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Children and adults of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, rally for this service-oriented rottweiler who’s given so much love and comfort to them.

By Tracey L. Kelley
January 27, 2021
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max, the therapy dog
Credit: Courtesy of Go Team Therapy Dogs Madison

If your canine best friend has ever put his head on your thigh when you're feeling blue or leaned against you to show support, then you understand just how much unconditional love therapy dogs give to people in need of solace. Max, a 6-year-old rottweiler in Sun Prairie, Wis., is exactly this kind of pooch—and all his goodwill is coming back to him as he bravely fights to get well.

According to WMTV, Max, a member of the Go Team Therapy Dogs Madison Chapter, is part of a family dedicated to service. His pet parents, Jan and Brian Beamer, are U.S. Navy veterans, and they have a son currently serving in Japan with the U.S. Air Force. Jan told WMTV that Max became a therapy dog after "a trainer spotted his special personality, and that counselors marvel at his ability to pick people out of a crowd who might need some comforting. He loves people … he loves to comfort people." 

From students to first responders, veterans to seniors, Max always knows when to extend a paw and muzzle nuzzles. In her WMTV interview, Jan said Max "made more than one thousand visits to people throughout his therapy dog career. Just watching him—observing him with people—if we would have the gentleness he has when we deal with people, it would make a big difference." But because of COVID, he had to stop visiting counseling offices, senior centers, and schools, and "started to mope around because he couldn't see his friends."

Max, the therapy dog, wearing a pet-me bandana
Credit: Courtesy of Go Team Therapy Dogs Madison

When the Beamers noticed Max limping a bit, they first thought he hurt himself somehow. But a veterinary checkup revealed he has bone cancer. They decided to amputate his leg and start chemotherapy. 

And that's when the community of Sun Prairie provided their beloved therapy dog with therapy. WMTV reported that "the Beamers have received cards, messages, prayers, and meals … and friends offer to watch or check in on Max when Jan and Brian are at work." Additionally, there's a GoFundMe page to help cover Max's medical care. 

But much to Max's delight, neighborhood children also comfort him with one-on-one attention and read to him "because they thought he needed cheering up," Jan told WMTV. "He loves it! His tail starts thumping. He just starts to smile and he's just happy that he gets to read books again."

WMTV reported that the Beamers are "amazed at the outreach people have had for Max. He's helped so many people, and to see the people turn around and help Max has been unbelievable."

Max's future as a "tri-pawd" therapy dog looks pretty good! As of January 21, his veterinarians didn't detect any more cancer after surgery. Peek at the Go Team Therapy Dogs Madison Chapter Facebook page to follow his progress!