The Misadventures of Maverick

A young family of four (five including Maverick) live on our property. They rent our guesthouse and share the property with us. For the most part, they are a typical family – Dad, Mom, ten year-old daughter, and six year-old son. And then there’s Maverick, the 170-pound Great Dane who lives with them. Today’s post is dedicated exclusively to the entertaining antics of this colt-size canine with paw prints the size of pancakes. Welcome to the Misadventures of Maverick.

In spite of his gargantuan stature, he is an indoor dog that sleeps on the couch (the entire couch), begs for scraps at the dinner table (or helps himself from the saucepan on top of the stove if no one is looking), and stands by the door when he needs to “go” outside. In addition to a number of disappearing burgers and pizzas (right off the serving platter in the center of the table), he consumes nearly 100 pounds of dog food every month and when he “hugs” you (with his front paws on your shoulders), he is over seven feet tall.

The best thing about Maverick is that he truly believes he is part of the family, just one of the kids – and he certainly acts like one. He has an insatiable sweet tooth and finds creative ways to satisfy his desire. He taught himself how to open the kitchen cupboards and has been known to help himself to candy, cookies, cake mixes, and other treats. He can open a Costco-sized box of granola bars, unwrap each one without destroying the foil wrapper, and eat the entire box in less than an hour.

Like most kids, cleaning up after himself is not a high priority. In addition to the unbelievable mess he creates on one of his cupboard opening rampages, a trip to the store to replace next month’s dessert reserves is often preceded by a trip to the vet as eating chocolate and other human treats is not a good idea for a Great Dane.

After an extended discussion about whether to get Maverick-proof (i.e. child-proof) locks for the cupboards or a gate for the kitchen, Mom and Dad opted for the gate. Maverick is still part of the family – but he is no longer allowed free access to the kitchen.

In spite of these cute and charming “just one of the kids” stories, when I first met Maverick I was terrified of this massive dog. The way I saw it, any four-legged creature with big teeth and huge paws had to be ferocious, right?

Over time, we got to know each other. When Maverick came bounding toward me at full speed every time I stepped outside, my initial certainty that I was under attack and about to be devoured by a ravenous beast began to subside. I eventually realized that Maverick was genuinely happy to see me. What I initially interpreted as being knocked down and pushed out of the way was merely his idea of a 170-pound, affectionate nudge.

The ice broke recently when Maverick insisted on helping me “paint” my deck furniture. After spray painting a wicker patio table, I left it in the yard to dry. When I looked out the window and saw Maverick “christening” my new table, it reminded me of the time I let my firstborn son run through the yard as a toddler without a diaper (except for the 170-pounds and the leg in the air).
Maverick made me laugh and we’ve been friends ever since. Just like a child, it’s hard to stay mad at anyone who will climb up and sit in your lap (or should I say stand over your lap) and look up at you with those sad “puppy dog” eyes that are begging for attention and long to be close to you.

As much as I hate to admit it, I have grown attached to this huge, loveable, funny looking dog named Maverick. Recently, he became very ill with an obscure infection that was difficult to diagnose. His illness was quite serious and I was sad when it occurred to me that this extremely talented nuisance maker and havoc-maker might not be around much longer.

My sadness paled in comparison to that of his adopted family. In short, many prayers were uttered on Maverick’s behalf that week. God must have decided we needed that loveable, pain-in-the-butt around a while longer. I am happy to report that Maverick is now fully recovered and once again up to his playful antics, namely chasing after the “human” kids and watering my outdoor plants and bushes.

I believe God put Maverick in my life to help me remember not to take life too seriously and perhaps to remind me that fun and laughter are part of this wonderful gift God gave us – the gift of life.


My husband and I were recently introduced to a nutritional program for achieving and maintaining optimal health. Some difficult life transitions over the past few years had helped us “grow” in more ways than one. We had become prime candidates for losing weight and getting healthy so we decided to get with the program - literally.

Phase 1 of this lifetime health optimization program involves reaching a healthy weight –through safe, and nutritionally-balanced meals designed for weight loss. The idea of reaching a healthy weight in preparation for a lifetime of healthy living made sense to us and my husband’s strong aversion to “fad diets” was not an issue (since healthy weight loss is simply a byproduct of this nutritionally-based optimal health program).

So on my husband’s birthday (July 21), we decided to give each other a highly romantic gift – 100 pounds of fat (e.g. weight loss). We set two goals – 1) to look like we looked and weigh what we weighed when we first met and 2) to be able to play the same games and do the same things with our grandchildren that we did with our children. Our time frame was five to eight months (by New Year’s or Easter at the latest). We hope to make a New Year’s resolution to stop losing weight.

The results of our first seven weeks have been phenomenal and far beyond anything we expected. I am down 25 pounds and my husband is down 40 pounds – in just 49 days. That translates to an average of nearly four pounds a week for me and almost six pounds a week for my husband.

I am having the time of my life pulling old clothes from the back of the closet and fitting into clothes I haven’t worn for years. I don’t track things as closely as my husband but he has lost a grand total of 24.25 inches from his neck (1.50), chest (3.75), stomach (5.25), waist (3.00), butt (2.25), thighs (1.50x2), calves (1.00x2), arms (1.25x2), and forearms (0.50x2). I am now married to the disappearing man!

This weight loss journey to date has been nothing short of miraculous. And we can’t really take any credit. It’s not like we’ve done much. All we do is eat six times a day and drink a half gallon of water (8 glasses) – something anyone can do. We weren’t even exercising! My husband says he’s never hungry because we have to eat so often. I get hungry sometimes but there are lots of snack choices. In addition to the unbelievable speed of weight loss, this program is really easy.

I also must give credit to our new friends and health coaches Lawrence and Jeannie who already know the ins and outs of the program. Without their personal time and attention, all of this would have been quite overwhelming and we are grateful for their support. Access to experienced health coaches (at no cost) has been an indescribable blessing and was one of the more attractive aspects of the program for us.

The change in our appearance to date has been stunning and the increase in energy significant. We notice changes in the mirror each day and in one another. Others are noticing (and commenting) as well. We are walking advertisements for this new lifestyle and living examples of lives changed through a conscious decision to 1) make a change and 2) stay true to that decision. We can’t stop talking about the changes and others are being drawn to the program regularly due to the obvious changes they see in us.

This experience has made me think about my spiritual life. I wonder if the eternal change in my heart is as noticeable as the recent change in my appearance. When I look at myself and my life, do I see changes in my heart and attitude to which I have stayed true? Do my husband and those who know me see obvious results from the conscious decision I made to live for God and not for myself? Have I allowed daily nutrition from God’s word to bring lasting change to my life? Are others irresistibly drawn to God because of my life? I hope so.

May the before and after pictures of our lives provide a contrast that is significant and easily noticed by others.