Four years ago today my daughter selected a little brown ball of love to join our family. Through highs and lows that life throws our way, this goofy chocolate lab from a breeder in Vernon BC has not just endeared herself to us but helped us remember what joys life tenuously and unpredictably offers. Maddie has become a valued member of the Smith’s as much as any other. Man’s best friend is not just an idiom but a core truth we all hold as a sacred trust. Our old golden retriever, Levi, set a high bar that I thought would never be reached be any other creature. He was a partner that carried my children into adulthood with love and devotion. He taught us all a humility and sense of duty. Well tonight we celebrate another of God’s creatures milestones. Maddie has endured family obstacles and supported our ventures not just as an loyal obedient observer but as a beacon of love. This dog loves everyone. Whether walking with my wife and I or hanging out at our daughter’s apartment or scrambling abound with our 94 year old grampa, Maddie is such a joy. We avoided having another pet for years because of the responsibility but Maddie has made us realise so many lessons of life. Life is bigger than us. She never judges or demands. She only just shares her joy of life freely and exuberantly. Each day she greets us with gladness like she hasn’t seen us for weeks. Her loyal love for our family is boundless and infinite. We should al be so kind and undemanding. Well- now she wants a walk! Gotta go… Happy Birthday Maddie!