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  • When I was 8 and my brother was 5, my parents decided to get us a dog. They searched for weeks all around the San Francisco Bay Area, looking for just the right one; the right one for him and I, the right one for our whole family.

    They found Colby, a two-and-a-half-year-old yellow lab near Concord, CA, who'd been in a labrador rescue shelter for the past eighteen months. His previous owner was a little boy who had something happen to his parents. He had to go live with his aunt, but, he couldn't take Colby. They left him at the shelter and said they'd be back in two weeks. They never did.

    By the time my parents took him on a "test walk" around the shelter's neighborhood, he'd paced around his cage for so long you could see his ribs – it was actually his first time outside since he'd been left there.

    Thankfully, Mom and Dad decided that this was the dog. Colby was ours, ribs and all! We drove the 45 minutes to Concord in our Suburban as a family, taking special care to bring our new dog carrier and a squeaky toy for "Colbster" (as he would soon be called).

    As an 8-year-old seeing his new dog for the first time, I'll never forget how energetic and excited he was when he darted around the shelter's counter. His ears were the softest thing I thought I'd ever felt.

    To this day, even though Colbster died nearly two years ago, we all remember how that dog was so freaking happy to be in the back of that car, he broke the squeaky toy before we even got home.
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