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Had an odd scenario over the holiday weekend.

First, someone handing out freebie phone books on the weekend. Second that it was a holiday weekend when people are known to be away from their homes. This guy simply looked out of place...very out of place.

Fortunately, we have 3 dogs in the home. One of these is a 1/2 Great Dane 1/2 American Staffordshire mix (humane society rescue) and at 120 pounds he's a grizzly bear when he bellows out a "stranger danger" bark.

Well, this guy got a little too close to the house to drop off the phone book and cued the big-boy. My wife jumps for the door with her Ruger LCP and I dart for my CZ P-07 Duty and head for the kitchen window.

I see a 6' 02" white male with a newspaper bag full of phone books (the company will get a call today on the issue). He's got such a paniced look on his face when my wife opens the door armed and hearing the big-boy bellowing that I was sure he was going to soil himself...and I almost wish he would have. It's nice to know the big-boy still has it at nearly 10 years old.

So here's the bad news...big-boy (Maximus Aurelius - so named after Maximus Decimus Meridius and Marcus Aurelius) has cancer (mast cell tumor on his right leg, removed once before and left massive scar tissue as well as not getting all of it) at 9 years old. He's been a wonderful companion and I fear he's going to be on his last year at age 10 as it's going to start impacting his walking ability. My wife says no more big, stinky, slobbery, messy, butt scratchin', grizzly bears in the house...even though he's a good dog and alerts us well. So no Rotties, no German Shepherds, no Mastiffs, no Great Danes, no American Staffordshire Terriers, no big dogs...and trust me, I wanted to get a Mastiff after big-boy passes on.

I've spent the past few months trying to come to grips that though he still appears to be in good health, his time is short and I know it's going to be painful to put him down. I keep hoping that the time he spends out on the farm is enough to help keep him going another year or two. Selfish, I know, but when he goes out there and acts like he's just a 2 year old, it's difficult to pass it up.
 

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Anyone who ever had to make the choice to put a dog down for health reasons will tell you it's very difficult, even knowing they made the correct decision for the well being of the dog. We went through that with my 13 yr old Australian Shepherd in the Spring of 2008. Despite our plans, a 10 week old German Shepherd rescue blessed our lives just 2 months later. Treasure your dog and the time remaining with him.

BTW, why in world did your wife open the door? Isn't that what peep holes are for?
 

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Wha about a Doberman? I read that your wife doesn't want a huge dog, and though Dobies are big, I wouldn't classify most of them as huge (my red dobie is the size of a horse though).

Great looks, personality, guard dog role etc. And, they scare the hell out of BG.
 

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Sorry to hear that your dog is not doing too well. We lost one of ours to cancer a couple of years ago, and it still hurts.

When you are ready for a new dog, try to sneak a Lab pup or two past your wife. The pups are so cute she will have a hard time objecting, and in a year or two you will have some nice sized, but not huge dogs. With their medium length coats and love of water, it is easy to keep them clean and quite smell free, and they don’t slobber much either. They are loving, gentle dogs, good with kids, but when their family/pack is threatened, they are very loud, and if needed, can be a BG's worst nightmare of aggression.

Whatever type of dog you choose, it can probably be found at an animal shelter. I 'shopped' the animal shelters within 100 miles of my home on the internet to find my new best friend. He cost very little, and came with a coupon for neutering and shots. In return for the favor of rescuing him from the shelter, we have a beautiful, loving friend, a playmate for our other dogs and cats (yes, he plays nicely with the cats), and someone who can play all day with the grandkids and not wear out.

This is my first Lab, but not my first ‘rescued’ dog. Every one of them has shown this type of super-loyalty, perhaps as a result of needing to belong to a family/pack so badly. Every one has been a very vigilant and loud alerter, and each would do whatever it takes to protect they people.
 

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I won't tell you what kind of dog to get, because Malamutes aren't for everybody.
I had to put down our first son in June of 2008. A day doesn't go by that I don't think of my Kujo. Bronco has come to live with us(another Mal) and as much as I love him, I still haven't forgetten "My Boy".
My prayers are with you and Max, know that when the times comes you will do the right thing and Max will still love you.
 

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Its always the big dogs that have the most character and are the hardest to let go. If the wife was keen enough to take a big dogs bark as an alert to a potential attacker, it wouldnt make much sense to replace big boy with a toy poodle. I'd suggest a german shepherd.
 

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So sorry to hear you're losing a friend. I've had to say goodbye to 3 or 4 dogs and it doesn't ever get easier. For a good Medium-Large breed, look at German-Short-haired Pointers. They're very wary of strangers, taking several occasions to warm up to other friends/family, but exceptionally loyal to their family. For a 50-60lb dog, they have a surprisingly deep throaty bark. They're low-maintenance (short hair), very clean, and serve a dual purpose as one of the most easily trained hunting dogs. Our GSP is a great foot-warmer down at the end of the bed, and is ridiculously tolerant of our little ones' pestering. Just discovered the breed this past year, and couldn't be more pleased.

Semper Fi
 

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It's difficult to make the decision to put a beloved pet down, regardless of what kind (dog, cat or whatever). I've found myself in that situation numerous times over the years. A few times I have waited too long, until the animal was in obvious pain and distress. When you love them like a child it is hard to let them go. I have finally gotten to the point I won't let them suffer. When I see their quality of life has gone down hill, we make that long sad ride to the vet. While it hurts to do it, I know it is for the best.

