My childhood memories of dogs are not good ones.
In fact, the most vivid of all is a terrifying experience which happened while I was in primary school.
I used to get dropped off by the school bus a little more than 1km from home and the short walk usually posed no problem.
I was aware of the presence of a large Rottweiler at a property about 300m from my front door and it would often bark aggressively as I walked past, but was most always secured behind a gate.
But this day it was loose.
On cue, it barked and then sprinted into action after me, and I took off even quicker and managed to reach safety.
I was not bitten and in no way injured, if a little shaken, as you can imagine for a 10 or 11-year-old.
Others may have reacted a bit differently, but regardless of the nasty Rottweiler incident, I had never really been around dogs.
Growing up, our family never had dogs, or any pets for that matter.
Dogs were an unknown for me. So this incident only served to further alienate me from canines.
In the childhood years that followed, there was mild anxiety whenever I sensed any dog that looked even the slightest bit threatening.
These feelings gradually subsided as I got older, and before I knew it, I was looking after a family friend’s dog when he went away, and spent time with my brother’s dog.
Now, I’ve gone from once fearing dogs to owning one and I now know for all these years I have been missing out on a great experience.
Last month, my wife and I welcomed Charlie, a Jack Russell puppy, to our family.
For years we had spoken about getting a dog, but it hadn’t been possible until now we bought our first home (which happened a few months ago), we’d always been renting and it was impractical to have one.
Charlie loves to chase us around and watch our every move, play in the backyard with us, and the excitement he shows when we return home from work brings us great joy.
He is now 11 weeks old, full of energy and personality and a great companion to both of us.
We’ve only had the little fella for three and a half weeks, but we already can’t imagine life without him.
Cameron Whiteley is news editor at The News.