Attempt to Adopt a Small Dog

Updated on December 20, 2007
J.G. asks from Knoxville, TN
35 answers

After studying many breeds of dogs and comparing their temperments / personalities / grooming needs / etc., we decided a small, non-shedding dog would best suit our family and lifestyle. Not wanting to pay a fortune for some bloodline that we care nothing about, we filled out an application to adopt a Maltese that had been rescued from a puppy mill. The application was more extensive than any I had ever filled out for a job, school, license or anything else I can think of. Without ever coming to visit our house and interview us as we were told would happen, we were turned down by the adoption agency because we have a two-year-old. Oh well, maybe a puppy mill is better than me staying at home and supervising while the dog and two-year-old interact??? Anyway, does anyone have a small child/small dog combo that has worked out OK or should we forget about a small dog for the next ten years?

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So What Happened?

There is now a four-year-old toy poodle mix at our house. We checked a local animal shelter and found love at first sight. His name is Kermit. I believe God works in mysterious ways and that some things are meant to be as well as meant not to be. The Maltese adoption rejection was frustrating more because they didn't even bother to let us try to see if we were a match, but we have had enough episodes in our lives to know that it just meant there was something else out there for us and lo-and-behold we found him - like I said, love at first sight. The dogs and kids all get along beautifally. Thanks to all of you for encouraging us not to give up. I might not have made the visit to the shelter, or might have put it off for a few more years, if I hadn't read so many wonderful stories. Many of you mentioned "you know your kids best," and I knew they'd be instant friends - right now, my boys are on cloud nine.

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S.P.

answers from Baton Rouge on

I have ShihTzu's - I have a two year old daughter and a 5 year old son. I have taught both of them how to treat the dog and have NEVER had any problems. My biggest dog probably weighs around 17 lbs and my smallest around 9 lbs.......these are GREAT dogs - they don't shed, you need to keep them groomed - leaving their hair long is beautiful but very time consuming. They are great with kids. Just have to teach the kids to respect them and get them an area that when they are in it the kids are not allowed to play with them so they get some down time. Good luck

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J.D.

answers from Huntsville on

Hi J.-

I don't have specific advice for you, but I just wanted to say that I have heard that reason given before when people were denied adoption of a dog. I guess it's not all that uncommon.

Good luck!
J.

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H.P.

answers from Birmingham on

We just got a Bishone Frise. He is about 16 weeks old now and is GREAT with our 4 children ranging from 3 years to 9 years! I reccommend this breed if you are going to get one!

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C.W.

answers from Shreveport on

You might want to try looking into a medium sized dog. There are a lot of reasons why small dogs arent adopted to families with small children. And biting isnt the only reason. Small dogs get more injuries from small children than any other sized dogs. Even with supervision stuff happens.
You can try looking at other shelters or rescues to see if one is willing to work with you on adopting. But chances are you wont find one since so many have rule. Just remember it isnt just for the safety of your child but the dog as well.
I have never been a fan of small dogs and have stuck with medium to large dogs. To date I have never had a problem with my dogs and kids. But I have seen a lot of injuries on both parts when it comes to little kids and little dogs.

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K.K.

answers from Memphis on

I used to work in rescue with pugs and we were very cautious adopting them out. I have a maltese and first off there is shedding to her not near as bad as a pug but there is shedding just as your hair sheds. Also there is alot of grooming involved. Either you have to keep their hair up in a top knot to stay out of their eyes or have them shaved down every 6 wks. I had my maltese before I got married and had a baby and my dd is 18 months old and she still won't play with her. I dont think the maltese breed is good with kids. They are tiny little dogs and kids are rough. I would look into a larger more sturdy dog for your family. Check the animal shelter. There is a website for them that you can look at everyday till you find the right dog for your family.

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S.C.

answers from Mobile on

We have 5 children from 17 to 6 and a 3 year old tiny yorkie who is the king of the house. He is only about 4 lbs and even with the neighbors 3 year old little girl wanting to play baby with him all the time he is most gentle dog ever. Except he doesn't know he is a dog.
I can e-mail you pictures of him and info on the lady I got him from if you would like. I will send my info by private message!

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H.H.

answers from Dothan on

Just wanted to tell ya that I have a 4 yr old and a 9 yr old and I have 2 puppies. One I have had for a year (he is my baby!!). He is a Lhasa Apso named Dale. My youngest daughter and him get along great. She picks him up and carries him around and pulls his tail sometimes (right before she gets a spanking for pulling his tail lol) He has never biten her and we have had him since he was old enough to be taken from his mother. Also, I grew up with Lhasa Apsos and I can remember rolling her hair and dressing her in Baby clothes. She never seemed to mind it one bit and she was very playful when she was little. They look a lot like a maltese - just in case you didn't know. If I can help ya anymore just e-mail me at [email protected]____.com that this information is helpful to you.

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A.G.

answers from San Diego on

We have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a 3 year old and a 21 month old, and it is wonderful. pookie (the dog) is incredibly gentle, and forgiving. the girls dress her up in doll clothes and she just sits there and NEVER snaps. But. . . Cavaliers do shed. I recently bought a "Furminator" at petco - $30 but well worth it b/c it almost totally eliminates all the extra hair that would otherwise be on our rugs, furniture, etc. Cavaliers from breeders are very expensive, but you could probably find a rescue. Good luck!

