In my opinion, a dog is an essential part of any childhood, especially for an only child who has no other immediate companions. My family bought our dog when I was 8 years old -- I'm now 18. In the past 10 years, my playful puppy has grown into a wise, old companion. I have taken my dog on more than 2,000 walks, spent thousands of hours with her and come to know her like no one else ever could.
The two of us are soul mates. She gets me; I get her. She can't speak, but she may as well be able to, because I always know what's on her mind. Being so close to her is very reassuring, especially during tough times.
I have grown up with my dog and she has grown up with me. She has been my playmate, romping through open meadows with me, my psychiatrist, when I've needed a shoulder to cry on, and my teacher, showing me through shining example the values of honesty, loyalty and temperance.
In the words of writer Roger Caras, "Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made."
Not only are dogs the best deal man has ever made, but they're also the surest deal, because "There is no faith which has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog." ~Konrad Lorenz, Nobel laureate zoologist
Good luck persuading your parents. My life would not be complete had I grown up without a dog.... I would not be complete.