Henning - Max - Phoenix, AZ

Mark & Paula Henning
Phoenix, AZ 85044

Rescue: Max


Bought from a mall pet store for a disadvantaged child, Max soon was not the child’s interest and was put in a dirt back yard with a Pit Bull in Mesa, Arizona. After 6 long years and multiple fights with the Pit Bull, the owner called the Arizona Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue to come pick him up. Rescue members Bill and Lesley Baran picked him up and after assessing the situation, realized this was the first true rescue in a long time. No collar, no food, no papers or vet records. We had room in our home to foster Max so he was brought to us that evening.

When Max arrived he had dreadlocks to the ground and was filthy dirty along with having some physical issues most likely stemming from dog fights. Because of his upbringing, he had issues getting along with other dogs and he had very little trust in humans. During his foster, we taught him to eat dog food and slowly worked on socializing him by taking him to work, home improvement stores and pet stores. Over the months, there were many inquiries about Max and rejections because of his past and his physical condition. At one point, there was even talk of euthanizing him because of his faults. Slowly, he started to trust us, but still needed to be kept separated from our other dogs. As the trust grew, we found him following Mark everywhere at home. He also began to coexist with the other dogs and the aggression issues began to subside. As Mark built draft carts and did yard work, Max was always by his side.

Since we are active with our other Berners in drafting and pet therapy, we realized Max would have a difficult time socially in these areas. But Max has brought more to us than we would have ever imagined. He now has a look of trust in his eyes that he was so void of when he first came into our home. How could we destroy that trust by giving him to another home?

It’s been a long road to get Max to where he is now and we know he has more progress to make. We have crossed a lot of hurdles, had some setbacks, but with continued patience and supervision, Max has become a good friend. Just recently, Max was hitched up to a draft cart for the first time. We are glad to have taken Max out of a horrible situation and he can now enjoy a Berner’s life.