Henning - Max - Phoenix, AZ

Mark & Paula Henning
Phoenix, Arizona

Rescue: Max BG#91186

Max’s Story

Max had a very hard life before being rescued. A pet store dog, living in a dirt backyard, his only companion was an older Pit Bull in the Arizona desert. 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 assessed the situation and picked him up, 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 and socialization 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. Having never spent a night in a house, we brought him inside to spend his first night with us. We had to teach him to eat dog food and slowly worked on socializing him by taking him to work, home improvement stores and pet stores. Over next year, 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. Everything Mark did, he had Max right by his side and still does.

We are active with our Berners in draft and therapy work, but realized Max would have a difficult time in these areas. Still he 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 family? We couldn’t and adopted Max as our 6th Berner.

Now 8 years old, it’s been a long road to get Max to where he is now. We have crossed a lot of hurdles, had some setbacks, but he has become a true companion. Max is not only a great friend but a wonderful addition to the family. We are glad to have taken Max out of a horrible situation and he now lives his life as every Berner should.