We tried, many, many years ago- to own a dog. Francesco was the cutest dog on the planet. I am not a big dog lover, but he captured my heart. Unfortunately, my boys were too little and too rough for us to keep him safely. They didn't know better, and the doggie deserved better, so we gave him to a friend. I told Fred, the day we gave him away ( and I was the only heart broken member of our family over this, ironically) that I would never own a dog again. Any other pet, I'd be willing to give a try- but not another pup.
So over the years we have had guinea pigs, parakeets, bunnies, and chickens and we have loved all of them were well loved and also well cared for. My kids have sometimes asked for a dog, as has Fred but its not up for discussion, and they know it.
But Sophie has a dog.
She has a really great dog named Biggie. He's a golden labradoodle, and he 'belongs' to my sister Bernadette. Bernadette was so excited when she got him that she sent me a text to show the girls. In it, she had Biggie 'talk' to Mary, and Sarah, and Sophie saying hello. Sophia became convinced that Biggie really loved her back, and was her dog, that Aunt Bernadette was taking care of him for her. And so their relationship began. Bernadette would send me a video, Sophie would watch it over and over and over and over again. She'd send one back to Biggie, thinking of course Biggie is as interested in her as she is in him!
If I ask Sophie to do something for me, like sing a song, or dance, she usually says "no" and walks away. But if I ask her to do so for Biggie she complies immediately. Biggie is the greatest dog we never had. Not only does he go to doggie school and let Sophie watch him, he can bark for her, and sit pretty, and find his favorite chair or bed. He is super smart.
I won't even mention how much cheaper and easier it is to 'own' someone else's dog. No walking, no vet's, no dog food, or chewed slippers. Eventually this might wear off, but for now, it is the sweetest thing to watch her have a long distance dog, and way more fun than I ever expected!