Saturday, March 6, 2010

Max the Wonder Dog




Today I'd like to welcome Teresa Faucette and Max the wonder dog. {that's my name for him;-)}

Can you tell us the story about Max and the children at church? (preacher Max)

I teach Children's Church and we have a bus that picks children up from surrounding neighborhoods. Many of these children have not heard Bible stories or songs. However, they get restless if they sit too long. As a treat once every two months Max comes and helps illustrate a Bible story. He shares their prayers before refreshments, he bows his head until he hears amen. He is a herding dog so the shepherds watching their flock the night Christ was born was a natural story for him, Noah of course and my favorite, Jesus being tempted in the desert. After telling the story and how Jesus told the devil to "get behind Him" I asked the children what does the devil tempt them with? They came up with lying, cheating, disobeying and stealing. With each temptation I threw a treat down in front of Max and told him to "leave it!" "Now", I said, "does Max want these treats?" The children looked at Max gazing lovingly at the treats and said yes. " Is he taking the treats?" They all agreed that not only was he not taking the treats, but he wasn't even touching them. I called Max to come to me. He took a wide path around the treats and came- not eating one treat along the way. This is what we should do, when the devil comes to us and puts a sin in front of us, we need to Leave It! And when we know that a group of kids can tempt us to behave in a wrong way, then we need to take a wide path around them. I know that this lesson hit home with them because a few Sundays later one of the little girls told me that at school the devil tried to make her do something and she left it, just like Max. Valentine's Day was on Sunday this year so I decided to do the lesson on 1Cor.13. I had the last verse printed on a card with Max's picture and on the back part of a verse for them to practice that week, like love is kind, forgiving patient. I told them the next Sunday we would share what we did to show God how we could love. One little boy raised his hand and asked "Is preacher Max going to come and hear us?'. I had to explain that Max wasn't a preacher, only one of God's helpers. I don't quite know if they believed it or not.....

Is there any more funny stories that you'd like to tell about Max?

Max writes a therapy column for Cambria, England. They want to start a reading program there and Max tells about it through a dog's eyes. The paper is called WOOF.

Max is not perfect by any means. We have discovered that Mallard Duck hearth rugs are his mortal enemy. My mom has one and when he sees it, he barks and refuses to sit near it. Why?....only Max knows. He also loves my dad with all of his heart. My dad can make this obedient dog forget everything he has learned. When he sees him, he will run up to him. He can't help himself. On Veteran's Day Max was pulling a wagon decorated in red, white and blue while Dusty was riding shotgun dressed in his soldier's outfit inside of the wagon. We were giving out American flags to decorate the IVs of the patients. My grandmother was in the hospital that day so I decided to visit her before we went to any other rooms. As I entered her room Max saw Dad and took off across the room. Poor Dusty was lying on the floor of the wagon afraid to sit up! Dad laughed. So the conclusion we have reached is that Dad must be banned from all places where Max works!

What all does Max do as far as working?

Max does a variety of things as a ther
apy dog. We have an outreach program for the communities that include the schools. He can do fire safety, which includes going to a safe place and waiting for your family, demonstrating why a child (or a dog) should not use a fire extinguisher, but yell fire loudly and get out. What to do if you wake up and smell smoke (crawl, touch the door to see if it's hot) and of course STOP, DROP, AND ROLL!! He does BE a Tree or a ROCK to teach children how to prevent dog bites and the proper way to pet a dog. This is especially good in counties without a leash law. Many dog bites are experienced in these counties where owners are not responsible. He does a program called There's No Such Think as a Free Puppy, where he packs a suitcase with collar, leash, toothbrush, brush, bandana, and toy. We discuss each item and why it's important (the bandanna because Max thinks he looks hot in it) and then he closes the suitcase. He does a nutrition program where he picks items that are healthy and help children grow. He places them in a plate. Once a year we help in the fund raiser for the humane society in Charlotte. It's called PetPalooza and it's a lot of fun!

He of course visits the hospitals where he will bring you a tissue if you sneeze, a pillow if you have a headache, a blanket to warm you and a flower to say I love you. He and his best friend Dusty ( a long haired mini doxie) do a skit where Dusty is sick and Max leads him to the hospital and puts him to bed. He then Packs a suitcase for Dusty, gives him his favorite treats and then takes him home to play when Dusty is well. It's called That's What Best Friends Do. He also climbs on beds of the ones too sick to play and cuddles to them. If they cry he licks their toes, the nurses will wait until he is there if possible to change IV's because he is a great distraction. It's not only the children he helps at the hospital. The senior people love him and talk about their own dogs. he'll listen and curl up against them. I have been told many times that just having him there makes their pain ease. I know this is true because I have witnessed the smiles and laughter that he can bring. He has been there at the time of death and once he was the focal point for a birth. As I've said I have been blessed to have been there when these things have happened, although I must admit the birth was something that I wasn't quite ready for!

