Dear Friends and Family of Max,

Maxie has been a true delight and unconditionally loving presence in my life — and many of yours — for the past 15 and a half years. He is an old man now at 17 and suffering from old age maladies. Max loves his ice cream and prefers vanilla.

We are helping him pass this Thursday at noon at my home with Dr. Michele Reynolds from “Home to Heaven.” You are most welcome if you want to be with us here or in your hearts to celebrate a remarkable dog. We appreciate the love you shared with Maxie, as well as your patience when he was a little curmudgeonly at times.

Max had an ability to connect. He regulated himself beautifully and was able to really regulate me. The love between us is very strong. All animal lovers know that these special beings can crawl into your heart and live there. Maxie will be living in mine forever.
One example of his doggy intelligence: He used to come up to me and put his head on my thigh while I was working and refuse to leave me. I thought he was insisting on a walk… but I quickly came to realize that he was doing this at the precise moment that I was crossing over into exhaustion and not smart enough to stop working myself.

Max was found 15 and a half years ago when I was cycling in the backwoods of Colorado with my friends from “Women on Wheels.” He was picked up by one of the swag teams and called “Nubbins” for his cute little cropped tail. Later we decided he was too manly for “Nubbins” and he became “Max.”

Poor little guy was sick and starving, chasing trucks in the middle of nowhere. Who knows how long he had been stranded there all alone. The girls scooped him up, took him to the next little town and smuggled him into the hotel for a wash and some chow. He was a happy guy, but scared too. I volunteered to take him to the pound in Denver when we got home. He never got there.

 After a few days getting him checked out by the vet, who told us he was a pure-bred red Australian Heeler, Larry and I adopted him and he began a year and a half healing process from his abandonment trauma. We speculated he was a barn pup, as he had no use for stairs. And he did not know the difference from inside and out, meaning there were lots of messes in those first few months.

In the beginning, Maxie was afraid to be touched so I just had my arms open wide in an invitation but never pushed touch. Gradually, at his own pace, he took more and more affectionate contact to become a total love muffin! I used to massage his back every morning and as soon as he would awaken, he would snuggle up and align himself for this yummy ritual. Unfortunately, his nails were too long to return the favor!

I studied five different training books to learn how to train myself to be with him in the best possible way. I found the books were really training for humans to learn to interact correctly with another species rather than about training dogs specifically. I finally settled on that great book, How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend: A Training Manual for Dog Owners, about monks keeping their monastery alive by training German Shepherds though compassion. The book was filled with gorgeous insights and does double duty as a manual for Secure Attachment training.
Maxie’s breed is very stoic, so it is even difficult now to know when Maxie is in pain. He lets you know with a low growl when you touch him in the wrong spot. With Kathy’s intuitive dog reading help, he and she have told us that now it is the right time to let him go to his next experience.

Maxie was a Heller — a healer as well as a heeler. He could be on “down-stay” for over an hour and be in our office with clients who were open to a little more limbic support from the animal world. He helped many clients return to their own loving hearts through the support of his — even offering his face and fur for clients reaching out to cling to on their way to returning to Secure Attachment. Those that have a leaning toward Avoidant attachment (me included) find animals even more helpful on the way toward regaining bonding than your standard animal lover.

I want to thank Larry and Kevin Heller who took Maxie on many a run and shared a loving home with him for many years. Huge never-ending gratitude goes out to Jay and Carolyn Call, Bob and Susan Heller, and Mary, Wayne and Kate. You are all truly great dog lovers who took care of him, played with him, nursed him, and loved him when I was out of town teaching for over 15 years. I could never have had a dog in good conscience without all of YOU!

Max loved to hike the Colorado Rockies, run with and chase his loved ones, fetch a ball or track down a rabbit. He tried to drive the car, always preferring the driver’s seat. Heelers are part dingo, so they can withstand the heat of Australia and start out as stealthy, silent dogs who learn to bark from other dogs later. They always know who is in their “group.”

