The Power of Dog Love by Misty Evans

I had planned to post a blog today about women’s history month and St. Pat’s Day. But yesterday, we had to have our big dog euthanized, and I decided instead to continue Edie’s theme about the awe of love. So today, I’m talking about the power of dog (and cat) love.

I grew up on a crop farm, surrounded by dogs, cats and a few other animals. As an adult, I adopted multiple cats and two dogs from shelters and took in several strays that showed up on my doorstep. I loved them all, but there was one dog who stood out from the rest. An animal I bonded with as surely as I bonded with my kids.

Max was part of our family for nearly twelve years. We got him from the shelter when he was nine months old. Part Golden Retriever, part Great Pyrenees, he had the biggest heart of any of the dogs I’ve ever known – and everything else was big too. The day we brought him home, the vet said he was as big as he would get at 90 pounds. Three months later, Max was as tall as my husband if he stood on his hind legs (which he often did to give my hubs dog kisses) and weighed 125 pounds. The local vet didn’t have a scale big enough for him, so we had to take Max to another town to a vet with a livestock scale just to have him weighed.


The day we adopted him from the shelter, a worker brought him out of his kennel to meet us. My twin sons were only 2 ½ years old, and Max (all ninety pounds of him) ran right up to them and knocked them both down. He licked their faces and then made a beeline for the door. He wanted out! One of my sons laughed hysterically at being knocked down and licked to death. The other was mad and cried and would have nothing to do with Max for a long time. Over the next few months, though, he fell in love with the dog as much as the rest of us, and was just as upset yesterday over having to let him go.

Max, for all his size, was a gentle giant. He loved kids and accepted our cats with no trouble. They’d climb all over him, lick him, and snuggle next to him for a nap. He’d get excited when the UPS man came, and once, he ran right through the back screen door to get to the guy. I ran after of course and found the poor UPS guy plastered up against the side of the house, Max’s paws on his shoulders and the dog licking his face like a long lost friend. I apologized profusely as I tugged Max off, but the guy laughed, ruffled Max’s fur and told me not to worry about it. He had two big dogs, too, and completely understood.

What is it about a dog (or cat) that makes us love them so much? Unconditional love is an amazing thing and that’s what our pets provide. No judgments, complete forgiveness when we screw up, and what often seems like a spiritual patience with our stupid human ways. Max had a few faults – like chewing up shoes, Legos, curtains and baseball gloves – but we easily overlooked all the bad stuff because he was such a loving animal. One time while we were at a little league game, he put his front feet up on the gas stove to get to a cake I had cooling there. He managed to turn one of the stove’s knobs during the process, and we came home to a gas-filled kitchen. Scary moment. All turned out okay – nothing exploded and the house was aired out – and I wasn’t even mad about the cake he gobbled down. I did learn an important lesson to never leave food out around him, but later in a different house, he figured out how to get the pantry door open and helped himself to a bag of 3 Musketeer bars. The whole bag, wrappers and all. Didn’t even make him sick.

So today’s post is a tribute to Max and all dogs and cats everywhere that give us unconditional love and believe in us even when the world doesn’t. I’d give anything to have Max back but I treasure these memories and the years he spent with our family. The vet told us because of his size he probably wouldn’t live beyond nine or ten and we had twelve great years with him. His spirit is here with us, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns up in one of my books someday…

Have you ever owned a special pet? One that made your world a better place? What is your favorite memory of him or her? I’d appreciate sharing some pet love today to help me mend my broken heart!

About Misty Evans

USA Today Bestselling Author Misty Evans writes the award-winning Super Agent series, as well as urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy theories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When her muse lets her on the internet to play, she’s on Facebook and Twitter.
This entry was posted in Misty's Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to The Power of Dog Love by Misty Evans

  1. Amy R says:

    Sorry to hear about your dog, Misty! That is so hard to say goodbye to a good pet. I have had a few dogs in my life but none really captured my heart like our current dog. I love the personality of our golden lab Lacy. She loves people. In fact you could have a steak sitting in front of her and if someone came to the door she would abandon the steak to go meet the person. She has gotten loose a couple of times and every time it has been because she wants to go greet a runner or walker on our street. She, too, loves the kids and lets them roll around with her and lay on her. Pet love is so unconditional. They will always love you no matter what. Sorry again for your loss.

    • Misty Evans says:

      Thank you, Amy. My dad had a couple of labs over the years. His last one was a yellow lab and he adored that dog. My dad is not a big animal lover, so we knew that dog was special when he started letting it in the house during the winter.

      Lacy sounds amazing. Give her a hug for me.

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    Misty, big giant hugs for the loss of your big giant dog. I recently read a book by a doctor who had a near death experience, where he went to heaven. He said she saw people and some dogs. I bet your dog will be waiting for you.

