I can't imagine my life without a dog. But you may be surprised to learn that this was not always so.
We were never allowed to have dogs when I was growing up. We did have a couple of puppies, but didn't keep them very long. Then there was the stray dog that followed my brother and sister home from school...three times. The first two times, my dad loaded the dog up into the car and took him back to the school. The third time he found his way to our house, my mother said that we must be meant to have him. But when he wouldn't stay inside the fence, we had to give him away, too.
I was 15 before I was allowed to have a dog that I could keep.
She was an American Eskimo named Meika. I kept her until I went into Navy Boot Camp, then gave her to my sister. For all of my childhood, I thought it was my mother who didn't like dogs. Mainly because she is the one who always had to tell us no.
But after she and my dad separated, before we knew what was happening, she had seven dogs.
Dad had told me the story before, but it wasn't until then that I made the connection. It had happened when Dad was 13. He had a dog named Rex. Now, Dad had had a few dogs before, but they didn't last long. One got ran over. Another got stolen right off of his front porch. They actually saw a hand reach down and grab the puppy. They ran outside, but didn't see anyone, and they never saw that puppy again. But this dog he had, Rex, well this was the worst of all.
Where they lived at the time, when my Dad had Rex, they had this really mean neighbor girl. I asked my Aunt Bonnie about her one time. As soon as she figured out who I was talking about, she exclaimed, "That awful girl?" So, though I never met her, I could pretty much figure out that the girl was spoiled, and selfish. She used to come over to my dad's back yard and tease Rex unmercifully. She'd throw rocks at him, and hit him with sticks, all the while being careful to stay beyond the length of Rex's chain.
One day, she misjudged.
She got a little too close and Rex bit her. Though it was no fault of the dogs-- he was definitely provoked-- the girl's father came over and shot Rex that same day. My dad was heartbroken, and just gave up on having dogs after that. Can't say as I blame him. So, we always had cats as pets when I was growing up.
Soon as I was old enough, though, I got myself a dog. Except for the five years I was in the Navy, I haven't been without one since.
And, I don't expect I ever will be.