It was a little more than four years ago when our family vote was 5-1 to get a new dog. And so began our life with a Golden doodle named Molly. As you might guess, I was the one who voted no. Not because I don’t love animals but more because I was the one who had put down our first family dog and we already led a very chaotic life with our family of six. Little did I know what effect Molly would have on our family. In the beginning all the kids competed to play with our new puppy, but Jacob is the one who put in the time to go to dog training classes with Molly. But at home we all worked with Molly to help her become the wonderful pet she is today. She really is like my fifth child in that he seemed to need as much attention if not more than they do. One of our favorite things that Molly does is she greets us at the door whenever we get home with a toy. She probably has about 10 babies as we call them. We all try to guess which one she will have her mouth and when we open the garage door it puts a smile on everybody’s face. So what does this have to do with the gift of giving? First of all, it is the holiday season and the gift of giving should and will be noticeable everywhere. But this is about how a dog daily shows us the gift of giving through their unconditional love of their family and how that affected one of us in a big way. Having a dog is a great example of unconditional love: they love us and in return we love them back. By giving Molly the gift of a loving home she has returned that love tenfold. The one person who did not want her probably receives the most since I am with her all day. We go for walks, take naps, and I pet her constantly throughout the day. She gives me much joy. But the biggest example occurred this month when Evan turned nine. Evan wanted his own tablet for his birthday and was also having a birthday party with about 20 boys. Our deal with Evan was we would get him a tablet if he negated getting presents at his birthday party. Instead we told Evan he had to pick a charity for his friends to donate to. Without thinking Evan said the Humane Society. Without having Molly that gift of giving to the Humane Society would not have happened. From his party Evan was able to donate almost 2 grocery carts of items that were needed. They took his picture and told him he would be in the next newsletter. I am sure when he is old enough Evan will volunteer at that same Humane Society. My point is that having a dog can and will make a much bigger impact on the family life than we know. And in this case even impact other animals in need of a good home. That being said, Evan does want a cat that he saw at the shelter and so far I have held my ground on the answer being no. Wish me luck!