Not just a man’s best friend


Photo courtesy Kelsey Kardell

Kelsey and her best friend Max spending quality time together in 2004.

Tess Riecke, Staff Writer

It is said that dog is man’s best friend. For freshman Kelsey Kardell, this certainly is true.

When she was seven years old, as an early birthday present to Kelsey, her family adopted its dog, Max. The Kardells had been out camping when they decided to make a visit to a home just a little outside Kelsey’s hometown, where their future dog was waiting.

Before they took the poodle shih tzu mix home, Kelsey and her siblings got to play with the small puppy in the big front yard.

“He was so tiny that when he was running, he ran into a dandelion and the seeds poofed in his face,” Kelsey said, smiling.

From then on, the Kardell family had its newest member.

Max slept with Kelsey every night and became one of her best friends.

Kelsey could tell Max everything about her day and would cuddle with him when she had a bad day. He would always get very excited when he was about to go on a walk. Max could always be relied on to make Kelsey’s day happier.

The fall before Kelsey came to Wayne State College, Max was diagnosed with a heart disease and given only two years to live.

“I was getting ready to head back to school when we decided to take him to the vet because he was sick,” Kelsey said.

Max had been coughing a lot the night before, wasn’t acting like himself and had little to no energy. The family wanted to take Max to the vet to see if there was anything that could be done to help him. Before they left, Kelsey’s mom had to help him outside to do his business because he couldn’t handle the walk on his own.

After Kelsey was done getting ready that morning, she went upstairs to see her mom holding Max because he was having difficulty breathing even while lying down. After Max had a seizure, they had decided to take him to the vet to put him down so he wouldn’t feel miserable anymore.

“On the way down, he actually ended up dying in my lap,” Kelsey said.

The family buried Max in their backyard that same afternoon. Kelsey and her sister wrote Max notes and buried them along with Max and some of his favorite toys.

Kelsey still remembers Max’s curly hair and where his favorite spot was to be scratched.

“There was a certain spot behind his ears that I would always scratch and that would make him twist his head,” Kelsey laughed.

Losing Max was the first experience Kelsey had with death. It made her realize that death was real and once someone was gone, they were really gone.

But Kelsey also realized that a dog can truly become a member of the family.