Although I have been a cat person for my entire life, I have begged my parents for a dog since I can remember. Actually, my mother once told me to pretend that Daisy was a dog when I was four, and it turns out that you shouldn't wrap a rope around a cat's neck and try to take her for a walk. Finally, after years of endless whining and moaning, combined with my parents petsitting our neighbor's incredibly well-behaved dog, Mom and Dad gave in.
I had my heart set on a huge black lab. Buy a puppy and watch it grow into an enormous, playful dog. But my parents said no; to quote my mother, "If I have to get a dog in the first place, we're going to save a dog from the pound." Long story short, we ended up at some "doggy-daycare" center--where I later worked--and fell in love with Shep.
Shep was nine months old and had been found on the streets a few cities away and taken to the vet because he had awful case of heartworm and almost died. We couldn't take him home right away because he was still in the hospital, but when he finally did come home he was still a little wonky from the drugs and basically behaved like your typical stoner dude. Six years later, Shep is still my little baby German Shephard-Beagle mix that sleeps in the bathtub and devours sour cream coffee cake like it's his job. He pretty much sucks as a guard dog, as he likes to run out and roll over for every intruder that comes onto our property, but I still love him.
He is actually a guard dog in some respect; my aunt's dog was chasing our cat around the house and Shep jumped in between them and barked until he other dog backed down. He's my dad's--who is not exactly an animal lover--best friend; he has incredibly short legs (my dog, not my dad) but he is a great runner and the two of them like to go running together.
Anyway, I once again want to remind you to adopt a dog (or any other pet) rather than purchase one. By doing so, you're giving an animal a second chance at life and truly making a difference for one innocent animal.