Max & Page

Max’s Success Story
I first knew that Page would change our lives when we met her the first time. Max was playing with the dogs and I wasn’t paying much attention, since I was talking to the wonderful staff there. All of a sudden, I noticed Max running across the room, dogs at his heels. I thought they were playing, but Page’s trainer, Erin, observed Page’s behavior and said Ben must be scared of something. I doubted it – he seemed ok to me at first glance – but asked him anyhow. It turned out that there was a bee nearby, something Max is very scared of. Page saw he was scared, followed him across the room, and stood facing the bee, protecting him. Once the bee was gone, she turned and nuzzled his hand, completely distracting him from something he is terrified of. Ordinarily, Max would have asked to leave, in case the bee came back. Instead, he ran around with Page and forgot his fear entirely.

 

One of Max’s biggest struggles is with new things – he has a tremendously difficult time starting something new, adjusting to changes in the house or at school, and dealing with change. Bringing Page home was a huge change. She needed attention and care and she changed the way our household runs. Not surprisingly, that was a big struggle for Max. When we went to pick Page up, he pulled me aside and said he didn’t want her after all. He balked at bringing her home and tried to convince me that we should stay overnight near the Purposefull Paws center and get her the next day instead. When we did bring Page home, Max complained for weeks that it didn’t “feel right” having Page. It gave him a “weird feeling.” So, I did a lot of the work the first few weeks, and worried that Page would bond more to me than to Max, that she would feel rejected and give up on him.

 

Boy, was I wrong. Page never gave up. She followed Max around, she nuzzled him when he was upset, she brought him toys. It took a few weeks, but her persistence paid off. Now Max can’t wait to see her every day after school and he does the majority of the work taking care of her. I can’t imagine how, but Page seemed to know that this transition would be hard for Ben and she helped him through it.

 

Last month, we went on vacation and stayed in a house Max isn’t used to. Page slept next to him and when he worried about new noises or complained of having a “weird feeling,” just her presence reassured him. The night before the first day of school, Max was sure he was having a panic attack and said he felt “weird” all night. Page was right at his side, following him around the house, bringing him socks and toys, snuggling with him. Although Max has a bunk bed, when he was upset that night, Page hopped right up in bed with him. She nuzzled him and reassured him until he fell asleep. I can’t imagine how she possibly knows what he needs and when he needs it, but she does.

 

Page and Max were made for each other. He says she gives him a “peaceful feeling,” something he doesn’t have enough of in his life. He also says she’s the best dog in the world. He’s right.