Well, THAT was scary.

by Chris on September 3, 2012

I debated whether or not this was “post worthy”, but I know how much you love your…errr…my Maximus. I have deemed him Just a Girl’s mascot, and he has worn the title proudly. If you follow me on Facebook, you know it got bad—really bad—for Maximus this weekend.


He gets allergies this time every year, so we took him to the vet for some allergy medicine. The vet freaks him out. He may look intimidating, but the vet makes him a big ol’ scaredy cat.

Maximus yelling

After hours of panting (more than normal), I knew something was wrong when he wouldn’t come inside with me after I mowed the lawn. This guy goes everywhere with me (or creeps on me out the window until I come back inside), so I knew something was up.

Maximus creeper

After some more examination, I felt his belly (that looked really enlarged), and it was rock hard. Not normal, right? We took him to the emergency room, and we were informed that he had developed bloat. His belly had filled with air, and it causes his stomach to literally twist inside his body.

Maximus closeup

The ER doctor told us they would have to do surgery immediately as it’s a very time sensitive issue. When we asked what our other options were, she advised that putting him down that night would be it. Can you imagine how that went down with this one?

dog and girl sleeping

Or with this one?

man's best friend

Needless to say, it was a bit of a family meltdown. We talked for a moment, but it was a no-brainer. We signed our life away and proceeded with the surgery. Let’s just say we could have gone on a really nice family vacation with that money, but we’re so thankful we could do it.

Maximus home

After a couple of days in the hospital, he is home. Definitely not back to normal, but he can now rest comfortably with his favorite care-givers. He’s been getting all kinds of attention. However, we’re all anxious for him to get back to his ol’ self.

poor dog

Something like this might be nice.

Maximus running

Thank you so much for all your kind words and warm wishes for him. I’ll continue to let you know how he’s doing!



Michelle September 3, 2012 at 7:19 am

Sending good thoughts and prayers your way for Maximus … I completely relate to that deep love for our furry family members! Blessings!

cassie September 3, 2012 at 7:19 am

wishing him a speedy recovery!!!! we have two dogs and they are part of our family, so i totally understand!

Ev September 3, 2012 at 7:30 am

Hugs! Hope Maximus is feeling better soon.

Christine September 3, 2012 at 7:41 am

Worth every penny….hope he is soon feeling much much better xx

Mel September 3, 2012 at 7:47 am

Praying that Max will recover FAST and completely. Love all posts of Maximus! Bless you and hubby for helping out one of God’s beautiful creatures. Mel

Southern Gal September 3, 2012 at 7:58 am

Poor Maximus! Poor you. I’m glad it was caught and they were able to help him. Scary stuff.

Susan September 3, 2012 at 8:10 am

Sending Maximus gentle hugs and lots of love. He definately has a loving forever home. We have 2 adorable Keeshonds (Spirit & Mika) fur children and would absolutely do the same. They are so much part of our family that we would do whatever it would take to help them. Feel better Maximus~~~

Lisa September 3, 2012 at 8:12 am

Oh my gosh – that is so scary. Glad you caught it in time and he is on the road to recovery.

Meghan September 3, 2012 at 8:19 am

Poor baby!!! Glad he’s home.

Nicole September 3, 2012 at 8:20 am

Poor, poor sweetie! I know how that feels. Our dog has needed major surgery twice and is now on expensive meds for Cushing’s disease. But I’d rather have her than go on that expensive vacation!

I wish your pooch a speedy recovery.

Melonie September 3, 2012 at 8:25 am

It’s so hard when a pet has to go through surgery. My little dog had to have back surgery but it was totally worth it once he was running around again. I hope he gets better soon!

Sharon aka OKIStampQueen September 3, 2012 at 8:50 am

Been there-done that-but with a “FREE” kitten from a scrapbooking class-who cost us thousands—at least until I found the RIGHT vet! Prayers for Maximus to get better soon! And for a tall drink for Mom-maybe even with an umbrella in it-pretend vacation perhaps?! Blessings, Sharon

Linda@limeinthe coconut September 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

Awwww…We went through this same thing with our Great Dane Rajah. He recovered beautifully. Hoping for the same to your guy!

Did they staple his stomach (a procedure so it won’t happen again?)

