I was 14 when my parents finally agreed to let us get a family dog. We had grown up with two cats in the house, both of whom had passed away within the year. Not that my brother, Cameron, and I were rooting for the cats to die or anything (I swear, we weren’t), but the clause in the unwritten contract stated that no dog could reside in our home until these two aging felines, both in their late-teens, moved on to that litterbox in the sky. When Rover first passed, and then later Butchie — my dad named the cats, so, yeah — Cameron and I diligently dug graves for each of them and stood in solemn vigil throughout the mini-funerals that accompanied their terminal rest. And then sneakily in the weeks that followed, we began dropping hints about that dog we had all talked about one day getting.
My mom began researching breeds (It was 1999 and we had just gotten the internet!) and decided we’d embark on a quest to find a German Shorthaired Pointer, commonly known as a bird-hunting dog. Never mind the fact that my parents didn’t even own a gun, let alone hunt, this was the breed of dog we’d be getting. And so it was that a search began.