Max nipped ankles, pantlegs, bicyclists, skateboarders and, in his momentary crazy grandiosity, would try to catch cars driving by. Bred as a heeler, it was in his bones and instincts to chase and herd cattle, sheep, and horses. Heelers do that by nipping at the heels of the cattle to move them. In the wild west of Colorado, in the pioneer days, they used to use these dogs as silent cattle rustlers to steal herds so I always told Max he probably had a criminal past! 

As natural born herders, they collect strays. While hiking, if someone strayed off the trail to relieve themselves, Max would be right there trying to get them back into the group! When he was not proudly trailblazing ahead, he would run to and fro from the front of the group to the back to keep track of who was hiking and keep everyone together.

And watch out if we came across a bunch of kids playing football! Max would try to bite the ball and round up and herd the kids.

Max is a delight and has loved me so well for so long it is hard to say goodbye, but I know it is his time. I feel so privileged to be with him at this important time. He will be surrounded by loved ones who will keep loving him as he travels to join other friends and family. Maxie, you have been a light and we love you!

Rainbow Bridge. I want to also share a beautiful poem that Joanie shared with me…I love it!  It is called Rainbow Bridge for a special poem if you have lost a pet you deeply loved.)

My heart is full with Max and all of you!






  1. Rebecca September 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Dearest Diane and Maxie,

    The last five days I’ve been in the PNW wilderness backpacking contemplating starting a new with a puppy. The name that kept coming to me is Max.

    As we have only just met at the Colorado retreat, I am a newbie and never had the privilege of meeting or knowing your dog Max. I am so grateful for his presence and now energy in your life and equally as grateful for what you are able to share with all of us.

    Being your ambivalent attachment demo in Colorado, I received two very profound shifts that are continuing on in my nervous system. Thank you from the bottom, the middle, and the top of my heart!

    I am most honored to share the vibration and name of Max as I meet my new constant protector and resonant friend.

    In Loving Spirit,

  2. Srina Lynne September 4, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing your heart & yours & Max’s Love!
    Blessings in this transition.

    • Diane Heller September 9, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Dear Srina – Thanks for checking and and blessings to you too! Warmly diane

  3. Starr September 4, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing your precious Max and his stories with us. They are such dear family members and co-therapists! Wishing you an easy transition with him in a way that jhonors this longstanding love. Blessings!

    • Diane Heller September 9, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Yes Starr he was a star co-therapist for many years while he could still manage the stairs up to my office. Sometimes he would sit in and other times he would faithfully guard the door on the outside! Fond memories. He had a truly beautiful passing with loved ones all round.
      Warmly diane

  4. Amar September 4, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Dear Diane,

    So touched by your love to Max and words. Lots of love to you and Max, holding both of you in my heart.

    with love,

    • Diane Heller September 9, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Dear Amar – so good to hear from you and max will love connecting to your beautiful heart! Warmly diane from Copenhagen

  5. Susan Lemak September 4, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Thank you, dear Diane, for posting. Four-legged friends are some of the best we’ll ever have. Love. All around. ~ Susan

    • Diane Heller September 9, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Dear Susan – can’t agree with you more! Pets add so much to our lives and Max certainly did for me. Thanks so much for your share. Warmly diane

  6. Lara September 4, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Dear Diane,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful and heartfelt tribute to Maxie. Sounds like you shared an amazing connection and love. If life is all about loving each other and gracefully letting go when the times come, you have both given us a lovely example.

    As always, I am inspired by your warmth, openness and connection.

    With love and sympathy,

  7. Kate Brennan September 4, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Diane – What a beautiful love story. As I was reading your post- my border collie Rory came up to me and put her head in my lap. It was as if she sensed I was connecting with you and a special dog in spirit. Thank you so much for sharing such a heartfelt story about a very special friend.

