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Contest: Tell us the story of your canine romance. Win prizes!

Dog love is a sloppy, serious, unconditional business that often brings out the best in us—and maybe in them too. And there’s something about the shortest month of the year with its insistence on public displays of affection that makes us want to belt out “That’s Amore!” from the doghouse roof. Help us celebrate dog love: Share your canine love story. Post a comment, ideally 100 words or less, by Feb. 28, 2009. (Be sure to include your email contact. It won't show up on the site, it's just so we can contact you.) Our five favorites will win a special Bark gift bag and, of course, bragging rights at the dog park.


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Submitted by JoAnna | February 12 2009 |

I’ve loved dogs all of my life, but my first didn’t enter my life until I was 22. It’s only 4 years later and I can’t remember life, or perhaps I don’t want to remember life, without my fluffy Sheltie, Nemo. He humbles me. He inspires me get off the couch and take a walk. He reminds me to stop and smell the roses -- or in his case, more likely a garbage can. But no matter how much I love him, I know he loves me more. And that humbles me.

Submitted by Ashley | February 12 2009 |

I love my dog because she is a beauty, a bully, a baby, a buddy and my best friend.

Submitted by ilona klemm | February 13 2009 |

You can have a lot of dogs in your life, but the most dificult one is the one that draws you closer, the best one. Willful, spirited, a love/hate relationship at times. Molly and I had 12 years of camping across America - her trying to push me off cliffs, me trying to get her to heel. Together we experienced dog camp, coyote howls, tall grass prairie and much more. The tangible was the sights - intangible was the relationship. It was a companionship not ownership. Stunning blue merle coat, she was eye catching and knew it. I smile thinking of that backward glance she gave me just before she ran off to explore. Then a quiet two years, her heart was now enlarged. The walks short, more gazing out across the pond into the woods, for both of us. Molly, it was a great run!

Submitted by Gina | February 13 2009 |

I’m asked to put your existence and our pure love into 100 words or less. How can I share how my heart fills when you give me the stink eye, when you play bow when I’m trying to do pushups? How is it possible that a mere 21 pounds makes our family so utterly complete, and the house feels so empty even when you go the groomers for just a few hours? Since you came into my life I haven’t had a good crying session, not because I haven’t been sad, but because you attack me with kisses the second I shed a single tear. It’s impossible to feel sad as the sincerity of your love and concern wash over me with your puppy kisses. Atticus, it’s not an exaggeration to say that I simply don’t remember what life was like when you joined our household just 3 ½ years ago. I know we existed, but I really can’t remember if that even felt like living at all.

Submitted by Diane | February 16 2009 |

It's hard to put into words the infinite love I feel for my boy Charlie. He gives unconditional love that makes my heart melt everytime I look into his beautiful little smiling face. He has quirky little habits like barking at the solar lights (he's actually practicing for his American Idol tryout)in the backyard that makes me laugh. He is my little traveling companion, my agility partner, my snugglebug, the little guy that lifts my spirits everyday. For me, there is no love like Charlie love.

Submitted by Sunny's Mom | February 16 2009 |

Sunny was a chronic fusser from birth, possibly the only pup ever to complain with a nipple in her mouth. Cuddle her litter mates? "Paw in the ear!" Sleep alone? "Cold!" Person picking her up? "No! Put me down!"

When she was two weeks old, I (the kennel help) decided it wasn't good for her littermates to get all the socializing. I scooped her up, ignored the objections, and lay down on the couch. On my stomach, she fussed, marched like a cat, made a contented gurgle, and fell asleep. Quietly.

After that, I was her person.

Submitted by Mandi | February 17 2009 |

The day I met Kiwi I could never have known just how my life would change. She has been nothing but a blessing. We share a bond that is so unique. There isn't a day that goes by that she can't make me smile or laugh. At my lowest times she gives me the strength I need to continue on. Through her I have learned what it truly means to have unconditional love. I'm just so grateful that we found each other. If I had to express what Kiwi means to me I would just have to say, she is my heart.

Submitted by Susie | February 17 2009 |

I got Max a few months after I was diagnosed with Diabetes and he has helped me so much since then.
I can't even begin to say how much I love him-- he is just so wonderful to me. Even when he chews up shoes or destroys random things of mine he is my absolute best friend.

Submitted by Kelly | February 19 2009 |

Since my husband and I don't have children, we decided to get a dog - I can't even remember what life was like before Petey. He is our five-year old baby and gets coddled every day and treated like a King! We thought he would want a sister, so we got him one - another Boston Terrier named Penny. From day one Penny gave Petey a run for his money - she was constantly in his face, trying to snuggle with him when he didn't want to snuggle and basically being a pain. Penny just turned a year and they are now best friends. I can't even describe the love we feel for them. They are part of our Camelot and complete our family!

