Doug Delony was jogging through his local park one afternoon when he spotted something odd. In particular, he saw a man with a baby stroller; Delony quickly noticed, though, that there was no baby in sight. And when he investigated even further, he discovered what turned out to be a truly heartwarming story.
By day, Delony is a Houston-based news producer at local station KHOU. In an interesting turn of events, though, he ended up making news himself for what he posted online. And what he discovered was pretty much by accident: the journalist simply went to the park for a run one day and snapped a photo of something that caught his eye.
In fact, Delony was taking a jog through Discovery Green, like he often did in the afternoons, when he noticed a man with a baby stroller. The producer had actually noticed the same guy before, and he had firmly stuck in his mind for one particular reason.
That’s because the journalist had noted that the stroller never seemed to contain a baby. Instead, most days, the man brought along another living thing to the park. It turned out that this was a dog, but what was also clear was that there was something different about this canine.
Delony had taken in both the dog and the stroller, put two and two together and sensed that the hound must be disabled. On one particular occasion in the park, however, the journalist saw the man letting the dog rest on the grass before offering it water out of a portable cup.
And Delony was so touched by what he saw that he posted two photographs of the man and the dog to his Facebook page. To accompany the snaps, he wrote, “An adorable dog and a nice guy – God bless ’em.” And just like that, his post went viral, while capturing the hearts of many online along the way.
Indeed, the story has continued to spread ever since the journalist posted the photographs back in May 2016, with over 385,000 people having shared the post to date. What’s more, its popularity led KHOU to want to find out more about the kind-hearted man and his dog.
So, the station investigated further and, in doing so, uncovered a fascinating story. It turned out that the man involved was called Troy Griffin. Griffin lived just across the street from the park, with his wife, Edie Mayo, and their beloved dog, Max.
And Delony was correct in assuming that Max was a dog with disabilities. A bout of high blood pressure had caused one of the animal’s retinas to tear, leaving him blind in one eye. Max’s other eye, moreover, was badly affected by a cataract.
The poor dog also has arthritis and is on medication to ease the symptoms. And as you might have correctly guessed from Max’s ailments, he’s no puppy. Quite the opposite, in fact: he’s now 16 years old, which is a whopping 112 in human years.
Neither his age nor his disabilities have bothered his doting owners, though. In fact, Mayo and Griffin said to KHOU in May 2016 that he’s very much “part of [their] family.” That’s why they so diligently take him to the park every day in the stroller to get some fresh air.
“When we take him outside, you can tell he’s having a good time. You can tell he’s just enjoying himself. And if we can do that for him, why not?” Griffin, the man who appeared in Delony’s photographs, added to KHOU. Indeed, Max may be an old dog, but he still clearly has a good life.
Meanwhile, Griffin’s wife, Mayo, described her canine buddy as her “best friend.” She added to the station, “He’s taught me life lessons that I will never forget.” Not only that, but the dog she has owned since he was three weeks old has even saved her from potentially dangerous situations.
For instance, when Mayo was living near Lake Livingston, Texas, Max proved himself a loyal and clever canine by warning her that a tornado was approaching. And now that they’ve grown older together, she aims to continue to show Max love and pay him the respect that he deserves.
“I don’t think you should just turn your back on someone just because they’re elderly,” Mayo said, referring to both her dog as well as humans. “I think they deserve our love and our care and our attention. And there is so much we can learn from them even as they get older.”
So, naturally, Griffin and Mayo have dedicated themselves to Max’s happiness. “I think we should do for him [Max] what we would do for our parents, or our children,” Griffin explained to KHOU. And so the joint trips from their tenth floor apartment down to the park continue.
“It’s all about dignity and respect,” Griffin went on. His wife added, moreover, that Max has made her think about how people treat each other. “It’s not just for him, it’s how you treat everybody,” she said.
In addition, the story has attracted so much attention online that Max seems to have developed an international fan base. People from all over the world have commented on the photographs of Griffin and Max, saying things like, “You are so special, Max. Your ‘parents’ are so very, very loving and full of kindness.”
Some have sent Max gifts and shared their own stories of living with an elderly dog. One family even visited the park in question, just on the off-chance that they could meet Max. It appears that this heartwarming tale has captured the hearts of many.
Indeed, the simple snaps of one man and his dog enjoying some quality time in the park turned out to have quite the touching story behind them. And its overriding theme of love, care and respect may have left many who have read about Max feeling a little better about the world.