Michelle September 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

Just saw a thing on Dogs 101 the other day that said that some breeds of dogs are more prone to this and that they should always rest an hour or two after eating so as to avoid this situation from happening. Thought that was interesting – and it may have nothing to do with your situation – but just it case. Glad to hear he is going to be ok. :-)

Jenny@EvolutionofStyle September 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

Oh no! I hope Maximus is on the mend and wish him (and all of you) a speedy recovery from such a scary event. Even though losing a pet is part of owning one, it’s not something I wish to contemplate anytime soon!!

Lisa September 3, 2012 at 9:24 am

So sorry to hear that happened to your big guy. My St. Bernard had the same thing happen to him last year….and thanks to the vacation fund :) he is just fine today. Nothing like some doggy drama for the family – ugh! Glad he’s home and doing okay!

Amanda @ Serenity Now September 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

Oh, Chris, I’m so sorry you all had to go through that! He is a beautiful dog…loved the shot of him peeking at you (stalking you) from the window. ;) Hope he is good as new very soon!

Lily September 3, 2012 at 9:37 am

Poor Maximus. You all are in our thoughts!

Cheri September 3, 2012 at 9:37 am

I feel your pain…we are out of town and had to take our one pup into the ER also this weekend for pancreatitis and dehydration and yes, we also could have went on a nice little weekend get away…but they sure do tug at heart strings and look at us with those soulful eyes just wanting to feel better…they are our fur kids.

ange September 3, 2012 at 9:37 am

So sorry to hear about Maximus! Hope he recovers quickly and I’m sure he is loving all the attention and care right now. Our dog ate some poisonous mushrooms this summer and almost died, it was scary. Our pets really are part of the family and some people don’t get that but I sure do!

Kendra @ The Rhoton Family September 3, 2012 at 9:41 am

I worry about this all the time with Remington. How scary! Just keep in mind once they get this once they are more prone to getting it again unless the staple his stomach so it won’t flip again. No physical activity 2 hours before eating and 2 hours after will help with this problem too. Get will soon sweet Maximus!

Kim @ Plumberry Pie September 3, 2012 at 9:51 am

I got a bit teared up there. Hope he’s up and at em soon! poor lil guy.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm

You’re so sweet. My husband got choked up when I read it to him, too. :) Although, he won’t admit that.

tricia September 3, 2012 at 10:02 am

We bought a special bowl for our dog, one with “bumps” on the bottom to slow down his eating. The vet told us that this is one reason for bloat to occur. So glad you were able to get the surgery and that he is on the mend!

tricia September 3, 2012 at 10:02 am
Jo September 3, 2012 at 10:20 am

Wishing a speedy recovery!

june w lovell September 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

join the club, max, archie-dog had to go to doggie emerg rm for surgery a few yrs ago and i think i’m still paying for it, but he’s worth it, too.

susan September 3, 2012 at 11:32 am

Awww -hope he is well soon!
We have a big guy , too-Boomer says GET WELL SOON MAX!-and yes, we also use an elevated bowl. They are just like our kids, eh?

Sandra September 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I’m so glad Max is recovering. I never could imagine how people would go to such great lengths for an animal…before we got Brody. Now, I can’t imagine NOT doing anything possible for him. Sorry you won’t get to take that vacation (to come see me) …but Max is worth it.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I know, right? We were driving down to the hospital, and I told my husband, “We are NOT spending $1,000 on this dog when we go down there.” Uhh…I wish that’s what we could have spent!

kim-todays creative blog September 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm

What a sweetie. So sorry for your emotional wrenching weekend. I can’t imagine being faced with that choice with my Mabie girl.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Thank you, Kim! It was horrible, but I’m pretty darn thankful the stress is starting to dissipate. :)

Angela Cardner September 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

In one of my former lives [I’ve held so, so many jobs in order to provide for my horse!] I worked in an animal ER. There are lots of ways to manage a dog who is prone to bloat, in terms of feeding and activity around the time if feeding. I hope they sent you home with lots of advice?

Best of luck… dogs [and cats and horses!] are family. Glad yours is still complete.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Thank you, Angela. They did, but we were already doing everything they recommended. None of the “pre cursers” for bloat fit him except for the panting. Good grief! You think you’re doing everything right… :)

Kristy September 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I am SO happy to hear he is going to be ok! He is such a beautiful dog (mastiff?? what kind is he?) and is so obviously a deep rooted part of your family. It’s so hard to see our canine children suffer! Thank God for answered prayer!!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Yes, he’s a bull mastiff. Not quite as drooly as an English mastiff, but still plenty of work. :) Thank you for stopping by, Kristy!

