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Karen B. London
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Loving Dogs is for Life
Then, now, always
Karen, age 11, with Drinan and Friendly

As a child, I loved dogs. I wanted to play with any dogs I encountered—those in the neighborhood, the ones at the park, dogs of friends. They always had my attention, even when perhaps I should have been focusing on something or someone else. If I could pet a dog, happiness was assured.

I wrote about dogs for school assignments during the day and dreamed about them at night. I thought about the kinds of dogs I loved best and what I would name my dogs when I was a grown-up. I drew pictures of dogs and fretted over my attempts to make their faces look “dog enough”.

Hearing stories of dogs who were mistreated or suffered in any way was unbearable to me. (Still is, in fact.) My world of compassion and caring extended to many species when I said “them” but when I spoke of “us”, I was including dogs.

I have loved dogs for as long as I can remember. I literally have no memories before knowing that these creatures mattered to me and that they touched my heart.

When did your love affair with dogs begin? Was it before you can even remember, triggered by a specific event, or did it come upon you gradually?

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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