When Mom Met Max


When Mom Met Max 

Snuffle. Snuffle.

Was that a stifled burp or a muffled sniffle by the man with the black bag (AKA my blonde husband holding his airplane duffle)?

Snort. Snort.

Snort? Maybe it had been a stifled sniffle which had built up to a great nasal explosion, an expulsion of snot and sound. I waited to see if the man with the bag would pull out a tissue. I offered one, but he just laughed, or giggled—chuckled, really, under his breath. He quietly chortled, he muffled his chuckle, like the snort or the snuffle. What’s with the chuffle? Are we tigers now?

There I stood, impatient outside John Wayne Airport, dangling my hubby’s car keys above my head, ready to take off, jet back home. My hubby, on the other hand, continued to stand there, blue eyes twinkling, bag still held up awkwardly with both hands. Did he expect me to carry the thing? What did he think I was? His valet?

The corners of his mouth turned up, lips closed. The resulting look fell somewhere between a smile and a smirk…a smlirk, then? I shook the keys. They jingled lightly between my thumb and forefinger. My husband eyed the bag. His eyes eyed my eyes until my eyes followed his eyes to where our eyes eyed two more eyes, together, in the bag.

Out he had popped, a tiny Jack in the Box: furry wrinkly skin, squarish head, rosebud ears and pugged-up nose. The apple-sized fuzzy white head (boasting one adorable brown ear) peaked up from the flight duffle and I laughed. I laughed and I laughed and I laughed until I cried at this snuffly, silly, snorty, goofy, chuffly bulldog puppy—our puppy. Our very own, my very first puppy. He had one brown peanut shape on his lower back which wiggled and jiggled and made us both giggle. We named him Maximus “Bubba”—he had been born in Arkansas after all. My Max. My Bubba. Welcome home to Southern California, Southern puppy. Welcome home.


Where Max Was From


Where Max Was From

At his first home, his puppy home, they called him “Head”. This most literal moniker was not as unusual as it sounds given the size of this puppy’s head (large) in comparison to his body (smaller). Neither was it unique—if you happen to be a bulldog puppy which indeed “Head” did happen to be. His box-shaped head sat on his white shoulders and his smooshed-in nose graced the middle of his face. White fur, short and soft, wrinkled up in folds on his body, blanketing him all over save for one brown rosebud ear and one distinctively peanut-shaped spot on his back. Hailing from Arkansas, “Head” happened to be a southern born puppy. Given his native stomping grounds, or shall we say pawing grounds, one might expect “Head” to have exuded a certain proper gentility, but from the start, “Head” tended more toward a redneck rusticity—a loopy, ungainly one at that. This puppy was no Rhett Butler.

So, when “Head” started his new life, leaving Razorback Country and its bbq behind, he did not find himself traveling first class in a diamond encrusted kennel to the palm lined streets of Rodeo Drive. He did not even travel in a kennel. “Head” did not even head toward Beverly Hills. No, this adventurous bulldog puppy found himself quite at home tucked gently in a black gym duffel bag stowed under an airplane seat—coach class—headed for inland Orange County. He didn’t sweat it as he traded Hogville for Smogville. Besides, the towel underneath him delicately cushioned his tiny puppy body and his larger puppy head, helping him sleep through the flight. And those two Big People, his adoptive parents, cooed over him, and fussed over him, and loved him from that point forward…unconditionally and completely…enough so to appreciate and reference his southern roots with a new and aptly chosen name: Maximus “Bubba”. Welcome home to the OC, Max.