  8. Margaret September 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    My blessing to you and all that shared their hearts with Max. I too love dogs and know that attachment is how I first learnt what and how it really felt. It was how I first learnt to really trust and how to trust my gut feeling’s. My four fur babies taught me all these things they taught me these things the very things that I did not get in my early development. All my fur babies had different personalities and temperaments and I learnt a lot from them and how they handled their world. I watched they watched me. Most of all they loved me with no conditions or judgments on me and I had none on them. It was the first time in my life that I found out what love really feels like. A dog made me.

  9. Walter September 4, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    My thoughts & prayers are with you as your devoted companion Max goes on ahead…

    I think that there are some angels in heaven who may be created this Rainbow Bridge for us to have special place to reconnect with those we love and who love us.

    I think you may have belonged to Max just as much or perhaps more than he belonged to you.

    Thinking of you at this difficult time and hope the sweetness of the many many memories of Max may soften your feelings of loss.


  10. Deborah September 4, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Dear Diane,

    My heart goes out to you and Maxie. He had a long life, and he loved you long and well. I have held both my dog and my cat in my arms as they passed out of their bodies, but their hearts will always be intertwined in mine, and I know Max’s heart is with yours.

    Sending you love and hugs, and a poem called “Things We Can Learn From a Dog.”


    Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.

    Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

    When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

    When it’s in your best interest, always practice obedience.

    Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.

    Take naps and always stretch before rising.

    Run, romp, and play daily.

    Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

    Be loyal.

    Never pretend to be something you’re not.

    If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

    When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

    Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

    Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

    Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

    On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

    When you are happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

    No matter how often you are criticized, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.

  11. Avadhan September 4, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Dearest Diane,

    As a fellow animal lover (and recovering avoidant attachment type) I hold you and Max in my heart of hearts, honoring both your love and your loss!

    Many blessings,

  12. Char Dillon September 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm


    What a beautiful eulogy for Max! I am remembering what you said your father reported on his deathbed, “it’s all about love.” Max is now, as he lived, in the arms of love, no longer blind or hindered by the vicissitudes of age. Your love let him go, and it will be in the loving arms of others that your grief will be carefully tended. Lots of people love you and I know will be with you in this transition.

    I’m so glad I got to meet Max in July and am so sorry for this loss. I am thankful for your life and your transparency during these precious and most vulnerable moments.

    Love and blessings,

  13. Kathy Stewart September 4, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Dear Diane,

    Your words about Max’s life with you is a gift to others – not just those facing the loss of a beloved pet – those who are still seeking secure attachment. Your example of raising Max (and his raising you!) touches the very heart of LOVE. Thank you, and Max, for this teaching, and may he run free across that bridge.
    With loving sympathy,

  14. Mike September 4, 2014 at 2:51 pm


    Bless your sweet soul.
    Maxie Loves you.

    With a Warm Hug, Mike Rose

  15. Lois Vanderkooi September 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Dear Diane–thank you for sharing in your love and loss with Max. I know that he got the best possible care with you and was able to help others out of his heart, gut, and mind because of his security with you. blessings as you transition with his loss. With love, Lois

  16. Beth September 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Diane & Max,

    My thoughts & prayers are with both of you today. The passing of a fur & four pawed family member is always difficult. You were a blessing to him, just as much as he was a blessing for you. Remember, he may not be with you physically for a time, but his paw prints will always be on your heart – until you meet again, at the Rainbow Bridge (long gone from your life but never absent from your heart).

    Deepest sympathy,
    Beth Penrod

  17. Erika September 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Dearest Diane & Maxie,
    Lovingly standing with you both throughout this transitiion. All the Love, Support & deep connection of evolutionary partnership you will continue to share now as Maxie, your timde to move out of your body into the greater field presence you will continue to hold …
    In deep gratitude for all your generosity & wisdom in guiding the profound work you have made possible by being all that you have been, are now, & will continue to be in our lives as we contiue to move forward with all that you have hleped generate & guide.
    I open my heart & soul and open in all encopmpassing Love
    to support your transition in gently letting go without fear
    knowing that we will hold Diane in the very special presence of your love & contribution to her & to all of us
    Thank You for your invaluable contributions,
    they will live on inside of our commitments to continue to forward the love, openness, willingness & insightful wisdom of who you are…
    Your gifts will live on
    We will take tender loving care of Diane on this plane as we partner with you where you in continuing to do so from where you are transitioning to…

