While it’s true that I rescued Max, the more accurate telling of our love story is that he rescued me. Max first came to me as a foster dog and my intention was to find him a forever home. The little guy had other plans though, as I soon realized when he took up residence in my bedroom. Max had already chosen his happy place. He unpacked his moving boxes, set out his family photos and even replaced the toilet paper with Charmin! Ha, I’m kidding of course! He came to me carrying his only a possession, a small monkey toy, but this is what I picture when he declared this was home.


One special trait we can learn from dogs is their willingness to love despite experiencing mistreatment, improper care and lack of affection. While it’s heartbreaking to even consider this reality, I do think there is a positive takeaway we can learn from these resilient animals. Life doesn’t happen to you; it happens for you. I certainly didn’t believe this at a younger age, but it’s a mindset I’ve adopted with the help of my four-legged beau. Life happens in completely unexpected ways and brings you opportunities you may have never expected. This is clear when you look at my path through life; it’s full of zigs and zags and ups and downs, but let’s be honest, whose isn’t?


We need to live more openly and honestly with each other, sharing the downs along with the ups. We need more than the highlight reel because ultimately your trials and your blessings are the same thing. It’s about reframing the obstacles in life as a benefit, and not seeing them as an inconvenience. When you choose to see life this way, you can better understand the purpose of your path.


Unexpectedly, Max became my passion and has continued to bless my life in many ways. He has transformed too; having gone from an abandoned rescue who was used to running wild on the streets to a master-level agility dog. Max is also the star of @oneupmax on Instagram and he inspired my book Adventures of One Up Max: Runic and the Crystal Cave. He’s a superstar with a powerful story to tell!


I seized the opportunity to share my love and my passion for Max and it has blossomed into an incredible love. Follow your heart, your passion and your dreams and let the challenges you face in life lead you to blessings you can’t even imagine. Welcome the opportunities when they come, even if they weren’t what you asked for, then allow them to take you even farther down the path to your dreams. I’m living this and so I know it’s true. I’m now an entrepreneur, children’s book author, financial planner, certified senior advisor, teacher, Olympic athlete, and a coach. You can be anything you want to be, too. Embrace what is meant for you!