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Meet the family: Vintage dog show photos and a 9-yr-old wingman

Can you guess when or where I fell in love with dogs? Here is a clue, when I was a child my mother would let me get up before dawn in the summer and drive with her to dog shows. 

Vintage dog show photos

9-year-old wingman

My sleepy nine year old self would be her wingman. I read the map and navigated our station wagon across California. I made sure my mom's thermos of black coffee never spilled. Once we arrived at our destination, not only did I quickly grab the driest level spot by the ring, but I could drive a stake deep enough into the ground so that our exercise pen would need a gale force wind to move it.

Bonding over dogs

Those skills allowed me to spend this incredible period of my childhood observing dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds. I also got the chance to experience the unique bond between dog and handler. 

This picture of my mom was taken in 1974 when she was showing someone else's dog. I love it because it represents the bond we had together over dogs. We have very different personalities but we are both huge animal lovers -- and the smile on both my mom's face and the dog is genuine.

Our mutual love and respect for animals helped our relationship over the years. In the midst of teenage arguments one of our dogs would often be responsible for bringing about peace. And today, any awkward pause can be filled in with a story about my dog Cleo. Another way dogs are natural social lubricants.

Do you have any stories of how a dog has helped your relationship with a parent? Tell us in the comments!


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