Submitted by Sharon | February 19 2009 |

Furry little head, resting on my leg as we cuddle on the couch. A happy toothy grin as she waits for me to toss her toy. Her look of wide-eyed innocence, betrayed by tufts of said toy's stuffing strewn about the house. Jaunty plumed tail as she prances down the sidewalk, leading the way on our latest adventure. Stretched out between my husband and I, a sigh of sleepy contentment at the end of the day. Big brown eyes and sloppy kisses, full of unconditional love. My Sunny, my baby girl, my forever friend!

Submitted by Amber | February 20 2009 |

Salem and I are usually attached at the hip. She goes just about everywhere with me. She truely is my baby since I do not have children. We sleep side by side and sometime she pushes me out of the bed! She truely is the best dog ever! I will never be able to find a more reliable, affectionate or funny friend!

Submitted by Karen | February 21 2009 |

Daisy healed me. After a severe bout of depression and suicide attempt, my therapist and I discussed me getting a dog. What I got was much more: a doctor, daughter, pillow, tissue, blanket, best friend, and as close to a cure as I could come. Daisy saved my life.

Submitted by Fred and Barb | February 21 2009 |

We have three dogs so it's impossible to pick a favorite. Peanut who we got as a puppy from the APA, A bit willful. Sally who jumped in Barb's arms at the Humane Society, a velcro puppy, and Riley, who because he was a big black dog spent way to much time at the Humane Society waiting for us. How he put his head on my thigh for the 40 mile ride home. It's not how we love them, but how they love us. The snuggles in bed at night. The protector dogs when I try to get the Momma. The joy of watching them in a field off leash. Nothing better.

Submitted by Melissa | February 22 2009 |

I love my Gracie for her wiggly butt and squeals of joy when we walk through the door, whether we have been gone all day, or just 5 minutes. I love her for her snuggles on the couch, kisses, and hugs (that her dad taught her to do). I love her for teaching me about patience and responsibility. I love her quirky behavior that brings me joy and makes me laugh. I love that she isn't perfect (still tearing up kleenex from the bathroom trash when she knows it is wrong) but that she is a perfect fit in our life.

Submitted by Nancy (Coco's mom) | February 23 2009 |

Coco is my doggie soul mate-I knew from the time I saw her that I would love her forever. Coco was an abused puppy- she had 1/2 of her left ear cut off, broken teeth & an infected puncture wound under her chin when I adopted her, but after many trips to the vet and LOTS of love-she is wonderful. She knows all of my moods (and still loves me anyway)-she is my snuggle puppy and I couldn't imagine life without my Coco baby.

Submitted by Amanda | February 23 2009 |

My Boston Terrier was given to me as a birthday gift and he was the best gift that I have ever received. My husband gave him to me in order to train me and prepare me for kids. This tactic was a huge success. I have learned so much from my Boston such as patience (from trying to outsmart my boston to go outside during the middle of a new england winter) to unconditional love, to the beauty of silence - after a long day he can be found cuddled with me. Next to my Boston there is no one I would rather spend time with. We enjoy long walks together and games of fetch and I could find no better way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Because of all the love that we have for our "breeder" Boston, we have choosen to adopt a rescue Boston who is deaf to share our love. She has been a fabulous addition to our family. It has only been a week so it's love at first site, but I know that in a few months we will share our same deep love for her as we do with our first.

Submitted by Kathy Konetzka-Close | February 24 2009 |

There’s just something about this dog. There’s just no logical explanation for this; I’m a grown woman with many fulfilling human relationships, but when I think about this dog--well, I behave like a lovestruck teenager. Maybe it’s the way he cracks me up daily. I’ve always been a sucker for a wicked sense of humor and this dog has it in spades. Maybe it’s his beautiful blue eyes that twinkle when he’s up to mischief. Maybe it’s that he embodies the idea that looks can be deceiving. He is SO beautiful and appears SO sophisticated, but in reality he’s such a big dufus, that the juxtaposition makes me smile just thinking about it. I can’t really explain. There’s just something about this dog.

Submitted by Beth Lewis | February 25 2009 |

I love my dog Chico a lot. Chico is a 2 year old Black Lab.
I honestly beleive that i would not be here today if it weren't for him. I've been though a lot in the past year including a break up and loosing my job to lay offs. I did finely get a job after 10 month of not having one but those 10 months were real rough. During that time Chico was to cuddle with when I was sad. He was there for the emotional support I needed. My dog is truly my best friend.

