One day, when Derek Kwik Kwok-tsan was washing his car, his life changed. A puppy, who would become the most important and most faithful companion in his life, walked up to him. He adopted Jamie and brought her back home. At that time in 1990, Derek was a university student in Los Angeles. He adopted Jamie and from then on took her with him everywhere, including when he returned to Hong Kong. When Jamie joined Mr Kwik's family, she was five months old and very naughty. She loved chewing the carpet and towels. Mr Kwik and Jamie spent many happy times together, including skiing trips. When Jamie travelled in Mr Kwik's car, she always put her head out the window. Wherever Mr Kwik went, Jamie followed, and she slept beside him on his bed. Eventually old age caught up with Jamie, and life wasn't so good. By the time she turned 16 in 2006, she was having difficulty eating, was incontinent and could not balance. Mr Kwik made the difficult decision to take Jamie to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to be put out of her misery. 'It was the hardest. I had to let her die as it was too painful.' Mr Kwik missed Jamie very much and would often imagine he could hear Jamie's footsteps in the room. But he knew he would not hear Jamie any more and eventually got another dog, Tommy. 'It is different. Nothing can replace Jamie,' he said. During their 16 years of companionship, Mr Kwik treated Jamie like his child. They became adept at reading each other's expressions and body language. 'Jamie always knew what I wanted to say and what I wanted to do,' the 41-year-old animal lover said. Mr Kwik strongly believes it is the responsibility of owners to protect their pets. 'Animals have no choice. They are lucky if they meet a good owner.' Mr Kwik, inspired by his relationship with Jamie, decided to help raise public awareness of animal welfare issues. To do so, he has become an 'extreme runner' and participates in adventure races. He became the first Chinese person to complete runs across four deserts - taking part in the Gobi March in Mongolia, the Atacama Crossing in Chile, the Sahara Race in Egypt and the Last Desert in Antarctica. He has also completed a seven-day, 250 kilometre footrace across the Namib Desert in Namibia in his efforts to raise awareness and cash for the SPCA. Mr Kwik has grown used to enduring extreme climatic conditions through the desert races. It is not easy for an ordinary person to go on such runs and many people don't complete the race. 'When I wanted to quit the race, I would look at the photos of Jamie and my girlfriend which I always carry along in the race. They motivated me to continue the race.' He also turned his thoughts to the consequences of quitting. 'Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever. If I couldn't finish, I would have to tell everyone who asked me. Quitting is only one moment, but you will regret it throughout your life,' Mr Kwik said. He had committed a year to preparation for the races, so all that time would be lost if he quit. And he likened the commitment to finishing the races to the commitment required to raise pets. 'It is a lifelong commitment in pet keeping.' The animal lover wants to raise awareness of animal welfare in Hong Kong. He thinks the government should take a hand in educating the public about animals. 'The authorities should educate the public through various channels like promotion at schools and shopping malls.' Mr Kwik is ashamed that some Hongkongers treat pets like toys. 'Dogs are your family members. You can't treat them like toys. When you don't like a pet, you can't return it. They are my children. I have to take huge responsibility to take care of them. You can't treat them as objects. They have feelings and emotions.' Dogs are your family members. You can't treat them like toys.