Cindy * Daisies & Crazies September 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Poor guy. I’ve heard of that happening to dogs before and know it is a huge deal. I’m glad he’s on the mend, and you guys have a long weekend to love on him. xo

P.S. The picture of your husband at that angle looks like a picture of my husband at that angle. Same eyebrows, hair, and scalp folds. haha

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Thank you, Cindy! Scary weekend, indeed, but we’re glad he’s getting better!

Amy @ The Happy Tulip September 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I’m so glad Max is ok and that you caught it in time. Bloat is one of my fears when it comes to our sweet puppy, Indy (a great Dane). We’re considering getting his stomach stapled. It’s difficult to keep a puppy calm for 2 hours after eating.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm

I had NO idea it even existed, Amy! How scary! Maximus is SO laid back that we didn’t think it could be bloat. Turns out they can get it from panting–and he sure does a lot of that! :(

Carol September 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm

So happy to hear a great outcome. Dogs are the best and we wouldn’t know what to do without them, would we?

All the best

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Exactly, Carol. Thank you!

Bonnie September 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Sometimes they drive me nuts beyond belief … but the dogs are my kids & I’d do the same without a question. Annie, Della & Suzzie send Max tons of get wells!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm

That’s so sweet, Bonnie! Thank you!

katherine September 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm

oh my. So terrifying. I am so happy he’s OK!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Thank you, Katherine! We’re happy too!

Jodee September 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm

He is the cutest scaredy cat ever! Wishing him a speedy recovery!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Thank you, Jodee!

Hazel September 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Oh, poor Maximus, and poor you. Glad to hear he’s on the mend even with the second mortgage.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Ha! Thank you, Hazel!

Carol September 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm

So happy he’s doing better. He’s one lucky little pup to have you all as his family! We’re the same way – when our Abby and Jack were in their “twilight” years, I swear we put another wing on the animal hospital! But, definitely worth it! To Max’s continued good health!!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Ha! I’m with you! When we pulled up to pick him up, my husband said, “Shouldn’t we have a sign with our name on it somewhere after paying all that money?” :)

Patty Lucas September 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I hope Max gets better quickly. We went through this with out youngest pit. She had 9 inches of her intestine removed because of something she ate that didn’t go through. She was 6 month old and they didn’t expect her to make. She is the joy of our family and is just nuts which makes us love her more.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Oh my goodness! How scary! I’m so glad she got her second chance! What a great story!

Jill September 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I’ve been there with one of our Chows, but we were much too late. I love my dogs, and they are a financial bump, but worth it. Hope Maximus is recovering well! Also, we raised the dogs bowls off the floor and changed the bowls – it has made a big difference how the dogs eat now.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Aww, I’m so sorry Jill. We’ve always had a raised bowl too. I’ve heard it helps, but I didn’t know why. Learning lots of things this weekend!

Elizabeth September 3, 2012 at 7:42 pm

How harrowing for your family! I’m glad he’s on the road to recovery.

We adopted a Dane mix last year, and after reading up on the breed (and its health problems, like bloat) we signed up for pet insurance. It will probably cost us just as much over his lifetime, but it minimizes the chance of having to shell out unexpectedly.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I hear ya, Elizabeth. That very day my mother in law said we should get insurance on him. A little too late, I guess. :)

Diane @ home sweet homemade September 3, 2012 at 7:59 pm

bless his heart <3 wishing him a speedy recovery! I feel for you all, I'm sure this must have been very stressful. Dogs seem to enrich our lives in the most mysteriously wonderful ways.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Thank you, Diane. Stressful indeed, but we’re glad we went through with it. I appreciate you stopping by!

Jenn September 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Oh gosh, Maximus!! So glad you were able to see he was acting differently and acted on it. Good job, Mom! Tak care and glad to hear he is on the mend.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Thank you, Jenn! He’s getting better every day!