When the time comes to let another dog into your home and heart, look into the Australian Shepard. They are super intelligent, loyal and very possessive of their owners and property. They are a high energy dog, so if your living in confined space and don't have the time to devote to a high energy dog pass the by. If you can meet the needs for space and time, I don't think you can find a better family member.
 

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+1 on the Aussie. When I learned my wife was expecting our first child nearly 14 years ago, we selected an Aussie for him to grow up with. Great choice with the kids, and no doubt about his willingness to guard and protect his flock. Sadly, we had to put Oscar down in the Spring of last year after 13 great years together, which opened the door for our German Shepherd, Fritz, to join our family.

Pic of Oscar the Australian Shepherd circa 2004:


Pic of Fritz the German Shepherd:


Herding dogs are fantastic for the work that many of us on the forum want from a dog, and they are great members of the family as well. The earlier poster was correct. Aussies require a high-energy owner, but then again, all dogs deserve that.

Cheers!
 

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Odd that the wife would include Am Staffs in the 'big' dog catagory, since they usually top out at about 70 pounds. They would be my dog of choice to replace Max: smart, devoted to their humans, protective and very sweet natured when handled and socialized properly. Plus there are hundreds of them out there needing a forever home. Maybe rethink on this wonderful breed?
 

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Why not just have them take the leg off? I've seen lots of three legged dogs around here because of cancer. They're all perfectly happy and can run, play, and fight just fine.
 

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I love dogs, best companions one could ask for...I equally hate the end of their loyal lives...the hard part of canine friendship.
Just had to put down a Rhodesian Ridgeback, but repaced him with an Irish Wolfhound...they are man's best friends.:yup:
 

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So sorry to hear you're losing a friend. I've had to say goodbye to 3 or 4 dogs and it doesn't ever get easier. For a good Medium-Large breed, look at German-Short-haired Pointers. They're very wary of strangers, taking several occasions to warm up to other friends/family, but exceptionally loyal to their family. For a 50-60lb dog, they have a surprisingly deep throaty bark. They're low-maintenance (short hair), very clean, and serve a dual purpose as one of the most easily trained hunting dogs. Our GSP is a great foot-warmer down at the end of the bed, and is ridiculously tolerant of our little ones' pestering. Just discovered the breed this past year, and couldn't be more pleased.

Semper Fi

absolutely!

i love my GSP.
we got her from a shelter at 7 months, and even then she had a HELL of a bark. she is about 10 months now, and it has only gotten deeper and more drawn out. it has to do with her GIANT chest cavity. it sounds like a bass drum and a tuba put together!

she is a sweet heart, and if anyone decided to come in the house anyway, she would try to lick them, but she is a strong deterrent.
they are great with kids. are beautiful athletic dogs, may be cuddlier than a bulldog, and ive had her 3 months and bathed her 3 times. VERY low maintenance.

so between her, and my english bulldog that sounds even more vicious, and a little brave super protective 8 lb. brussels griffon i have as much dog power as possible in a 1 bedroom apt.

my bulldog is only 2, and i already dread the day he dies. he is the best companion ever, and has become part of our home that will be impossible to replace. he barks his head off at unusual bumps, and probably would go after a stranger if they pushed their way in.
 

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Why not just have them take the leg off? I've seen lots of three legged dogs around here because of cancer. They're all perfectly happy and can run, play, and fight just fine.
I was thinking the same thing. Once upon a time, I had a 3-legged lab and he got around real fast.

To the OP, sorry to hear about Maximus. Take good care of him. You'll know when it's time to put him down. Until then, cherish every moment.
 

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Haven't been without a German Shepard in my home for over 30 years...............there just isn't any breed comparable. Simply the best.
 

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I know how it is to put down a family member, my Pit/Lab Mix was with me my last 10 years of my military career and 5 years of my new job Animal Control when it was her time. I held her just as she was loyal to me, I was to her. That opened the door to my Golden Retriever "Jake" who I picked up on the street or should I say he picked me up. He was just walking along (1 Year old) and I stopped, opened my door and asked what he was doing, he lept up and over me to the passengers seat and sat there and he rode with me the rest of the morning, so I adopted him LOL, that was 4 years ago.

I can't argue with any type of dog other then Chihuahuas, I've been doing animal control for 9+ years and the only dog to bite me was a dang overweight Chihuahua and I didn't hear the end of it for 6 months LOL. I have absolutely no use for those dogs, I will save them and will not watch them be abused at all mind you, they fall under my protection also, but I sure won't own one!:nono:
 

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Back in 2002 we had to put our Shepard mix, Sasha, down. She got bone cancer in her right front leg. We had it removed and she got along pretty well for about 6-7 months. but then the hopping around started to wear on her spine causing severe pain. As hard as it is to put your dog down, I for one will never subject my pet to that again. Enjoy your dog while you can and when it's time do the right thing.

We didn't want another dog right away but just a few months later we rescued a Blue Heeler, Maizey. She is an awesome watchdog! She has a lot of energy and is quite headstrong but is great with people and other dogs. If you want a smaller dog a Blue Heeler female is a good choice. They just think they are big! My other choice is a Greyhound of all things. No slobber. They don't shed enough to to notice. We have 2. A quiet gentle female and the big boy. He is a good watchdog and when he barks it is scary sounding. Sort of a bark/ growl. Pretty much all they do is sleep. A walk or 2 every day is good and either a yard to run in or a trip to the dog park once a week works for us.
 
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