    I could talk about several dogs, but Rose the Beagle was a special dog. We inherited her about 3 years ago, and we didn’t think she would last the year. She was obese and very old. The family figured she was about 17 and the average lifespan is 12-15 years. She lived another 2 1/2 years. I learned to love her deeply during that short time. She had the best attitude. She had cataracts, hearing loss, arthritis… She let none of that stop her. She just kept on going. She followed me everywhere during the day, and as I type this, I still miss her soft snores.

    • Misty Evans says:

      Edie, I keep hearing Max in the house even though I know he’s not here. Guess he’s still here in spirit. Like Rose, he had a multitude of health issues but what a trooper. Up to the end, he was happy to see everyone and just as demanding for us to pet and hug him.

  3. Oh, Misty. I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet like that is awful.

    I had a dog like that once. He was a German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix that we got when I was almost 6. And we had him until my freshman year in college. That dog was my best friend. Thanks for this tribute post.

    • Misty Evans says:

      B.E., I think there’s something about those mixed breeds, especially with retriever in them. They’re so people oriented. Max came from the shelter and he always seemed grateful for being part of our family. I’d definitely adopt another goldie mix. Their hearts are huge.

  4. Dale Mayer says:

    Oh Misty,

    I’m so sorry! I love my pets like they are my kids and every time I lose one, I swear I won’t get any more as it hurts too much! But I always do. Unconditional love is so worth it.

    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Touched by Death – free on the 26th and 27th

    • Misty Evans says:

      I do the same thing, Dale. This is the first time in forever I haven’t had a dog (or cat) in the house. Very strange. I always vow not to get another and always end up with more because I can’t resist.

      It’s devastating to lose a pet but worse for some of us not to have one in our lives. My sons keep asking how soon I’m getting another dog. We’ll see. I know we’ll get one, I’m just not sure I’m ready yet.

  5. I’m so sorry, Misty. Big hugs to you!

    When we moved to Australia, we had to make the choice of whether to bring our two golden labs with us, or find them good homes in South Africa. Because of the quarantine restrictions in Australia, that would have meant a 6 month quarantine for them. They were both young, and I didn’t think it was fair that they be locked up for 6 months, so we made the very hard decision to give one each to two close friends. We still get photos of them, and regular updates.
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Release Day for Daughter of the Sky

    • Misty Evans says:

      Michelle, that must have been a hard decision to give your dogs away, but I’m glad you didn’t force the dogs to go through that long quarantine. You’re a good dog mommy.

  6. Lori says:

    I’m so sorry 🙁
    Last spring we lost our Golden to cancer and like your dog, he was so a part of the family that we really considered him human. I’m still not over it. We just got a new puppy a couple weeks ago. I thought it might help but its not. I dont think I’ll ever get over losing him. To make it worse we lost our cat about a month later from an unknown heart issue. Last year was not a good year for pets!

    • Misty Evans says:

      Lori, I’m so sorry to hear about your recent pet losses. I know Max spoiled me for all other dogs and I told him that the other day. It’s amazing how certain ones take over our hearts and won’t let go.

  7. JB Lynn says:

    It’s so hard to lose four-legged members of the family. 🙁

    We have two dogs right now. Dog 1 was 5 (now 11) when we adopted him (the day after our last dog died suddenly….a long story, but it was like he meant to find us that day) and he didn’t understand a word of English, lol. He’s the one who sticks by us like Velcro when we’re sick or upset.
    Dog 2 joined our family about 18 months ago, a black lab/border collie mix, she exhibits all the traits you talk about.

    Enjoy your memories of Max.

    • Misty Evans says:

      JB, I know the “like Velcro” sentiment. Max did that with us as well. No matter where we were at in the house, inside or out, he had to be with us. He loved to ride in cars, too, and we bought SUVs so he could ride with us. He was so big, he needed the back end of the car. 🙂

  8. Brynn Chapman says:

    Hi. Oh dear. I cried in public reading this post. We lost (euthanized) our beloved gentle giant just a few months ago, and rarely a day goes by that I do not think of her. Thank you for this post, I did chuckle, remembering a few of the thousands of ridiculous things she did over the years.


    • Misty Evans says:

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story. My heart goes out to you over the loss of your gentle giant. It’s good to remember the crazy things our pets did while alive. Our family sat in the living room last night and talked about all our memories of Max. Funny how each of us had different ones but they were all fitting.

  9. Chiron O'Keefe says:

    Oh, Misty, my heart aches for your loss. We all deal with pain but nothing compares to losing a beloved friend. Your tribute is so sweet, so beautiful, and I really appreciate that you gave us a chance to get to know Max. I saw him through your eyes and memories and fell in love with him too. Love to you and your family. Many hugs…

    • Misty Evans says:

      Chiron, I have the stuffed golden retriever puppy you sent me at Christmas in the bedroom where I can hug him. He’s a perfect little replica of Max when he was young. Thank you, dear friend, for knowing and understanding my deep love for my dog.

