When I was born, my parents had a dog called Thistle. My dad got Thistle when Dad was 18, a mate's mum's Westie had had pups, so Dad got one. Thistle looked exactly like a Westie - except he was brown! No one knows who his dad was.... When I was 4 he escaped from his yard one night (he was an "outside dog") and we had only recently built our house and the perimeter fence wasn't up yet I don't remember him very well (after all, I was 4), but I remember we had to go looking for him in the car because we couldn't find him. We found him at the end of our road. He'd been hit by a car. He was 9. I still don't think I've ever seen my dad so upset as he was that day.
When I was 6 we got a Tibetan Terrier, Sam ("proper" name HiClassic Sam Foo). Sam was never big on playing with toys or other dogs. She adored my mum and my mum adored her. She was stubborn, didn't do "obedience", was fussy, and each week when Mum did the grocery shopping Sam would get the packet of Shmackos out of the bag and open it by holding it between her paws and tearing it with her teeth. She developed a heart problem and kidney problems as she got older. She decreased pretty rapidly as she got older. Two days after she turned 14 Mum came home from work to find her laying in a pool of vomit and blood and urine. Mum took her to the vet and made the decision to have her PTS. It was the worst moment of Mum's life, she has no recollection of driving herself home and nearly 5 years later can not bring herself to go into the vets office. A friend of mine is a nurse at the vet's and told me later it was the most heartbreaking thing she had ever seen and that Sam had screamed. To this day I am ashamed of myself that I did not go with Mum to support her.
When Sam was about 11 (I think) we got Lucy, a Maltese x Lhaso Apso, in the hope having a little puppy around would bring back some spark. It didn't work, Sam barely tolerated Lucy. Lucy didn't mind though, she taught herself to throw and catch her own ball.
Lucy was my first dog who was my responsibility - I had to train her and organise her vet visits etc (not pay for them though! ). She is a beautiful little girl - so funny, smart and sweet. When I moved out of home I wanted to take her with me, but couldn't due to renting. TBH I don't think mum and dad would have given her up anyway. They absolutely adore her. She will be 8 years old this July. Mum feeds her waaaay too much, and the vet constantly tells mum off because Lucy is now obese!
Finally, there's Bella, the Maltese/Shih Tzu and Charlie the "Pugalier". I have wanted another dog since I moved out of home 5 years ago, but could never have one as I always rented (Lucy always used to come for "holidays" though!). When OH suggested we buy our own place last year I said yes... on the condition we could get a dog. Eventually I talked him into getting two I love these 2 more than I could ever describe. They are so special to us.