Finding doggone love after loss

10480105-702979213084528-3377719475885110896-oBy Gaby Galindo


Max, my giant German-Shepherd-Great Dane mix, and I were inseparable from the moment we met.

He was my best friend and we understood each other like no one else could. We did everything together and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. Until reality set in and I am forced to learn how quickly. After my Max passed away, I wasn’t sure my heart was ready for another dog again. I felt an immense pang of guilt in the pit of my stomach at the thought of “replacing” him with another dog.

As time went on however, the stillness and silence that hung throughout the house became just unbearable. Small reminders of his presence still lingered around the house. Large tufts of fur collecting under the couch. The teeth marks on the chairs from his teething phase to the giant claw marks on the door from when he wanted to come inside the house, still remained. At times, I would catch myself calling, whistling, and beckoning to my best friend, only to realize they would not be answered, at least not in this life.

It became too much. Then one sweltering summer day, my family and I came across this small, shivering, mangy pup at an animal shelter. He was covered in thin patches of golden-brown fur. One look into his pouting puppy face and we instantly fell in love. I knew then that I was wrong to think that having another dog would disgrace the memory of Max. On the contrary, there is no better way to honor his life than to save another. To adopt a dog and give him the same love and devotion I showed Max.

We named him Nacho, after the legendary hero from “Nacho Libre,” and took him home. As we grew to know one another, I recognized the same unmistakable curiosity, energy and zest for life I saw in Max. I was convinced a part of Max’s spirit lived inside Nacho, that Max sent him to love and take care of us in his absence.

At the same time we were totally unprepared for chaos that ensued once Nacho came into our lives. Out of all the dogs I’ve ever known, Nacho is without a doubt the most troublesome. He consumed, gnawed and destroyed everything within reach. He became attributed with names such as “Piranha with Fur,” “Monster Mutt” and “Cujo.” He ate steel wool brushes, napkins, trash, towels and blankets, shoes, toys, clothes, wood, plastic, rocks, dirt, and even pieces of concrete from the back yard. At one point he even chewed through a prescription bottle and ate the contents inside. After a crazed drug trip and two days in the vet ER, he went back to his usual shenanigans. It’s truly a miracle he’s survived this long, after so many close calls. We usually attribute his behavior as part of puppyhood, but sometimes wonder whether or not he has all his marbles “upstairs.”

Nonetheless, we love him all the same. He may give us plenty of headaches and heart attacks, but he also gives us so much joy and laughter. Life has been a wild, exciting adventure with Nacho, and I cherish every moment with him, good and bad. It’s been a year since we adopted him and he’s become a bit more behaved. A BIT. He doesn’t chew on everything as much and is content with the occasional rawhide or chew treat. Nacho still gets pretty hyper, but he’s still learning and with patience, discipline, and lots of love I know he’ll be just fine.


E-mail Galindo at


Leave a Reply