Submitted by Leanne | February 25 2009 |

He was not supposed to be my dog. He came to rescue skinny and sickly but with the personality of his champion breeding. Sometimes he would come him home with me to get extra attention that he seemed to need. I introduced him to a few friends that I thought could give him a good home, they loved him as everyone he meets does, but found a reason that he would not be right for them. Then the rescue found a home for him in Switzerland and just the thought that I would never see him again made me realize that I was the one in love and now he lives with me. Happily ever after.

Submitted by Alison Katla | February 25 2009 |

I love our 3 Chows equally, but I have a special spot for Rowdy, our youngest. We found him in a pet store and fell in love with him the first time we saw him. Already having 3 dogs, we weren't certain if a 4th would be a good idea. After returning to the store at least half a dozen times over a 3 month period, I couldn't leave him there another day. He was already 4 months old and getting big, so I made an offer they couldn't refuse and took him home. He is the sweetest big goof and his older siblings love him as much as we do.

Submitted by Monica | February 25 2009 |

It was love at first sight. My Lola is now 6 years old. She is a Bichon and has the energy of a puppy. My husband gave her to me on Valentine's Day 2002. I never had my own dog and was very excited. She instantly jumped on me and began giving me kisseeees. She is very special to me as she has been my companion through the good and bad. If I cried, no matter where she was in the house, she would find me and begin licking my tears. I love her and could never live without her. I don't have children so she is my first born. She sits like a little lady on her hind legs and flaps her paws when she wants my attention. What is there not to love about my Lola...

Submitted by MindyK | February 26 2009 |

Milou is truly a kiss kiss bark bark dog! He seeks love and to be loved and that's pretty much it to complete his joy in life. He is a 7.5 year old white lab who was rescued from a foster situation. He is loyal, devoted, trusting and downright funny! He speaks on command, can give either paw and thinks he deserves a treat every time he goes outside to do business! He loves to hug too. He brings so much love into our home. Our life is richer because of his loving canine spirit.

Submitted by carrie | February 27 2009 |

Luigi is the great love of my life. I adopted him when he was 3 months, he was a Spina Bifida bulldog rescue. Since the day he came to live with me, we have formed a strong, unbreakable connection. He has shown me the true meaning of acceptance, loyalty and unconditional love. He is my gentle giant, loving and kind. He is forever my friend, forever my heart. Because of him i was able to open my heart and home to another SB bulldog, Santino. And those 2 have an incredible bond, beautiful to see!

Submitted by Kristy | February 27 2009 |

Marley was a LOVER, not a biter. He awaited our arrival at the shelter. Strong, stoic and silent. We walked through the dog area and looked in each kennel; made our list of dogs to "visit". Through all of this, the handsome white dog waited. When his turn came, we were his. Marley came home with us and we felt complete. Our life involved Marley and his life involved us. We travelled, played, and talked together. Though he has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, we still love our Marley-boy, our special soul-dog!

Submitted by Darcy | February 28 2009 |

This is not my love story - it is a story about my husband. He always had dogs when he was growing up, but they had a place on your farm, not in your heart. After we were married we had dogs, but they were "her dogs", not his. Finally, twenty years later, I got him a dog of his own. A border collie, Spirit, who for the past five years has been the love of his life. They go everywhere together, including to work where she chases the geese off the golf course. We have taught her obedience, agility, and flyball. She plays frisbee with the best of them, and is his willing companion on daily 3 mile walks. Now my husband calls me and says "Have I told you how much I love my dog?" or "Have I ever told you how thankful I am that you got Spirit for me?"

Submitted by Mika | February 28 2009 |

This past August, my neighbor, who does rescue work, told me about about a nine year old black lab that was in need of a home. I was concerned about how this doggie would thrive in the high-kill shelter his owner wanted to place him in. When Barrett came to live with our family, I thought it would be temporary. I hoped my aunt, or another loving home, would take an interest in this sweet, sweet gentle giant. But it soon became apparent that we just couldn't part ways with our special "Care Bear".
Barrette sounds like a dinosaur from the movies when he cries to let me he wants 'out', occasionally breaks wind of the silent but lethal variety, rips apart his squeekies in less time than it took me to buy them, moans when I take my other doggie for a walk first, wakes me up in the morning with sloppy wet kisses and often forgets, when blocking doorways, that he is a 106 lb. dog...and we LOVE all of it; we adore Barrett! My family is so grateful that we could give Barrett a home and, in turn, "Big Bear" the "Care Bear" has given us so much more.

Submitted by Valery | February 28 2009 |

Just when I thought I was done writing essays, ones for medical school applications, I clearly was not when I heard that my favorite magazine's website is having an essay contest.
Rocky, a wauzer which is a mix between miniature schnauzer and westie, is really not a puppy, no; he really is a little boy. Sitting on my lap, his human-like gaze, bi-lingual knowledge of words (Spanish and English) are just a few examples of his child-like features. A true companion. God willing, one day he will be my kids dog too. <3

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