MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On this “Give to the Max Day,” we have a special tale involving a dog and his collection of golf balls.

Davos is an 11-year-old Bernese mountain dog.

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“As soon as I saw him I said, this is the pup,” Al Cooper said.

The day Al brought Davos home was the day his life took a turn for the better. Al had been battling cancer, which led to some pretty dark days.

“Ever since I’ve had him he’s been a perfect companion for me and keeps me smiling,” Al said. “I call him my rescue dog, because he rescued me in a sense.”

Al also realized Davos had a knack for rescuing golf balls. They would hop on a cart together, drive onto the course they lived by, and Davos would find tee shots that came up a little short — sometimes dozens at a time. They got so many that they had to store them in the freezer.

“They are just a cute pair. Yes they are,” said Dusty Barrett-Cooper, Al’s wife. “It’s just turned us into a family. We’ve had great times with it.”

Then came the question: What to do with all those golf balls? Their answer came while watching TV one night. A commercial for neglected animals came on and it seemed to affect Davos.

“He started crying at all those destitute dogs in those cages and stuff. Dusty came up with the idea of selling the balls and donating the money to the Humane Society,” Al said.

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So that’s what they did. They sold the balls to golfers and used that money to give back. On Give to the Max Day, they stopped by the Humane Society with a check for $1,000.

“We get the pleasure of starting the day with a big check from a big dog with a big heart,” said Deanna Kramer of the Animal Humane Society, Golden Valley.

Al and Davos’ donation also comes during National Animal Shelter week, which means their donation will be tripled by anonymous matching donors.

But it’s also bittersweet because it could be the last check they give.

“This year Davos is moving a little slower. I’m moving a little slower. And he’s already passed, by a couple years, the life expectancy,” Al said.

Still, for years this dynamic duo did their best to make sure a bad shot went to a good cause.

“We’ve had a darn, good run,” Al said.

The Animal Humane Society says Al and Davos’ donation will go towards day-to-day operations for other animals and veterinary services.

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John Lauritsen