  10. Liz Kreger says:

    Hugs to you, Misty, on your loss. Nothing worse than having to make that decision.

    I’m more of a cat person and have had two in the past and one right now. Nicki was 20 years old when we had to have him put to sleep. Broke my heart, but we already had Maggie and she filled the void … to a certain extent. We lost Maggie when I found a fast growing lump in her shoulder. The vet said it was most likely cancer and that we should amputate her leg. I wanted it biopsied first. Maggie never came out of the anesthesia. In a way, I’m glad the decision was taken from my hands. There was no way I could have put her through chemo.

    We now have Jezebel … a beautiful (if overweight) calico. She’s a lover – but only with me. We also got a pup a few months ago for my daughter. Peanut is a Maltese/Bichon mix but looks all Maltese – scruffy little fleabag. 😛 At 8 months he’s a little darlin’ and has made a marshmallow out of my husband. Still a handful (literally at 5.5 pounds) but his training is going pretty good. Still having a few puppy accidents in the house. He just might turn me into a dog person. Doubtful, but ya never know. 😯

  11. Cyndi Faria says:

    Misty, I empathize with your loss having euthanized Angus our 150 lb Anatolian Shepherd 3 weeks ago. The memory of his soft ears and muzzle lingers in my hands. I’ve yet to toss his food bowl…or his favorite ball. But I’m so thankful for the 8 years my family and I had with him. How lucky we both are to have been so blessed with two big-hearted giants. Hugs, Cyndi

    • Misty Evans says:

      Cyndi, hugs back atcha. I’m so sorry for your loss. We haven’t done anything with Max’s stuff yet either. Doubt I will for a long time yet. One of my sons wants to put his Nyla bone in the butterfly garden when the snow melts and I love that idea. It will remind us of how much Max loved being outside with us in the summer. You’re right, we’ve both been lucky to have these amazing animals in our lives!

      • Cyndi Faria says:

        Misty, adding his chew to the garden is perfect. We are lucky we have property and have put Angus under the big oak. There’s a place to sit. Like your garden, a place connect if only in the mind. Again, thank you for sharing.:D

  12. Sandy says:

    😉 Oh, what a wonderful story you have told about Max. We love our animals, and my hubby and I love all animals. Your Max was beautiful. My hubby and I had a Max, too, a beautiful black cat. He was so masculine strutting his stuff around the neighborhood. We had him 19 years, and we still miss him. We have another black cat named Midnight, and we’re afraid she won’t live so long because she was born with a respiratory problem and has never outgrown it. We love her very much.

    I’m so sorry for your family’s loss, Misty.

    • Misty Evans says:

      Thank you, Sandy. Your Max sounds like a fabulous cat! I had one of those awesome, strutting male cats a long time ago. I loved him dearly. He would be so haughty to the other cats but he was a lover to me. He would sit in my lap when I watched TV and put his paws on my chest so he could rub his face against my chin. He was the only cat I ever had who wanted to sleep with me!

      Good luck with Midnight. Fingers crossed she lives a long, long time.

  13. Misty,
    I’m late getting here today (my son is home sick with the flu, which definitely limited my online time…), I’m glad I could read your whole post uninterrupted, though, even if it’s after 11pm.
    I’m so, so sorry to hear about Max. I know it has to leave a giant gaping space when you have a pet that’s so special to you. *hugs*
    For us, I’m allergic to cats and our house/yard is a little too small for a dog, so the largest pets we’ve had are guinea pigs. Even so, all of us got so attached that when we had to euthanize the first one (he’d been with us since my son was in 1st grade), all 3 of us were crying at the animal hospital. He was a funny, furry family member…
    Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAE is $0.99 This Week!

    • Misty Evans says:

      Marilyn, no matter their size – big or small – our pets take over our hearts.

      I hope your son is feeling better today! Thank you for making time for my blog post and hugs to you as well.

  14. Susan (Baker) Andeson says:


    I too grew up on a farm, not far from you, and had many a animal tug on my heart strings, but never like our recent loss. After my divorce, my boys and and I picked out a yellow puppy, brought him home after 12 weeks and he became the light of our life. He was a wonderful constant in my sons lives. We helped him over the Rainbow Bridge last November after finding a tumor in his chest with no hope for any recovery. We had 10 wonderful years with him. I still miss him greeting me at the door at night, or getting up to let him out early Saturday mornings (when I wanted to sleep in!), and the dog hair on the sofa that I always complained about. My hear goes out to you and your family, as we still grieve here.

    Susie Baker Anderson

  15. Misty Evans says:

    Susie, so good to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story. I understand your pain. I think Max has ruined me for all other dogs!

Comments are closed.