For a lot of people, dogs are children. Whether their kids are all grown up or they never had any, “furbabies” often fill the void and provide companionship and unconditional love — something children don’t even always offer.
Pet-related businesses are booming, and there seems to be a never-ending parade of new treats and toys for discerning animal owners to purchase. Indestructible chew toys, high-quality, grain-free foods, and all sorts of “wear.”
Some enterprising individual even came up with doggy strollers, so smaller pups can get outside and get some fresh air from their screened-in throne without the bother of exercising.
Small dogs can get away with a lot, but larger dogs don’t easily fit into custom-made purses or “baby” carriers. And most dogs like to get around and explore on their own four paws.
But if they become immobile, they still have the desire to explore even while they lack the ability. Joey Maxwell and his wife Allison experienced that with their beloved golden retriever, Maverick.
Maverick became an online sensation when his story got out.
“Our Facebook page is called Everybody Loves Maverick because it’s the truth,” Joey told CBS News. “He is the kind of dog who makes even non-dog people fall in love with him -– my mother in law, for example.”
“She is terrified of dogs, especially big dogs. But Mav is just a giant baby, so she loves him. He is the kind of dog who, if we take him out, he barks at everyone who passes until they pet him because he thinks the whole world is there just to love on him.”
He’d had a rough start; he was adopted from a kill shelter when he was around a year old. As he entered his golden years, he began to experience some health issues, and they found out he had lymphoma.
“He was anemic, had an infection, and we really thought we were going to lose him,” Joey said. “He spent two nights and three days in the ICU, then they told us that we were bringing him home for Hospice care.”
Joey and Allison realized they were losing their beloved pet, but refused to sit at home and steep in their sadness. Maverick had been so full of life and loved people so much that they wanted to give him one last night on the town, getting attention and love from everyone they met.
Maverick was a large dog, though, and required a large wagon to be carted around. Finding that their DeLand, Florida, Lowes offered the necessary model for around $130, they set out to get it.
Having spent a lot of their money on Mav’s treatment, they didn’t have much left. And when they got to Lowe’s, they found out that Lowe’s didn’t have any of those wagons left.
But then the manager heard part of their story.
“Before I could even finish the story, this man picked the phone up out of his pocket and started calling other stores, saying this was absolute top priority. He needed this wagon right now,” Joey said. “Then he looked at me and said, ‘I got one. It’s coming. Can you be back in an hour?’”
When the Maxwells got back to the Lowe’s, the cart was assembled and its price had been reduced by 50 percent. They cried, said their thanks, and took Mav out for a stroll.
The retriever held on for a few more months, but the Maxwells knew that his case was serious. He passed away having known the love of his family as well as that of countless strangers who he met in-person and online.
“We fed him dinner and played with him and left the room for a few minutes,” Joey told People. “I came back in to get him to carry him to bed and he had just laid down and simply gone to sleep.”
“Honestly, in some ways, it was easier this way. Our biggest concern was that this was going to get ugly at the end and we’d have to make a decision and we never wanted him to suffer.”
Even though the Maxwells grieved the passing of their Mav, they were hooked. They added a golden retriever puppy, Ellie, to their family.
Ellie may not know it yet, but the cute little ball of fluff has got some big shoes to fill.
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