    in deep Gratitude & Love for all the years of service to Diane & her life purpose & our greater good,
    with repspect and honor
    holding you with Love now & always…
    Erika Wagenius-Maurer with Lillie our dog, & Singneh our cat.
    We wish you welcoming connection with our our Beloved Tristan, who transitioned on Christmas eve of 2013, Chloe on Jan 3, 2010, Ilsa on March 5, 2005, Nastasia on Jan 6, 2001. All healers & supporters of secure conection & healthy attachment resourcing Love for evolving the greatest good… You are lovingly embraced by all of them as they now greet you over the rainbow bridge…

  18. Douglas Smith September 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm


    I immediately thought of a video I just saw of the animal communicator Anna Breytenbach that has made me more aware of inter-species intelligence and love we share. You have just given another instance.

  19. Reta Goldman September 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Dear Diane,

    I am with you and your Maxie in spirit and love today and for many days to come. He was obviously the perfect dog for you – both of you being true healers in a variety of ways. He may be gone from this world but obviously never forgotten and always loved. I so enjoyed your stories about his nurturing and loving presence when we were at Beaver Creek.

    Warm Wishes,
    Reta Goldman

  20. Phyllis Stein September 4, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    My human tears mix with those of everyone else in appreciation of the sacredness of the love that is being shared here and across all of the dimensions of life and of existence. It is this love that is the source of everything. Thank you.

  21. Wilja Westerhof September 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Dear Diane, Thank you for sharing this..I feel with you….beeing a dog loving person and having dogs…..Max sure sounds very special…he will be in peace and thankful for all the love that is there and was there.
    Much love,

    • Diane Heller September 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Dear all of you loving folks,

      I am deeply touched by your immense compassion and caring. Maxie had a beautiful passing, surrounded by some of his nearest and dearest – who whispered lots of “sweet somethings” into his little furry ears. We all sat around him on his special blanket on the front lawn and fed him his favorite treats.

      Max was so well loved through the gentle process of passing with Dr. Michele from “Home to Heaven”. She believes in honoring and celebrating the dogs life and gave us 90 min of sensitivity and kind support. Gorgeous job and so nice to do this passage at home where everything is familiar.

      I see Maxie as he was in his younger years running and playing with lots of other puppies now sh happily free of pain. this is an image he showed us himself through my intuitive friend, Kathy, who helped him let me know his desires – even for vanilla ice cream and salmon which he feasted on these last few days.

      Like most dogs, Maxie loved sticking his head out the window and having the wind blow on his face and through his fur. What he did that was a bit unusual, was to learn how to open the electric windows in my Honda himself!

      I would close them – especially in the cold Colorado winters. Max would open them back up – It took my a while to figure out want was going on and there he was – proud as could be – controlling the “open air policy” he was so fond of then.

      I just want to send a heart felt “Thank You” to all of you who have written – The response has been so beautiful and bountiful. I appreciate you and your comments so much. I am reading every one and cherishing them.

      I leave for teaching in Europe for 5 weeks and then stop over in NY city on the way home to participate in WIsdom Summit 2.0. so I am not back until Oct 17th now. Lots to do for prep and am feeling a bit emotional as you can imagine.

      I wanted to take this opportunity to send Blessings to all of you from me and Maxie. He’ll “keep a light on” for us!

      With deep appreciation from both of us,
      Warmly Diane and Maxie dog.

    • sarah gross September 7, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      I am just mush reading your story. Thank you for writing and sharing. I have a cat Tom Tom whom i feel the same way about – a life changing companion who shares my life. Prayers are with you and with Max passing over. blessings to you both- in deep resonance Sarah

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