Maxfield Papillion The Small Dog with a Big Purpose

Former Brooklyn Heights resident Jen Massing announced she will honor her beloved dog Maxfield Papillion, who passed away suddenly in March, with a series of books which will be out in time for the anniversary of Maxfield’s passing in March 2014. The books will cover Maxfield’s adventures with his loving human mother, Scatterbrains.

Characterized by Massing as a smart dog who knew how to get attention, the pair lived in Brooklyn Heights from 2004-2009 routinely covering the neighborhood and visiting Maxfield’s daily treat givers from Sam at The Pet Emporium on Montague Street to now-retired veterinarian Dr. Norton on Hicks Street. Due to the recession Massing now resides in Florida, which she says has also improved her health.

What does the tagline “a small dog with a big purpose” mean?
Massing: On a universal level all animals have a higher purpose. If we open our minds to nature and animals we connect better to the world we live in. Max served this purpose to me, to connect to the world because I had been sick when I got him. I wound up having 50-60% chronic migraine pain a month. I couldn’t keep a social schedule at all. By the time I got Maxfield I was in my mid 30’s. I had wanted to have a family well before then, but I wasn’t well enough to care for a child. I had all this love inside and he became the outlet for that love. By opening up our minds and hearts we can grow ourselves.

What are some of the dangers to dogs people may not be aware of?
Max thought the street was his buffet so he was always trying to eat off the ground. I tried to train him out of it but there’s only so much you can do. In Florida one of the biggest issues is there are a lot of landscapers who bring a bag lunch with them and just throw chicken bones in the street. The bones are deadly to dogs. There were a lot of times where I would find a bone in Max’s teeth he could have choked on and he was also allergic to the meat.

(Note: I saw a large amount of chicken bones on Henry Street last week so unfortunately it happens in Brooklyn Heights too.)

What is your goal for the books?
Massing: My goal is to have children books that are illustrated and one adult book. For the children’s books they will be chapter book style and the illustrations will be elaborate. Max learning how to fish is an entire book. I also want to create a mobile app for children with stories and points for avoiding the naughty stuff like the chicken bones. It’s a way to teach children how to be more aware of what is on the street in an urban area.

Will any of the proceeds go to charity?
I’m creating a Maxfield Papillion non-profit business to benefit therapy dogs and dogs that have chronic pain. The fund will be nationwide and provide dog parents or caregivers like war veterans that have disability a fund their veterinarians can tap in to at cost so their animals have a chance. I want to aid special needs people whose dogs are their lifeline and sometimes the only joy they have as they try to integrate back into society for whatever reason (like a war veteran). Max wasn’t a trained therapy dog but he did help me on my own journey.

What is your vision for the memorial page?
Massing: It doesn’t have to be that your dog died recently, it’s about celebrating your dog’s life story. Creative and artistic embellishment is totally allowed. If children want to draw something I will publish the illustration. Eventually I would like to have a physical workshop where people get together to creatively express their love of their animal as an outlet for the bereavement process.

Readers can contribute your own celebrations of your dog’s life now on

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  • Jen Massing

    I’m so thankful to Brooklyn Heights Blog for taking interest in my recently launched site, upcoming books and nonprofit. Brooklyn Heights hands-down is one of the best neighborhoods I’ve ever lived in and love the rich American history, people and culture.

    Two small things to note from this article: Dr. Norton clinic is closed but I’m told she still practices and does house calls. Also, my little Maxfield was a Papillon breed and therefore his surname was Papillon with one ‘i’ instead of two. I take full accountability for the error as an old photo I submitted had a collar plate with his name misspelled. Please know that I will honor your beloved animal companion’s biography or child’s art submission regardless of the year your pet passed.

    Currently, I’m getting ready to post a Baltimore, MD punk rocker’s Rhodesian Ridgeback’s biography, Candy, who passed in 1996. Sending love and peace to all! Jen Massing <3