"He's very sweet. He's a good, good buddy," said Christy Walter.
So when Max was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer of the spleen known as hemangiosarcoma, the family said it was difficult.
Max's vet shared the grim news.
"This is how long he has. He has one to two months. There's a trial you can try," said Walter.
The family enrolled Max in a new clinical trial at Penn Vet that's testing an ancient Chinese mushroom.
It's a test that could be major, and even mean help for humans fighting cancer, according to Dr. Dorothy Cimino-Brown, professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
"What we saw was so unexpected and so dramatic and the potential implications of it are huge," said Cimino-Brown.
Researchers found dogs treated with a compound from the yun-zhi mushroom, known as PSP, had the longest survival times ever reported for dogs with the deadly disease, going from a maximum two months with no treatment, to several dogs living over a year with only the mushroom as a treatment.
For now, the Walter's are thankful for their extra time with Max.
"And good time, quality time, not he's lying there sick time," said Walter.
Researchers were so surprised with the results of the first study that they actually went back and looked at the biopsies to make sure the dogs had the deadly spleen cancer to begin with.
There are products with PSP on the market for human and animal consumption, but researchers caution they are not regulated by the FDA since they are supplements.