They say family comes in all kinds of flavors. I’ve always heard the expression there’s your birth family and your chosen family. As a gay man, I regularly hear in our culture, “You have the family you are born with and the family you choose. They may not be the same family.” that quote implying that one chooses your family. What I’m learning, though, is sometimes your family chooses you. Max decided to add me to her tribe.

Max is a beautiful golden Labrador who loves to play. I first got to know Max several years ago as my neighbor would play fetch in the street. Working from home, I’d sometimes hear them in the street and join as I was able. Max was always happy to run for the ball (until she was tired) or be in the middle while my neighbor and I tossed the ball in between the two of us. Max knew one of us would fumble, and she would jump to recover it.

During the pandemic, I’ve really been spending a lot of time with Max. We walk up to the top of the ridge together several days out of the week. What really surprised me though over the past couple of months is that Max now looks for me. When my neighbor lets her out over his yard, she runs across the street onto my front porch looking in the windows to see if I’m there.

It’s honestly flattering and humbling. I honestly can have the worst day at the office or at home, and seeing her run up to the front porch always puts a smile on my face. If I had a dog – and maybe one day I will I hope he or she is just like Max as she has set a very high bar!

Maxie! I’m looking forward to our next hike to the top of the ridge. Whether it’s a brisk 50° day or a scorcher, you’re always super excited to be out and about. For that, I thank you!


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