Maverick the golden retriever hasn’t had the easiest life.
Abandoned as a puppy in the woods, he was left in a shelter where he would have been killed. Thankfully, Joey Maxwell and his wife met him in time, and chose to adopt him despite his tough start.
‘When we got him, he was absolutely skin and bones,’ Joey told The Dodo. ‘But he was perfect. He loved us immediately, and we knew he was going to be our dog.’
From then on, things were good for Maverick. He had a home and a family that loved him, he was in good health, and he spent his days running, playing, and hanging out with his friends.
Then, two years ago, Maverick was diagnosed with lymphoma.
He had to go through chemotherapy, and seemed to be recovering well. But two months ago the cancer returned, and suddenly Maverick was unable to stand or walk.
‘He laid there on the floor and could barely lift his head,’ said Joey. ‘He wouldn’t eat or drink. He was shaking.’
Maverick was anaemic and had a fever, meaning he had to spend a few days in the hospital.
Vets advised his family that Maverick might not have long left to live.
He returned home but was still unable to walk.
That’s when Joey and his wife decided to make sure that Maverick had the best final months he could possibly have. They decided to keep giving him all the love and attention he deserved, and to try to make sure the dog was still able to do the things that he enjoyed.
One of those things was getting outside and going on walks – which was the one thing Maverick’s health prevented him from doing.
So Joey came up with a way to work around Maverick’s struggles.
Joey bought a special wagon on wheels that was big enough to wheel Maverick around on. He placed Maverick’s bed and his favourite toy on the wagon, loaded Maverick on top, and took him around the town.
Maverick loved it.
‘As soon as I started rolling that cart, the second we started moving, his mouth flopped open and his tongue hung out,’ Joey told The Dodo.
‘He lifts his head off the bed and has this big dog grin from ear to ear.
‘There was an instant transformation.’
From then on, Joey took Maverick out for a walk on his special wagon every day. Soon, Maverick’s health was improving, and he became a mini celebrity in his hometown.
The daily walks bring true joy to Maverick despite his illness, and give him the motivation to keep on going.
He’s started to sit up on his own and is now healthy enough to go through another round of chemotherapy.
It’s still not clear exactly how long Maverick has left – but it’s clear that his final months will be full of love and happiness. And that’s really all anyone can ask for.