Mia was more than a dog, more than even a best friend. She became a part of my soul. She was with me through some of the best and worst times of my life, and we were inseparable. A gentle creature with the kindest soul I'll probably ever meet. The epitome of a "good dog". She loved every one and everything, but nothing more than her Daddy. She was that once in a lifetime dog that every person should be lucky enough to experience.
Then came Rex. Fiercely independent yet scared of his own shadow at the same time, with a mean streak a mile long. In between biting random people (and occasionally me) he still wants to cuddle, but only when he makes it clearly known he wants to - otherwise he'd much prefer to not be touched, thank you. In retrospect I probably got him too soon after Mia and have held him to a standard he could never live up to. Not the smartest animal alive, but I still love the mean little shit.
Now there's Roxy. A force of nature. A tornado of black hair and a hurricane of iron will with the physical size and strength to match. 8 months old and she's more horse than Labrador Retriever. In the back of my mind I still think maybe she can be the 'Next Mia', but that's just foolish wishful thinking. She's got her own personality and no amount of hoping on my part is going to change that one bit, and it's selfish to want her to. She's already proven to be the smartest dog I've ever had, and that intelligence matched with stubbornness is why she's not going to be the next anything, but will proudly be the 'First Roxy'.
Dogs are so much more than pets. They're family. They're individual beings with their own quirks, needs and desires. They give us both immeasurable headaches and unconditional love. I stopped wondering why I loved dogs more than people a long time ago and try not to take for granted the fact these three listed above each have given me more than I could ever provide in return.