Dog Rescued From Life In A Basement Is Now Learning How Great The World Really Is

Written by: Kellie Stevens

May 13, 2016

Imagine spending your entire life locked in a cold, damp basement with the barest minimum of care and human interaction. Now imagine having even that small comfort taken away when your person abandons you, never to return – not even to feed you or give you water.

This is what happened to Max, a 1-year-old American Bulldog/Pit Bull mix.

Max Basement

Max’s previous “owner” was the superintendent of a building in New York City. He got Max as a puppy, but once he outgrew the adorable size and began filling into the 91 pounds of muscle that he now stands at, Max was banished to spend his days and nights in the basement through no fault of his own.


Tamir Shmerling, a tenant of the building, took notice that Max was never getting walks so he befriended the superintendent for the sole purpose of being able to take the dog out whenever he could. The dog was caged in his own filth and neglected with the exception of food and water. Shmerling called the police four times to complain about the conditions – each time with officers coming to talk to the “owner” but nothing ever changing.

Tamir and Max collage

Then came the news: the superintendent of the building had lost his job and was moving out. He was leaving Max behind, and asked Tamir to find him a new home. Sadly, Shmerling was unable to take Max himself due to his overbooked schedule and knowing that he couldn’t provide the stability that the dog needed. With tenants complaining about the dog, Tamir was given less than a week to find a place for him, so he took his plea to social media.

Max wants out

It just so happened that a reporter for The Dodo had also recently moved into the building and became aware of Max’s situation. An article was written about him earlier in the week and within one day, the story had affected so many people that The Dodo reached out to a few local rescue groups to find Max help.

The lucky group that said yes to this handsome face and took him in? Mr. Bones & Co.

Within minutes of meeting Max, founder Elli Frank told Shmerling and The Dodo, “We’ll take him. He’s ours.” Full footage of the meeting can be found below. If you aren’t familiar with Elli and her colorful personality, we highly recommend you watch the whole thing!

Max was then transported to the Mr. Bones & Co. vet partner in Bed-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where he received medical treatment and was neutered. So far he has shown zero aggression towards people or other dogs, though he is very curious about cats. This healthy boy is having a major sensory overload now that he’s permanently in the above-ground world, and loving all of the attention he has missed out on for so long!

Max Elli vet 2

Mr. Bones & Co. founder Elli Frank with Max at the vet

BarkPost spoke with Elli to get the full scoop, and she told us that she wasn’t expecting Max to be so huge – but it just means there’s more of him to love. She told us:

Max has actually been a wonderful tool to educate people on what Pit Bulls really are. So many people have stopped me when I’m walking him around to ask questions because he’s so BIG and because he’s ALWAYS smiling. People ask if he’s a purebred Pit Bull, and it gives me the chance to tell people that there is no such thing as a “purebred” Pit Bull. It’s a classification of several types of breeds, and whenever they’re buying from outlets such as Craigslist breeders advertising “purebred” Pit Bulls, they’re really just getting a Pit Bull “type” that has likely been bred with a neighbor’s dog. They’d be just as well off to go to a shelter and adopt one of the millions of Pit Bulls that are waiting for a home.

The main thing people notice about Max is that he’s a big, happy dog. For that reason, Elli has nicknamed him “The Mayor of Bedstuy.”

Of course, Max isn’t perfect – as no dog is. Being kept the way that he was, Max has missed out on a lot of the developmental skills that most dogs learn as they grow from puppy to adult. That, coupled with the fact that he is massive and strong, means he needs work on his social skills and leash manners. But he is happy to learn!

Max dog vet

One disappointment that Mr. Bones & Co. has dealt with since rescuing Max this week is that of the hundreds of people who pledged to donate money to his care and showed interest in fostering or adopting him, they have only raised $300 towards his vet care and received a mere four applications. However, one of those applications has been approved to foster Max!

Elli told us:

The rescue process doesn’t really begin until we find them a home. We call the first two weeks a ‘trial’ period to see if it’s a good fit, because sometimes it isn’t and it’s not the dog’s fault. Having a dog returned to us makes people think that there’s something wrong with it, and then it becomes much harder to find them a home.

Whether this turns into the forever home that Max has deserved from the beginning remains to be seen, but we do know he’s in the best of hands with the Mr. Bones & Co. crew. Be sure to follow them for updates on Max and to learn more about other dogs up for adoption on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Max steps

The Dodo has set up a CrowdRise fundraiser to help with the cost of Max’s vet bill. Please donate what you can so that Mr. Bones & Co. can continue doing the incredible work that they do!

And of course, a special thanks to Tamir Shmerling for bringing Max to attention and getting him the help that he needed. If you see an animal in need, speak up. We are the only voice that they have!

Featured Image via: The Dodo (Jessi Stafford)/Tamir Shmerling
H/t: The Dodo

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Written by: Kellie Stevens

May 13, 2016

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