The Max Fund and Operation Kindness

I have a friend named Carie, not to be confused with my friend Carrie who I have introduced you to previously.  This Carie is a sweet, smart lawyer at her own law firm in Allen, Mack Law Office, who has a big heart and spells her name with one R.

"Carie Interview 2" - Allen, Texas
Carie recently lost her best friend, Max.  Max was a beautiful German shepherd who had been the center of Carie's life for over ten years.  Being the big hearted animal lover that she is Carie has decided to turn her grief into something positive and she started The Max Fund through Operation Kindness.
"Carie Interview 3" - Allen, Texas
A Little Bit Of History: Carie grew up having dogs as pets and had wanted a dog of her own for several years before biting the bullet in 2004.  When contemplating what type of dog to adopt, Carie knew she wanted a rescue but was not positive of the breed.  She considered grey hounds, thinking she would adopt a former racing dog, but grey hounds generally have a high chase instinct.  Since Carie already had a cat she decided that it was not fair to take that risk and decided on a German shepherd.  The dogs that she had had as a kid were German shepherds and she felt like she knew, in general, what sort of demeanor to expect.  One Sunday in October of 2004 Carie decided that was the day, she had waited and longed for a dog long enough, and she was just going to do it.

At Operation Kindness Carie found Max.  Max was a big, beautiful nine month old German shepherd and that day he became Carie's.  While Carie had longed for a dog, she had not really pre-prepared for a dog, so come Monday morning Carie had to decide what to do with Max while she was at work.  She thought that, as it was her first time leaving Max unattended and she did not have a crate, leaving him confined in the bathroom seemed like the next best option to keep him safe.  Carie cleared the counter of anything he could get into, made sure that the drawers and cabinets were secure, and that he had plenty of water.  She thought she had done a pretty good job, but Max managed to pull down the shower curtain, turn on the sink, break a clock, pull the toilet paper holder out of the wall, along with a decent bit of drywall, shredded the bathmat, and basically destroyed anything that he could get a hold of.  She knew she had to do something different, so Tuesday morning she put him in the crate that her bosses,at the time, had lent her.
"Carie Interview 4" - Allen, Texas
Carie's father stopped by to check on Max in the middle of the day on Tuesday and found the crate bent and warped and empty.  To this day, Carie says she can't figure out how Max got out without breaking any of his teeth, but he did, making the crate completely unusable in the process.  Her father put Max in the car and they headed to the pet store to buy another crate.  Carie thought her problems were solved when she came home Wednesday to find Max just where she had left him, in the new crate, but Thursday Max figured out how to let himself out of the crate.  Friday she decided to try leaving him loose in the house and once again, came home to a disaster.  Max had pulled the binds off the windows, chewed on a rug, skinned an expensive leather chair, and more.

Carie did not know what to do.  Taking him back to the shelter was not an option because Max would be deemed unadoptable and she could see a good dog in there, she just had to figure out how to get it out.  Luckily Max had been surrendered by his owner to Operation Kindness, so Carie knew a bit about his life and where this behavior stemmed from.
"Carie Interview 5" - Allen, Texas
Max had been an unplanned, not particularly well thought out, surprise that a father of four came home with one day.  His wife, already busy with four kids, said that she didn't have time to take care of a puppy too, so Max was put in the backyard and left to his own devices.  As Max grew, the backyard became boring and Max regularly began jumping the fence.  The final straw came when Max was found in the children's elementary school, outside the classroom of one of the kids, looking for a friend to play with.

The problem was that Max had never been inside or taught how he was supposed to behave.  He wasn't house trained, he didn't know how to walk on a leash, had never climbed stairs, he just didn't know what the rules were.  “I knew that he was a good dog, he had a good temperament, a good spirit, but he just didn't know anything, any rules, any structure, but he had a good heart.  Because I knew the breed and I knew he was a smart dog, I knew he was worth investing in.”  And invest she did.
"Carie Interview 6" - Allen, Texas
Training Time: Max was sent to doggie boarding school.  It was roughly two and a half weeks of regular training to crate train him and teach him some basic rules.  Carie knew all of their problems couldn't be solved in two and a half weeks of training, but this would serve as a foundation and it would keep Max and the house safe while she was at work.  Max did manage to escape from a couple of crates at boarding school, but Carie ordered a special crate with smaller metal grid which she then reinforced.  Max did bang up the new crate, but never managed to escape.  Her immediate issues where resolved, but more training followed before Max was finally able to become the truly wonderful dog that he was meant to be.
"Carie Interview 7" - Allen, Texas
Sadly Max developed Degenerative Myelopathy, an incurable disease that effects the spinal cord and is prevalent in German Shepherds.  Carie said that Max had a wonderful spirit and wanted to live.  He was put on a vitamin regimen that helped to extend his life, but the disease progressed from difficulty standing and balance issues, to finally loosing the ability to use his back legs.  Carie had to make the hard decision to let Max go.  "Max was my heart."  He was a gentle soul that loved Carie, her cats, and her other German shepherd Riley.
"Carie Interview 8" - Allen, Texas
Max was lucky because Carie was able to see the good dog behind all of the destruction, but there are many dogs in shelters that will be deem unadoptable because they have not been blessed with a Carie of their own.  Now they will, and this is how Carie will keep her best friend's memory alive.

The Max Fund: After saying goodbye to Max, it came to Carie, like a rush, that she needed to help make sure that other dogs with issues adjusting to their new homes were given the best chance to succeed.  She reached out to the CEO of Operation Kindness, Jim Hannoffy, and told him her story and what she wanted to do.  Less than 24 hours later The Max Fund was created.  While the program is still in the development and fund raising stage, it will be a "scholarship fund to help good dogs who have trouble transitioning into their new homes through no fault of their own," and should be up and running on May 1st.  Through Operation Kindness troubled dogs and their new owners will receive funds for qualified trainers and support.  The program will be both proactive and reactive.

Proactively:  Operation Kindness will strive to recognize adoptable dogs with behavior issues that can be addressed through training.  The Adoption Counselors at Operation Kindness will carefully screen potential adopters and provide information about the dog's issues, the training needed, and the training and support provided through The Max Fund.  The adopters must be willing to participate in the recommended training programs and Operation Kindness will monitor as the training progresses.
"Carie Interview 9" - Allen, Texas
Reactively: For those dogs that have recently been adopted out but the owners contact Operation Kindness about behavioral issues, an in-home assessments will be done to determine if a dog qualifies for training through The Max Fund.  A training program will then be designed and a qualified trainer will be provided to work with the dog and their owner.

This is not a free training program to teach your dog to sit or walk nicely on a leash, but a program focused on helping dogs who have either never been taught the appropriate way to behave in a house, or are repeatedly returned to the shelter causing them to develop anxiety or attachment issues: Behavioral issues that can be addressed and corrected through positive training and a loving home.

To donate to The Max Fund, please mail a check made payable to Operation Kindness, 3201 Earhart Drive, Carrollton, Texas 75006 with The Max Fund written in the memo line.
"Carie Interview 1" - Allen, Texas
*All photographs have been provided by and are the sole property of Carie Mack.

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