When I was a child, my mom got my two siblings and me a German Shepherd. Her owners were moving to another state, couldn't take her and wanted her to have a good home. She was seen by our neighbor(s) as a very large and mean dog, when in fact she was just a very attentive and watchful dog. To us she was a beautiful, loyal, 85+ pound friend known as Sandi.
For the first year or so, my mom had a time trying to separate us from that dog. Every minute of every day that we could spare, we were under her. We could play in the front yard, the back yard, and as close to the sidewalk as possible and Sandi was always near with a watchful eye. Because of that, Mom gave in under the countless times of us pleading "mama pleeaaazzzeee can we play a while longer."
We had the best times with Sandi, and with my mom being a single parent, that dog was the best thing that could have happened to our family, until a jealous neighbor (we think, it was never proven, but never denied) did something awful to our beloved Sandi, and she never recovered. What a sad day back in 1973, when we woke up to run to the back porch to find the screen door unattended by her, and her laying in the yard by the fence where the neighbor lived but not breathing.
Neither my siblings nor I have had a close relationship with another pet since then. At ages 7, 5, and 3, we bonded back then with our girl Sandi as the glue. She was our common love denominator.