2 Million Dogs – The Blog

Cancer. Touches. Everyone.

Maverick’s Story

Posted by Erich Trapp on September 6, 2011


Every day, from now until our calendar contest ends on September 17th, we’ll feature several of our calendar dog contestants. We’d like to introduce you to Maverick.

(by Lou Middlemiss )  Maverick may have lost his life to cancer in the end but he never lost a minute of the life he lived.

Maverick became family when I was sixteen and he was only six months. He had been raised by a breeder for show but his coat was not quite the right color or something to that effect. There was just something about him that made everyone fall in love with him. Maybe it was the fact that he didn’t seem to know he was actually a dog and not a person.

He was so well behaved when I met him but my rational side told me I should not adopt a dog a year before I would be leaving for college, so we both went our separate ways. I was so sad the next day I woke up and cried. I even stopped on my way to school to buy myself some ice cream! First and only time I have ever eaten ice cream for breakfast and I don’t recommend it. After seeing how sad I was, my mother decided I needed to adopt that dog and that’s where it all began.

The bond between us was unbreakable. Even when I went to college he would live for the times I would come home and spend with him. We did everything we could together: hiking, running, camping, mountain biking, climbing, traveling – he was always ready for the next adventure. Maverick has lived in and visited more states than most of my family! For me, Maverick was that one person (sorry – dog) that I  knew I could make happy.He loved me as if I had moved mountains for him. My family and friends were so amazing and always worked to help keep us together. Even after college as life changed, we moved around, and people came and went, Maverick was the one constant. When I met my husband-to-be, he knew thatmy dog and I were a package deal but it didn’t take long for him to fall in love with Maverick too. He loved him so much that even the balls of “fluff” flying around his nice clean house were tolerated (as long as I swept once or twice a week!) Maverick was the ring bearer at our wedding and he brought both of us true joy and a sense of family.

Oh, he had his moments too. When he wasn’t happy he let me know especially if I left him behind. He destroyed a door at a friend’s vacation home. He ripped all the screens off at my sister’s house multiple times. He ran away and had to be picked up in various counties more times than I care to count. He managed to tear off all the storm windows in my own house and only chipped a few teeth in the process. He actually broke out of an extra-large metal crate I bought to keep him in while I was at work and chewed off the molding around the last door I went out of. He antagonized the neighbor’s watch dogs and was rewarded by getting his nose nearly ripped off through the chain link fence, resulting in a trip to the vet to have it sewn back on at least three times. He disappeared for two nail biting weeks and turned up almost 20 pounds lighter about 80 miles away. For that one he got his picture and story in the paper. Other times Maverick was a complete angel. He would sit quietly and happily at my feet while I worked or in the car while I ran errands all day and all night without one complaint.

It wasn’t until Maverick was 10 years old that the cancer made itself known. One day he was running circles around all the other dogs at the dog park and the next he couldn’t walk. We took him to the vet and they told us he was bleeding internally and they did not believe he would even make it to the emergency shelter but we had to try. After tests and blood transfusions the results were inconclusive. In order to know anything they would have to operate. So that’s what we did. Imagine my relief to receive the phone call that it seemed to be just a growth on his spleen so they had removed his spleen and were sending samples to the lab to test for cancer but otherwise he was fine. Once more I felt we dodged a bullet when the results came back negative. Still today I am so incredibly grateful that he was able to recover and spend more time with us.

He was with us as we moved from Virginia clear across the country to sunny California where he helped us make a new home. Tragically and again without warning I woke up one day to familiar symptoms. Maverick was bleeding internally. I called my husband to come home at lunch and help me load him in the car. A trip to the vet followed by a referral to the emergency clinic, blood transfusions and tests showed us that Maverick now had two large growths on his liver, one of which was bleeding and the other was too deep for surgery. Also it was highly likely the disease was in his heart due to an irregular heartbeat and trouble breathing. It was devastating. In the face of great odds and his age and condition we chose not to have his last moments or days spent in surgery, trying to recover from surgery or undergoing chemo. We were told we could take him home and spend some time with him and that night or the next day bring him back in and have him humanely put down when we were ready.

We took him home and loved him like crazy. We set up a permanent sleeping bag arrangement on the floor next to his bed. I cooked him ground sirloin. Surprisingly he improved a little for a while. We were blessed with almost an extra month with Maverick. It was hard watching him grow weaker and weaker physically but he never lost that zest for life. We were able to attend a cookout together and even took over a 300 mile road trip to visit my husband (his father) who was away doing some training for the Navy.

Maverick fought hard to stay with us and I know in my heart he never would have given up. He made it till my husband returned and by the next day had grown so weak he could no longer stand even to use the restroom. We were with him and loved him till the end and he did the same for us. He took his last breath in our arms and I know he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Maverick showed us how to love and he showed us how to live. When I take a walk and see blue skies and green grass and feel the wind through the trees I will always remember Maverick and he will always be with me.

To vote for Maverick, please follow this link.

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