for walks and run into a dog that is bigger than himself, he immediately assumes it is a 'friend.'
News is that Max did not have bronchitis but instead has bilateral laryngeal paralysis. This is not good from a breathing standpoint because it means that unlike me, his vocal cords have frozen in an almost closed position. So he pants all the time and when it is hot, like it is now in Seattle, he has to use extra muscles to breathe. His heart has expanded because it is doing more work. Here is an article about what Max is going through--it is common to larger breed dogs, unfortunately and is idiopathic (meaning they have no idea of the cause) in origin. So I took Max to NE Vet again this morning and they are running blood tests to see if he is a good candidate for the surgery, which will tie back a vocal cord. As opposed to my case where they did surgery to expand my vocal cord.
We wait. He is now almost 13 but he is still a happy guy, albeit reserved as labs can be, and Scooter and Truffle love him, as do I. His two biggest loves in the world are butter (in his juvenile delinquent phase he once stole an entire stick off the counter) and retrieving his kong. He was one of these puppies that HATED to walk, and cried and sat down in protest when I tried to take him out. He also, despite his pedigree, didn't get the idea of retrieving for about a year, but when he did, it came all at once and quickly became an obsession with him. As in at least twice a day for as long as I, or the boys, could stand it. Initially I used a white and black soccer squeaky ball about 6 inches in diameter to throw to him, but one day at the View Ridge park, he swallowed it bringing it back to me to throw. We waited a day, but it did not exit, and as a result, this required a trip to the vet and $urgery to remove it. Another friend's dog was hospitalized at the vet's at the same time, and she said Max was inconsolable, crying the entire time she was there visiting her pooch. Of course, that made my guilt meter go way up when I heard about it, but it was after the fact when he was home and convalescing. I saved the ball after it was extracted and gave it to the ex as a Christmas present. The ex responded in kind and gave me the vacuum cleaner from his mother's estate. Should have gotten the hint.
Max also loved to chew shoes when he was teething, specifically green leather shoes. I lost three pair to him. No other color. Just green. And once he stole the roast from the counter. Sarah got it away from him and we rinsed it in the sink and put it back on the platter and served it. There may have been company involved. It was our special secret.
These days, before he got so sick, when we would go to the park to chase the ball, he always had to carry it back home and only relinquished it when we got to the door. I hope that the surgery will give him several more years of chasing his red rubber kong. He taught Scooter how to fetch, and Truffle still needs a few lessons.