Starting with Max—9th September, the anniversary of an extraordinary transformation

On the 9th of September,1999 we adopted Max, our beloved dog and best friend from the RSPCA. It was a day that transformed me and my life. Looking back, I am amazed at how God worked to inspire and strengthen me through a mere animal; and how much I have been changed beyond my control and imagination.   

Now today, fifteen years later in 2014, is the anniversary of compassion and commitment, but also of apprehension, fear and worries for a new life in Australia, alongside courage and determination to thrive. Max’s passing last year made this anniversary especially meaningful; as I was grieving, I developed a deeper understanding of what Max meant for me and how he rescued me from myself. I remember I used to think that once he left me, I would have lost my anchor. But on this day, while I am still saddened by my loss of the most beautiful creature I have ever known, I find myself carrying what he gave me. What he showed and passed on to me will never be lost. It shows how pure and unconditional love will never come to an end—its effects never cease to make wonders. 

Often we are heartened by something we didn’t know, or we thought we knew but actually we had not a clue. The heartening effect comes from within us; that which touches, charms or transforms our hearts reveals who we are and how we fare as human beings. This is certainly true when we deal with creatures not of our kind. An animal says (by gestures and actions) much about what we are not, and by caring for him or her, we discover what it means to be truly compassionate. In other words, we come to know ourselves, by knowing them. So the past fifteen years, the length of my Australian life, have been largely an experience of getting to know myself, unexpectedly, through knowing my dog, Max. How unknown life can be; and how wrong we intelligent humans can be when we thought we knew.  

On this day of remembrance, I see myself a dog-fearing but arrogant human stepping out to the destiny of uncertainties, for the sake of my family and keeping my promise, adopting an animal I thought I knew to be a trouble and burden to my new life.Then I see the same person, a few years later, much humbled by the extraordinary experience of living with Max, now risen up to vitality and joy, embracing the tedious duties of a dog owner, not looking back to the previous life in Hong Kong or questioning what if I hadn’t…

The 9th of September is a day of many thanks. Thank you very much, my faithful God, for having not forsaken me in a foreign land, but instead, having sent the best helper, Max, to accompany and uplift me in the most vulnerable times of my life. A big thank you also to the RSPCA in Yagoona, NSW, for having rescued Max and kept him alive and well until we found him. And my dearest Max, thank you so much for being you, for your pure love and loyalty, your support and never-failing encouragement.

And I know, Max would like to take this opportunity to thank his human family and all those who loved and cared for him. max thank you card





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