Max's story

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Max, a dog with many names! You know when you’ve been accepted into our household when you acquire a crazy number of nick names! Max, a.k.a…Maxi Moo, Maximillian Bulgar, Maximum Destruction, Mad Max, Maxy Maxy Maxy, Booootiful Boy! etc…

Previous name: Johnny (as in Depp)

Born: under a bush next to the hospital in Dryanovo, Bulgaria

Siblings: ….too many to count! Including Pip (happily rescued)

Eyes: Green

Colour: Sand & Tan

Size: Medium (to small!)

The story behind how I now have a boootiful boy ‘Max’ started over 15 years ago in Spain. I was living there with (my now) husband Sergio, and we were tagging along for a free ride into the Sierra mountains. Sergio’s Dad was a Football coach, and the team had a match up in the Sierra. The coach wasn’t full, so we hopped in for a day exploring the villages and walks whilst the team played their match. It was winter, snow covered the tops of the slopes and the air was very dry & cold and caught your lungs at the back. Without the right clothing it would be bitterly cold.

Being ‘Semana Santa’ (Easter) all the shops were closed, most of the cafés were closed too, it was pretty much a ghost town so we just mooched about enjoying the stark scenery and clean air. There was a mountain stream running alongside the main road, and as we walked I noticed a strange dark heap of cloth or similar half in/half out of the water. It looked like it moved, so I went to investigate. A young, maybe 3 month old German Shepherd was lying with his back legs in the freezing water, front legs on the bank. No collar, clearly dumped for some reason. I rushed down to get him out, he was so cold he was barely shivering anymore and was too exhausted to lift himself onto his feet. Sergio and I carefully lifted him, dripping, up to the roadside, and then back to the coach to find something to wrap him up with. All the vets were closed, there was no emergency number on the door of the vets we found and even if we had had a mobile phone there was no reception in the mountains. Calling from the phone box we found got no reply. He was a beautiful dog, long noble nose and loving eyes. Despite finding a blanket, some warm milk (we struggled to find anything)….it was too late. He died en-route back to the coast. I called him Sierra.

Since then, I have longingly looked at other people’s dogs. Happy and bouncy and healthy, my heart had been stolen by that poor abandoned pup, and I wondered if I would ever get the chance to complete the story for Sierra. And then….Laura appeared. Laura with her bonkers dog Sheila from Bulgaria, and a link to Street Hearts BG where there were dozens of pups all looking for their forever homes. I had tried to rescue from the Dogs Trust previously, but having two under 8 children meant they wouldn’t entertain the idea. I knew we would need a puppy, to learn how to cope with the children, and for the children to learn how to cope with a dog but there were never any suitable, or they were always ‘reserved’. My husband had had dogs all his life, of various sizes, for various purposes (some were working dogs, some were pets) so I knew we would be ok adopting a dog. I tentatively got in touch with Street Hearts. I explained our background, I was so nervous thinking that I would find a pup, and then be told that the children would mean we were excluded…aren’t kids supposed to grow up with dogs? Emma was wonderful, she listened to our background, Laura had vetted us already and thought we were a good family to take one of these precious puppies. They reassured us that if there was ever a problem, we just needed to get in touch and let them know. If need be they would rehome the dog if it didn’t work out. It felt like it was meant to be.

I looked through the links that Laura sent me. So many sweet and appealing faces, all jumping and looking for your attention. But there was one puppy, always at the back, a bit nervous…unsure. He had green eyes, he had a long noble nose. He was beautiful. That was that.

Emma shared lots of photos and videos of ‘Johnny’, he was a real softie. Never pushy, always happy to wait his turn. Perfect for two energetic kids. We video called a couple of times, so we could see the newly named ‘Max’ (thank you Samuel and Beatriz), and to discuss the adoption arrangements. Max was vaccinated, neutered, micro-chipped and given a European Pet Passport for his journey. He’d had some lead training, and what I would call ‘politeness’ training. He was ready for the return journey in September.

Then, I broke my leg (another story, but let’s say it involved heels and a slug on a summer’s evening…tragically funny). I was signed off work, couldn’t get up and down the stairs, had an infection in the break site and was due to take ownership of a puppy. What could possibly go wrong?! Thankfully by the time September rolled round, the antibiotics had done their thing, the leg was recovering and I was able to tenderly move about on my crutches. Max arrived.

I could not describe a more perfect puppy than Max. He peed on the floor once (possibly thrice). He pooped on the floor once only. He would tell me when he needed to go out. He would sit by my side when I was working on the lap top, he would ask me to throw a toy for him outside. He was patient, we wouldn’t leave me and trained me to understand his needs. He even got me onto my feet to take him for a walk (hobble) in the park as the leg started to get stronger. Despite being on crutches, and not perfectly mobile, I believe that boy helped me to get moving and heal my leg.



So now, 9 months on from his arrival how is he doing? He is still patient, a few energy training issues at times (from being lazy Max as he was known at Street Hearts ‘cos he rarely bothered to get involved) he is now… “What are you waiting for hooomans?…RUN!” Max). He dotes on the children, sometimes thinks they are puppies (work in progress), but all in all he is part of our little family, and we love him to bits.

So if you are looking for something that will change your life, challenge you, make your heart melt, make you cross from time to time:

Chewed items list

  • Beatriz’s shoe
  • Beatriz’s wellington boot
  • ‘Reusable’ shopping bags
  • Recycling from the bin
  • One soft toy
  • A dog training book (no really…a dog training book, the irony)
  • Socks
  • A slipper
  • Sergio’s gardening shoes
  • Sergio’s Crocs (I know some will say this was Karma)
  • 2 dog beds
  • Vines in the garden
  • Succulents in the garden

But gives you cuddles, makes you fit and healthy AND MOST OF ALL a friend who will love you NO MATTER WHAT, then please #adoptdontshop.

Lots of love to all the rescues in the world. You are all special.

Alice, Sergio, Samuel, Beatriz, Max, Abbey (the adopted cat), Freddie and Joey (the adopted budgies), Rie, Eta and Mary (the adopted hens).

Keep up to date with the latest news and events happening at Street Hearts Bulgaria