10 years ago I went in search of adopting my first dog since I was a child. I had grown up and thought I could handle the responsibilities of owning my own canine.

To be honest, I think it was just plain luck that I went to an animal shelter and adopted a dog. Back then, I had no idea about the millions of dogs that were put down each year or any of the other reasons why I should adopt and not buy.

I wound up at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey and I immediately fell in love with Max, though his name was different back then.

The next few months were rough. Max had extreme separation anxiety and I have the teeth dented doorknobs to prove it. There were a few moments when I wondered if I had made the right choice.

But then something happened.

I noticed that because of his attachment to me, I could teach him all sorts of tricks. He learned them all so fast, many in ten minutes. If he was getting my attention, he would be happy to do any trick I asked of him. I found that the time we spent together doing this, built a strong connection between us.

As the years went by, Max and I became quite a team. My friends knew, if they invited me over, Max was coming with me. That’s just the way it was.

What I didn’t realize at the time was how much Max had added to my life. He was and still is, my best friend. And I make no excuses or apologies for that. This furry creature has been here for me for ten years, through good and bad times, always with a smile for me.

In fact, pretty much everything I do in my life… the people I know, the work I do, the causes I fight for… are all because I walked into St. Hubert’s and spotted my best friend waiting for me.

Max may be 11 years old but I prefer saying 11 years young! He still loves going on mile long walks with me every day and though he is just a bit mellower than he used to be and he has a very distinguished grey beard, I am happy to report that he still holds a grudge against the mailman, he still views squirrels as the advanced stealth team of the enemy and when it comes to his brother, Remy, he’s still the boss.

Happy 11th Birthday, Maxie Moo! I hope I’ve given you the same amount of happiness that you’ve given to me over the past years.


P.S. These are some pictures I took of Max today.