February 25, 2019


Covington, GA – Max is a German shepherd mixed breed dog. In November 2018, when fiancées Samantha Yost and Josh Feeney were looking to adopt a pet, Max was an owner-surrender in the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Yost and Feeney moved to Covington late last fall. She is an intern at Antares Group, a Conyers accounting firm. He is an engineer whose work brought them here.

According to Yost, “It was obvious that Max’s previous owners showed their love with food and treats; the card on his pen listed his weight as ‘obese.’ The poor pup looked as though he had never been properly nourished or groomed.” She and Feeney had to wash their blackened hands after their first meeting with Max.

“Looking into his puppy eyes and taking in how much extra attention this guy needed, we had to have him,” said Yost.

Max was 115 pounds the day they adopted him. They immediately put him on a dog food only diet and kept him away from the table scraps he craved. They also started taking regular walks around their neighborhood, with Max trailing slowly behind.

“But then we decided to check out Turner Lake Park and it was the best decision we could have made for Max,” said Yost. “Out in nature Max really opened up. He started taking initiative on his walks, running ahead to the length of his leash and exploring all of the wonderful scents nature has to offer.”

He also became more fit. Max currently weighs 100 pounds and they are confident that he can lose another 20 pounds if they stick to their regimen.

Max and his family love Turner Lake Park and the Rob Fowler Trail System there. According to Yost, “I discover something else to love every time I visit. I am grateful that we live so close to the park and discovered it so quickly after we got Max. He would not have dropped weight as easily walking in circles around our neighborhood and he definitely would not have enjoyed his journey to health nearly as much.”

This is the third in a series of stories about how local citizens use and appreciate Newton County’s recreational trails. If you know a regular trail user or someone with a good “trail story,” please drop Newton Trails a line at


PHOTO CAPTION: Max with Samantha Yost and Josh Feeney at Turner Lake Park. (Photo by Duane Ford)


Media contact: Duane M. Ford, / 608-331-7151

Newton Trails is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting, developing, and sustaining a connected system of trails that supports a vibrant, healthy, and prosperous community. Its formal name is Newton County Trail – Path Foundation, Inc. Newton Trails has a record of success dating from the 1990’s. Working with various partners and using grant money and donations, its efforts have resulted in the development of over nine miles of paved multi-use trails within Newton County, Georgia. In 2016, Newton Trails secured a long-term lease for the 15 mile Norfolk Southern Railroad corridor between Covington and Newborn, Georgia. The Cricket Frog Trail is being developed on the old rail bed. Newton Trails sponsors bicycle rides, hikes, volunteer trail maintenance, and other activities associated with recreation and trails.


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