Max does the Paws Awhile and Read program at Mint Hill, Indian Trail and soon the hickory Grove and Monroe libraries. This is a program designted to
encourage children to read. We want children to consider books fun. They can be good or poor readers, doesn't matter. Max of course loves this because of the kids. He has done this for five years so he adds the "Max Flair" to it. He will do his head back and forth following their fingers. Sometimes they will ask him if he is done reading so they can turn the page. He will use his paw to hold the page down for them and if they get stuck on a word Max is there to hive them a lick of encouragement. One of the boys who has read with him for a year now is convinced that Max makes him smart, another will only read with Max because in his word, "I have tried the other ones, but Max is the only one who can read." Max "reads" flash cards to show that he practices reading too. Sometimes he'll miss a word and cover his face to be ashamed. The kids are quick to reassure him that it's okay, sometimes they miss words too. This is especially effective with slow readers or those not familiar with English because if Max misses words, then it's okay for them to miss a word. With this program I have had mothers come to me and say how their child has grown in their reading, some with tears in their eyes. Once at a restaurant with my family one of the little boys that reads to Max saw me. He ran to me and hugged me then started to look under the table. "Where's Mac?" I explained that restaurants did not allow dogs. He was very upset and informed the waitress that Mac was a very good dog. He saved a roll for Max and gave it to him at the next reading session he came to. The therapy dog group that I work with is so wonderful. Every dog there is special and has much to give. The handlers are caring and wonderful people every one of them.

The Veteran's program is just starting. Max and several other therapy dogs are filling out the applications, taking tests and we are hoping to get the program started by at least Memorial Day. This is a program close to my heart. My dad and most of my family have served in some way. Just recently he qualified for the Disaster-Stress Relief team. This was done by TDI and FEMA there were many dogs there and Max was one of six to qualify. I was so proud of the way he handled himself.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Max or Lexi?

Lexi is all heart and full of love. She is going to be a wonderful therapy dog in her own way soon. Max is a very special dog whose ministry is still on going. Just last week at the library we were getting ready to leave when a little girl walked in. She saw Max and was on the ground with him hugging him and petting him. Her mom made the comment to me that Max seemed to really love children. I told her he would rather have a child around him more than anything else. At the hospital it is the pediatric ward he goes to first. The mother was so excited and told the little girl, "see honey when you go to get your heart fixed Max can come to see you!" I gave the mother my email and told her to let me know when she was going in. God does indeed lead you to paths you would never find any other way.

Do you have a schedule you’d like to me to post?

We have not set up the schedule with Hickory Grove or Monroe yet, just call the Libraries and ask them. Indian Trail is the first and third Saturdays of every month at 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Mint Hill is on the second and fourth Saturdays at 10:30 to 11:30.

PetPalooza is May 15 from 10-1 at Patriot Park.

If you are at the hospital or know someone who would like a pet therapy visit, please let the nurse know. We have some wonderful dogs and handlers who do this. I would also like to add that if anyone has a dog and can make the time to work with it, we can always use more wonderful therapy dogs and their handlers. There is more demand than supply .


  1. Awww Max is ADORABLE!!!!! I have a soft spot for Shelties and Collies being an owner of a SHeltie mix named Sebastian and a Collie named Coco. Thank you for sharing the story about Max he sure is a smart boy! Isn't it amazing what animals can do?

    XOXO~ Renee

  2. Looks like you have a sweet baby there Renee. I raise shelties. Max is actually one of my puppies. He is a special boy! Thank you for stopping by!!

  3. Max and Teresa are friends of mine. Max is a Saint because Teresa was a Saint First. We all could take lessons from both Teresa and Max about giving back to those in need. Teresa and Max spread joy, smiles, and love everywhere they go. They both are Saints... another word for ...Angels are earth.

  4. Yes, Teresa has a very large heart and a loving spirit. I've been blessed knowing her(and Max)

  5. Max is cute. Congrats to the winners. As a retired nurse,when I worked at at nursing home we used pet therapy. We had a dog, rabbit,the patients responded great as well as the staff. They are often a blessing to the patients, esp the ones with no family just the staff.

  6. This is a wonderful ministry. I am in awe. I wish I knew how to train my beastie that well. Max is amazing.