Toya September 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Ohh em ghee, how scary. I am so glad he is on the mend, as a dog lover I couldn’t imagine life without my pooch. Happy Max is home.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Thank you, Toya! He’s getting there! Slowly, but surely. :)

sandy September 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Sending prayers your way for a fast recovery! I had this happen to my rotty it is scary, so glad he is doing better.

Gina September 3, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Glad to hear the big sweetie’s on the mend! Our dogs are like family and we would have igned our life away too.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Thank you, Gina!!

Erin @ Two Story Cottage September 3, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Yikes! So glad Maximus is going to be okay. I love how loyal he is! And those eyes…

Our dog (a keeshond that we rescued) is 16. And in the ten years we have had her, she has had four surgeries, an autoimmune disease, and bladder stones. Not to mention all of her many meds. And skin issues. I remember we debated one of the surgeries when she was 13 because she was elderly but here we are nearly 3.5 years later. Old and slow but otherwise well.

Get well soon, Maximus, and don’t scare your people like that again!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Oh my word! That’s a lot of issues. :) He’s only five, so that definitely aided in our decision. He’s got plenty of annoying life left in him. :) Thanks Erin!

Christina @ Christina's Adventures September 3, 2012 at 10:28 pm

oh POOR guy!! I am basically obsessed with your dog…and I think my dog & your dog should be BFFs :) SO glad everything seems to be going better after surgery – give him extra kisses tonight!!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Ha! I love it. I imagine he could use a friend right now. :) Thanks, Christina!

Dream Mom September 3, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Glad you got him to the vet on time. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery! For the record, pets are part of every family and definitely blogworthy:)

Laura September 4, 2012 at 12:38 am

Poor Maximus! Sending purrs from four cats (he’ll love that), and hoping he is on the mend and back to normal soon. Very scary when something like that happens so quickly – I’m thankful you noticed the problem and acted quickly!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm

That made me laugh, Laura! Thank you!

Morgan {Style Oyster} September 4, 2012 at 9:50 am

That’s what happened to Marley in Marley & Me…good thing you discovered it when you did. How old is Maximus? Hope he recovers quickly back to his old self. xoxo.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm

He’s only five, Moran. That was another factor in our decision. It’s not like he’s old or anything. And yes, my son pointed out that that’s what happened to Marley. So sad!

Rebecca September 4, 2012 at 10:06 am

So sorry for your puppy dog scare! Thankful he had the surgery and praying he gets better!

Katherine @ Grass Stains September 4, 2012 at 11:37 am

CHRIS! Oh my goodness! One of my sister’s dogs died from bloat, so I know how serious it is. I’m so glad you decided on surgery for Maximus … he is precious and adds a lot of character to your blog. :) And your life, I imagine. Hugs from me!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Thank you so much, Katherine! His quirks definitely give me some blog material so you can imagine how entertaining he is in everyday life. :)

becky mercado September 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Poor Max. I am totally there with you. My schnauzer had something burst and began bleeding all over the house. Of course, with great difficulty, we took him to the E.R. Seems like these things always happen on the weekend when you can’t get into YOUR vet. Anyway…we had similar options. And, of course, they want their money right then. So what do you do? My dog was already 10 years old, but do we put him down just cause we didn’t want to pay the $1500? That is no choice. I guess if you figured no matter what you did the quality of life would not be good, then the choice might be different…but knowing with the surgery he would probably be aok after awhile…you can’t just let him die. We’ve been to the ER several times and it’s always very traumatic and very expensive. But….you love them. You have to do your very best for them….and your little ones as well.

Glad he’s doing better.


Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Thank you for sharing, Becky. He’s only five years old! How do you possibly say no when you know he’s got a lot of life left in him? Such difficult decisions, eh?

Andrea Hunt September 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm

We dont have a dog currently, but growing up my dog Lucky was my best friend. My husband has never had that kind of relationship with an animal, but they feel like they are more than just a pet. They truly are part of the family!

Is that the same thing that happened to Marley in “Marley and Me?”

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm

It is, Andrea. My son actually reminded me of that! Scary stuff.

Sam @ The Junk House September 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm

How scary! I’m glad he’s feeling a little better and has some great caretakers!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Thank you, Sam! Scary indeed.

laura September 4, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Get well Maximus! He reminds me of our boxer Nina. She is so much a part of our family. They are just too adorable!

Heather September 4, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I’d rather have my best friend then a vacation any day!!

Chris September 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Exactly, Heather!

