When we were tasked with taking care of humans, we were given several gifts to aid us in our work. The most useful tool is the ability to calm people with barely any effort. Just by placing our heads on a knee or merely leaning against a person can provide all the support they need. Those dogs who study to become professional therapy dogs are incredibly talented in comforting sad humans. Max, a 6-year-old Rottweiler, is such a dog, which is why when he was diagnosed with cancer, he received outstanding support from those he had helped.
Max was adopted by a family that had dedicated their lives to public service. He lived with Jan and Brian Beamer, two Navy veterans who met in Japan before moving back to the states. One day, when Max was out with his parents, a trainer noticed him. He immediately identified Max’s unique personality and ability to find people in emotional peril and support them. He approached Brian and Jan about Max becoming a service dog. Since the duo served in the military to help others, they thought it only fitted that their dog does the same.
No matter who he is dealing with, students, first responders, veterans, and seniors, Max greeted them by placing his muzzle against them and taking a deep breath, calming breath. After a rapid training program, Max began working as a proper theory dog. He made more than one thousand visits to people during his career, and nothing made him happier than helping a human. When COVID spread across the world, Max had to stop his visits, much to the chagrin of everyone, but mostly to Max himself, who fell into a depression now that he was housebound.
While on lockdown Max’s parents noticed that he had developed a limp. They thought he had injured himself. They took him to the vet, who rendered an unexpected verdict: Max had bone cancer. To save his life, he has the leg removed and underwent chemotherapy.
Word spread throughout his village that Max needed the same support he had provided for so many others. The Beamers received cards, messages, prayers, and meals while Max was recuperating and, without their knowledge, started a Go Fund Me page for them.
There is only one being who can bring joy and comfort to souls like a dog, and that is a child. Children flocked to the Beamer home to spend time with Max. Their efforts to cheer him up worked perfectly. They provided a chance for him to perform his favorite duty, listening to children while reading to him.
Despite facing life as a tri-paw, Max’s future looks bright. The doctors say he is cancer-free. His parents set up a Facebook page for his followers to stay abreast of his condition.
I visited Max in his dreams. He told me how grateful he is for all the people who have visited, and cared for him, as he did for them. While Max recognized that dogs were put on Earth to help humans, he told me he thinks people were made to help dogs, based on how much they have helped him.
Max might be right. All the good I have in my life comes from humans. Our relationship may be more symbiotic than I believed.