"You are the hardest dog that we've ever rescued! Max, stopp... bli... fot!!!" None of my limited norwegian words seems to be effective. Max keeps on chasing the ducks and seagulls at Solastrand. I wonder what gotten into this dog? He has the unquenchable thirst to chase anything that moves like, people, other animals and most specially a bicycle. Heck! I'm so afraid that one day, if ever Max catches one of those bicycles, he would chew it like a leg of lamb. "So why is Max like this?", the volunteers at 2saveme, asked. I wasn't really sure of what exactly is the entire story of Max, before he came to us. One thing is certain though: we, do not just knock on someone's door to take their beautiful, well- taking- care- of dogs. These dogs got on our doorstep, because the owners didn't want them anymore, period. Regardless, Max has to be understood, fixed and adopted. In order to do that, we gotta do what we gotta do...so operation "fixing Max" begins.
First, we need to understand what breed Max is. He is a half Boxer and half Border Collie. When I heard the words, I can only utter: WOW!!!No wonder nothing can stop him! He is an energizer bunny, he leaps and jumps like a grasshopper and he has an intelligence that can make you feel like an idiot. So, he has the spirit of a playful Boxer and the smartness of a Border Collie- oooh wicked! It's not easy to tame Max. It's almost impossible to make him tired, unless, you have a sheep farm where he can herd them every day? Whenever Max and his dog walker go for a hike, Max is so happy to hike for more, while the dog walker is so happy that the hike is over. We gotten all so tired, yet the dog keep on recharging... wanting for more hikes. So, eventually, we stopped the "sidewalk" kinda walk, and powered it with long mountain hikes, kilometers of forest walks, crawling and climbing the ravines of the hill sides of Dalsnuten, and Øykjafjellet to name the few. We have a trainer that taught him to harness his sense of smell. Personally, this is one of my best memories of Max: Siw, from Smeller Jæren, took a couple of tin cans and hide a scent in one of them. Max is supposed to recognize which scent Siw wants him to find out. There, I was watching this beautiful creature in awe! He aced them all. Some assignments took longer than others, yet he always managed to pick the correct scent. This sort of training works very well for him. Phew! Finally, that afternoon, he seems happy and satisfied. He got tired. We won!
Days turn to weeks and weeks to months, although Max has been showing a significant improvement over all, we haven't found the perfect parent for him. True, having a "re-homed" dog is not easy. Sometimes, its really difficult for them to fit in with new owners, because no matter what, they will always have issues from their previous life. The ideal owner for Max has to be extremely patient, kind, understanding, and ,most of all, loving.
While we search for his "forever home", we are also using significant amount of time to learn him new things. We introduced obedience training, fun tricks, a lot of physical activities like hiking, running and swimming. I remember the first time I took him to the lake. Ooooh! You should've seen him swimming. I normally, tied him into some fifty-meter rope to be sure that I won't lose him. I used to be so terrified that he won't listen to me. He sometimes get so distracted with animals/ smells in the forest, and ignored me. He preferred to chase them of course. Although today, I wanna find out whether Max is ready to walk freely. I need to know that he can listen and obey commands, without yanking any leash. He has been getting training and exercises at 2saveme, so I just wanted to know whether he learns something or not. He's now walking with me, without the leash. Bad idea? Eh, maybe or maybe not. Let's find out!
"Max sit.! He obeyed and sit. " Max, bli". He stayed. ( yeah... I am mixing English and Norsk when speaking to the dogs. ) Then, with one swing of my hand, I throw the stick as far as I could, and shouted: " Gå og ta den da!!" Ohhh, Max, my little energizer bunny, swiftly jumps to the water, swimming eagerly to chase the stick. Its windy and the stick is slowly drifting away, yet Max keep on swimming, further and further. "Max, come!" I shouted, but Max didn't listen. " Max, come!" I shouted again. He just ignore me. He is persistently swimming towards the stick. He wouldn't give up. I'm starting to get worried, that he wouldn't make it and swim to the other side of the lake, and by then, he will be 500 meters away from me. How on earth can I control a dog to listen to my command, with shitload of distraction from hikers, and other dogs? Yes, I know Max, I have walked with him a couple of times, learning him the routines, but still ...at the back of my head, I have doubts. Oh my god, I'm gonna lose Max and Elin is gonna kill me! Max! Come!!!" Maxxxxx!!!!! Ccccoooome!!!! This time, Im screaming so loud. Darn boy! I almost got a heart attack, but he heard me. He swims back.
It was this summer of 2020 that we finally found the prospect for Max. I remember, I was somewhere in Flekkefjord, camping with him, and friends. Elin sent the news about the potential parents from Tau. Everyone got excited and happy. Finally, the boy can have everything he deserves, but I don't want him to leave! I miss him. It's always been a dramatic moment, when you rescue a dog. You just fall in love with them. Volunteering at 2saveme, becomes more than just a " dugnad". It becomes a passion. We are all here to save as much cats and dogs as we can. They get food and shelter, but most of all, they get so much love as well. I love Max! Heck! If I wouldn't have Patras ( my own dog), I would've adopted him, but I couldn't have them both. Being a responsible owner and all, I can only afford one dog for now. Hence, volunteering at 2saveme is such a rewarding gig. It allows me to take care of other dogs, despite my incapability to adopt.
Right now, Max lives in Tau with his parents. He gets all the walks he wants, and the cuddles he loves! I have been told that sometime in Spring, Max and his dad will be going for an epic hike from Tau to somewhere in northern Norway. Oh! I can't wait to cover that on my next blog. ;-)