“The bottom line is always money” is an oft-used phrase, but in the final analysis, money cannot make a person rich..or happy. True happiness includes faith, family, and friends, both two-legs and four legs A dog lover-friend recently sent us a face book post by James Shepard sharing a story of riches and happiness , totally unrelated to money:

“I was twelve years old when I met Max. School was out for the summer, and I had been pestering my parents relentlessly for a dog, and they eventually succumbed to my constant pleading. We went to the local shelter and I was overwhelmed by the many dogs vying for attention as we walked through the facility. How could I possibly choose from all those dogs?

Then I saw Max. He lay motionless in the corner of his cage. As I approached, he briefly lifted his head. and looked at me with sad, brown eyes. I paused, calling to him softly, and he slowly stood up, and hesitantly took a few steps toward the front of the enclosure. I immediately knew that Max was the one.

To the casual observer, Max was probably nothing more than a scruffy mongrel, but to me he was the most beautiful dog ever born. We spent hours that summer, happily exploring the creek which flowed nearby. I would throw sticks, and Max would retrieve them, tail wagging wildly. . Sometimes we’s just sit and watch the clouds float by, happy with each other’s company. Max listened intently as I shared my innermost hopes and dreams.

A deluge of rain came unexpectedly that year, and my parents instructed me to not go down to the creek until the water returned to its normal level, but ignoring their warning, Max and I were soon walking toward the creek , which had become a seething swell of roaring water rushing ferociously to the whitewater below. As I edged closer to the swirling torrent, not noticing the jagged rock protruding from the undergrowth, I tripped and was enveloped in the powerful grip of the current. In desperation I tried to swim, but found myself being propelled further down the creek.

I could hear the frenzied barking of Max as he ran alongside the creek in pursuit. Panic set in as I realized I was drowning. I began to pray, and suddenly I felt something touch me. It was Max. He had jumped into the frothing cauldron and was now swimming next to me. I placed my arm around his back and clutched his fur as he pulled me to safety.

It was years before I told my parents about my close encounter with death that day, and Max never told them either. The years passed, and my youth unfolded into manhood, but Max and I remained inseparable. On the morning he died, I cried and offered a prayer of gratitude for our time together. He had not only been my best friend and companion, but a giver of life…a life I was determined would be lived to the fullest, always cherishing the loving memory of a dog named Max.”

Max was an adopted dog…if you are thinking of adding a dog to your family, please consider adoption. A shelter pet is more than one in a million—he’s one in 3 million. That’s the number of adoptable dogs and cats who are still euthanized each year in the United States, simply because there aren’t enough people adopting. Almost all dogs at pet stores and on the internet are puppy mill dogs that are housed in shockingly poor conditions with improper medical care, where the mothers are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, without human companionship. Don’t support puppy mills. Please adopt, don’t shop. You will change the whole world for a homeless animal, and you will get the best friend imaginable. What could be better than that?

Faith, family, friends…if you possess these, you are rich. Enjoy your wealth!