Max and Jackie and Baby makes three! We adopted Max from the Midrand SPCA in October 2000. He was just 7 weeks old. According to the vet, he was a cross Jack Russell / Chihuahua. To us he was simply beautiful! Two days after the adoption, he was diagnosed with canine parvovirus. There I stood in the vet’s rooms at 07h30 holding my little boy in my arms sobbing my heart out as Christine told me he had a 70/40 percent chance of survival and it wasn’t in his favour. I just couldn’t accept that I could lose this sweet little angel whom I had forged a lifelong bond with in two short days. Christine and the other vets were so kind. They quickly hooked him up to a drip and put him in his isolation cage. I sat with him for an hour but then had to rush to work. I was devastated. I couldn’t concentrate and took the afternoon off to go and sit with him. Christine encouraged me to pick him up, even though he had the drip in his tiny arm, and to hold him close. Only time would tell. My husband came round in the early evening and cuddled our little boy close as well, and every morning and afternoon for a week I went and sat with him and cuddled and told him about my day and about how much our kitten Chloe was missing him. At the end of the week, his strength of character shone through and he was able to come home with us. Unfortunately his brothers who were in the kennel with him at the SPCA did not have such a favourable outcome. Max took over our lives in a big way. He was mommy’s little boy and he followed me everywhere. If I went to the kitchen, there was Max trailing behind me, to the bathroom – there was Max sitting on the bath mat waiting for me to hurry up and finish what I was doing! Soon Chloe the kitten caught on to this game and going anywhere meant travelling with my entourage in tow! Our townhouse had wooden stairs with gaps in between the slats. Every night Max and Chloe would hop into their bed and Greg would carry them upstairs as they could not yet make the jump between stairs. This soon became routine and to this day one of Max’s favourite things is to be carried around in his bed. Chloe and Max were very close. She mothered him so much, cleaning him from his tail to the tip of his little black nose. This closeness served us well when Chloe went missing one night. I got up the next morning and realised I couldn’t find her anywhere I called her over and over, walking up and down the complex, even outside onto the road hoping she hadn’t been run over. She was still so tiny and I couldn’t understand how she had managed to jump the wall surrounding our townhouse. I was good at keeping all the windows closed at night. I was so upset, and went home put Max’s leash on and took him outside. I knelt next to him and said “Maxi my angel, we’re trying to find Chloe, do you think you can help me find her?” We had an open plot in the complex across from our house where some of the neighbours parked their cars in the evenings. I had tried looking there but had spotted nothing. Max ran off in his bouncy manner, sniffing the road every now and then and then started off directly for that plot. I thought to myself that there was no way he could seriously have picked up her scent and that I was just being unrealistically optimistic. He headed through the tallish grass to the back left hand corner of the plot and started barking on the way. All of a sudden I heard Chloe calling back to him. It was
the best sound in the world. I scooped her up and took everyone home for a treat. I was so proud of my little Max for finding Chloe; he was then and will always be my hero! Max got lonely when we moved to our new townhouse. He found that Chloe went out more and he was home alone when we were out. He used to eat the carpets upstairs and down stairs – all the way through the under felt to the cement surface bed. Our neighbour (who constantly let her two dogs wander the whole complex nearly causing numerous accidents), informed us one afternoon that he cried the whole time we were out. She said he sounded like a baby more than a dog, and had we thought about getting him a friend. We thought about it for a few days and that weekend we visited the Midrand SPCA again. We left Max in the car (windows cracked nicely) and Greg and I walked up and down the kennels looking for Max new best friend. I leant towards the lovely female long-legged Jack Russell. Greg found the scruffiest little mutt imaginable and said – “this is the one!” She was smaller than Max and her hair was wiry and unkempt. According to the vet she is part miniature Doberman Pincher part wire haired terrier of sorts. All I’m saying is she cleaned up really well and she is beautiful. We brought Max out to meet her to see if we thought they would get along. His exposure to other dogs was barking furiously at our neighbour’s mutts, as they roamed the complex, and occasionally peed on our gate, while he was watching. He immediately went to sniff her behind in order to find out just who this little girl was. She let him get close initially and then turned round and snapped at him, teaching him straight away who was going to be the boss in this relationship. They have been the best of friends ever since. He taught her what love and life was all about (‘cause our Max is a lover not a fighter!) She was such a skittish little thing. She was 7 months old when we adopted her – roughly the same age Max was and she had been picked up roaming the streets in one of the townships. He fussed over her – cleaning her just as Chloe had cleaned him – a habit that continues to this day. Chloe was not at home when we arrived with Jackie. The first night she was home, she thought she had done us proud by chasing an unwanted cat out of our house. Chloe didn’t come home for two days. I left her food for her on the pillar by our gate and that was as close as she would come. They soon got on fairly well, all three of them ended up sleeping in our bed with us (a bad habit to start yes!) In the mornings Chloe would get up early and terrorise Jackie until she woke up and played with her and they would play kung fu fighters for hours. Sadly later that year we lost Chloe when a careless driver in the complex who was driving too fast hit her with his car. I was completely devastated, I cried for two days at the loss of my little girl. I loved her so much and had waited so long for her in the first place. Soon after that we moved into a house with a huge 1050 square meter garden. They had been used to 8 square meters of lawn – which had a tree in the middle. For Max and Jackie it was paradise. There was so much to do and see and great explorations were undertaken. We tried to teach them how to swim to the steps in case they fell into the pool, but they soon learned that it was just easier to run carefully around the paving rather than risking going into that nasty water!
We now have a gorgeous, precious daughter Ciara. She is 13 months old and Max and Jackie are her best friends in the whole world. Max picked up very early that I was pregnant, Jackie never noticed a thing, except that I moved slower and there was more tummy to love! Every night as we climbed into bed, Max would kiss my bellybutton goodnight and then slip under the covers. He could not wait for this little miracle to arrive. He has been so good to Ciara since she arrived. Our biggest problem is that he wants to kiss her all the time, whether it’s kissing her feet in summer because they are available, or kissing her cheek or ear because that’s all he can see in winter, it is his favourite thing to do during the day. Ciara loves him just as much too! We spent quite some time trying to teach our family and friends not to feed the dogs any funny snacks as it upset their stomachs and we have them on expensive pet food to combat this. Now we have Ciara, and her favourite thing to do during the day is slip Max and Jackie her snacks. They do love her for this, and no matter how much I protest, this secret pact that what mom says doesn’t matter has made the three of them thick as thieves. Ciara is now crawling around the house at mach 2 – this puts her on their level quite literally. She loves chasing round after Max, and Jackie who hates the cold seems to spend more time hiding under the blankets. They care for her so much though, it’s plain to see. Considering how nervous Greg and I were about how they would react to a baby in the house, we’ve been really lucky. They are the most wonderful dogs – sorry children – a mom and dad could wish for, and we would recommend adoption from the SPCA anytime!
Article on bringing a new baby home to your pets