When I was ten my parents finally broke down and got me a dog. We had had one before, but it had a problem locating the acceptable areas to mark its territory, and my little sister was just starting to crawl. Not a good combination. Now she was finally capable of discerning what was edible.
We got a one year old golden retriever from a friend who was allergic to it. His name was Gideon. The first day we met him, he took a liking to me; he chased me around and would not stop licking me unless I pet him (the dog, not the friend). His first order of business upon entering our house was to mark the floor. History was repeating itself. But it was okay, eventually he calmed down and only used my room (I still have not gotten the smell completely out of the rug).
After getting into the habit of locking my door every time I left the room, the relationship became more bearable. I learned to wear clothes that matched his fur (it is amazing how much he could shed). His care was, for the most part, entrusted to me. As the provider of the most exciting event in his life, feeding time, he learned to listen for my alarm clock, and make sure that the clock had done its job by jumping on top of me and licking my face (I have not been drowsy in the morning for years).
Like most dogs, Gideon had to make a break for freedom at least once a year. While he spent the day happily playing with other dogs in the Arboretum near our house, we would franticly make posters and call neighbors. Eventually animal control would catch him and he would be returned...