ToTheMoonandBack September 4, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Poor Maximus, I hope he is doing better soon! I would do the same for our Tobe!

Elaine September 5, 2012 at 12:25 am


Your stories of Maximus the last couple of years (that I have followed your blog) have brought me soooo many laughs. This one, flat-out brought tears. Hopes and prayers that he’s better soon. I know how EXPENSIVE surgery must have been, you and hubby are great dog owners.


Chris September 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm

That’s so sweet, Elaine. Thank you! I read it to my husband, and he got choked up too. (Such a softy) Ugh–still can’t get over that money, but I sure am thankful he’s getting better. He was at the door for the first time today when I came home from work. That’s a good sign! :)

Stacie September 5, 2012 at 9:37 am

Wow. This really hit home. Normally, I’m just a “lurker”, not a commenter, but I just had to. Actually, I read this yesterday and had to wait to comment. Our dog, Duke, died from bloat in February. Unfortunately, we couldn’t save him in time, but I’m so happy that you were able to save Maximus in time. You will NEVER regret the money you spent to save his life. And hopefully, your post might help save another furry friend someday since you shared the symptoms. Love to you and your family and dear sweet Maximus.

Chris September 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I’m so glad you commented, Stacie, and I’m so very sorry about Duke. I’m still reeling from the money just a bit, but I keep reminding myself how very lonely we’d be without him. Each day, more and more of his personality comes out, so I’ll be so happy to have him “back” soon! Thank you for sharing. Again, I’m so sorry!

Jenniffier September 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Oh my gosh I am so sorry! That is one of my biggest fear having two big dogs (German Shepherds). I am glad that you were able to help him and hope everything goes back to normal soon. My thoughts are with him, you and your family.

Chris September 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Thank you so much! He is getting better every day!

Vicki September 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm

So glad you were able to have good care for “our” Maximus. We love this big slobbery energetic, lovable dog. Please keep us updated. xoxo Vicki

Chris September 12, 2012 at 8:10 pm

What a great comment, Vicki! Thank you! So glad he’s drooling on my floor right now. :) Think he’ll be alright!

E Churchill September 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I just wanted to say that I’m so glad you went through with the surgery! We had this happen to our German Shepard years ago (no longer living now). He was panting heavily and couldn’t get comfortable so my sister and I talked my parents into letting us take him in and sure enough he needed to have immediate surgery. You always tend to be a bit skeptical when they say surgery immediately, but I’m so thankful that we did it. He was suffering and we helped him to have quite a few more happy years! I hope your dog gets to feeling like himself real soon!

Chris September 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Thank you, EChurchill. It sure was a tough (expensive) pill to swallow, but we’re so glad we did it. Even though he’s panting and drooling all over the carpet as I type this. :(

A. Littleton September 12, 2012 at 3:00 am

Hi. I’m new to you. I love your ideas. I saw your post on your dog. If you can believe the luck I have had, I have experienced this TWICE so far. The first time was with my college dog who had severe anxiety…. she came through. That was about 8 years ago. She went to Heaven in December. My next oldest dog just experienced this this summer while I was overseas on a family reunion trip. Yes, I could have bought a car with each surgery. But the comfort of knowing they made it and they are home is worth it. Blessings to you and your family (2 & 4 legged :)

Chris September 12, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Oh my goodness. I already sat the kids down and said this would not be something we could ever do again. :( Just had to prepare them! Bless your heart for doing it twice! Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry about your dog, but you’re so wonderful for giving her a second chance at life!

Carol Adams September 16, 2012 at 12:23 am

Chris, I just found your blog and love your Max!
I hope he is doing well.
I have to ask what breed he is.
We have had 3 Bullmastiffs and your Max looks like one! We had a Max also but he was a brindle. He loved the snow too!
Hugs to you from your neighbor in Indiana!
(Indpls )

Chris September 16, 2012 at 11:40 am

Welcome, Carol, and thank you! He’s doing MUCH better. You’re right. He’s a Bullmastiff. He’s definitely getting back to normal. Thanks again!

Morgane@Bear, Dolly and Moi October 9, 2012 at 8:21 am

I hope your big dog will feel better soon. It happened to my great big dog many years ago, recovery was slow, but he went on living 8 more very happy years. Yes it is a major investment, but so worth it!

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