I have always been a dog lover. My parents had a cockapoo when I was born, and when I was in first grade, we got two darling cocker spaniels named Jake and Molly. They each had their own distinct personalities—Jake was a mischief-maker who loved to cuddle and steal snacks from anywhere he could find them, while Molly was more of a pensive pup who liked to keep her distance but loved us all the same. They were so much fun, and they defined the childhood memories that my brother and I share.

It wasn’t until my mid-twenties, though, when I realized the difference between growing up with a pet and raising a pet to call your own.

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