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K.G.

answers from Memphis on

I think dogs and children go wonderfully together and you're on the right track to finding one that will have the right temperment to fit your family. I have a two and five year old and we got them a puppy for Christmas last year. We needed a small dog, that doesn't shed and that would get a long well with small children. We ended up getting a short-haired mini dauchshund and the kids adore him. He's so patient with the kids and loves to play and run around with them. My two year old will occassionally kick him or push him, and the dog has always just sat there and taken it or has simply walked away. We are VERY strict with the dog and from day one we impressed on him that he should not even bark at the kids. I think the biggest thing is to train the dog correctly and also to teach your children on how to also treat the dog. I hope this helps - it's such a wonderful feeling to see your kids playing and enjoying their dog!

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N.M.

answers from Nashville on

okay I suggest wait till your child is around 4 before I would adopt a dog. That way, your child will be big enough
to talk and tell you if something where to happen to the child or the dog. toddlers or small children love to pull tails and ears of animals. and the only way a dog can respond or protect itself is to snap. So I hope this is helpful. I ve been there i watched my child get snapped at only to find out that my child did something tt provoke it.
I have had toy poodles, and pomeranians and maltese they are all great.

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M.N.

answers from Little Rock on

I don't remember how old my youngest brother was, but we had a toy poodle that was fantastic growing up! Personally, I don't want an inside pet until my kiddos are bigger, but you are the only one that knows if your 2 year old will listen to you about puppy rules. Puppies do bite, not out of viciousness, but teething and such, the other thing is, I have never seen a puppy that would not chew anything left in the floor for 5 minutes and that can be frustrating if it is the favorite stuffed animal or blankie, or diaper in the bathroom trash can, etc.

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V.R.

answers from New Orleans on

J.-

I have a two year also. In June, our American Bulldog of 14 yrs dies (she was 62 lbs). We immediately adopted a 7 week old dachshund from a breeder. I told her that I did have a 9 yr old at home but didn't say a word about the two year old. We haven't had any problems what-so-ever. We have a dog crate that we put her in when we aren't home (to save from chewing and soiling) and when she was very little and when we had her fixed we kept her in the crate away from the two year old.

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S.R.

answers from Little Rock on

Well that really depends I think. I know a few people who have children and dogs but what would really help is maybe getting a puppy that can be raised with your child. I have a 2 year old daughter and one on the way and I am wanting to get a dog also. I really think that it helps alot haveing a puppy and child raised together though. But if the dog was already around children growing up that would be good. But yeah there are people who have dogs and 2 year olds.

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B.P.

answers from Jackson on

We have had West Highland Terrier that was excellent with the kids. She did not shed and had a great disposition. We recently bought a beagle puppy ($150). My two year old is getting adjusted to the puppy and likes to pull her tail, her ears and pick her up and carry her all the time. She has never even growled at her. The only time we have trouble with her is when she is playing and wants to bite a little too hard. We are in the process of training both our two year old and the puppy but I would recommend this breed for their friendliness, the minimal shedding and their sturdiness to stand up to kids playing rough. They are just all around good dogs. If you live in the Memphis/Olive Branch area they have a beagle rescue center that trains and adopts out beagles to those living in that area. Good Luck.

B.

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K.K.

answers from Mobile on

I bought a miniature schnauzer this past summer. What a great little dog! We got him when he was 8 weeks old so he was a little "nippy" but it only took him a couple of months to stop chewing on us!! He is a non-shedding dog, which is great because daughter has asthma. I would recommend this breed- especially if you could find one a few months old. Good luck!

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L.M.

answers from Nashville on

Don't take it personally, but unfortunately if you have a child under 6 yrs. you will more than likely not be able to adopt a smaller dog from a rescue unless you personally know someone from the group. There are exceptions to every rule, but most will not, and even if you were willing to foster, most will not let you foster dogs unless your children are older. Some even say families with children 10 years old and even in their early teens aren't good to adopt to. I think it should be a case by case basis personally and not all children are out of control, but I do understand their concern for the dog as well as for the child. Children need to learn and what better way to learn to take care and be responsible.

There are small dogs at the shelters quite often, you just have to keep checking the website on a weekly and sometimes daily basis....your best shot at getting a small dog.

L.

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B.F.

answers from Johnson City on

ITA with you--it's a little out there as far as guidelines go. Lots of rescue groups have this rule though. The thinking is that a young child needs constant supervision with a dog for both the child and the dog's sake. The thinking is that young children are not aware of how to be gentle, not touch eyes and ears, etc. A small dog is more likely to be accidentally hurt through rough play, whereas, a bigger dog can hold their own better. So I guess I understand their thinking. However, I know my child, and my household, and I know that she does know how to be gentle, as she is with our other dog and our rabbit. I think they should take it on a case by case basis, but I guess that would be more work--and if a dog bit a kid that got out of line, they could potentially be liable.

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M.T.

answers from Nashville on

J.,
The best dog that I found for a children was a sheltie that we had. There are ups and downs though. We kept it in the house for a while and it was really gentle and even as a puppy it didn't bite or naw too much on the babies, however, as it grew the shedding with all that long hair got on my nerves. It became and outside dog but nevertheless was a wonderful childrens dog. My older son brought home a 5 week old yorkie and I finally make him confine it to his room upstairs because it bites hard on my 15 month old.....literally put holes in her. It doesn't mean to but it does. I, personally, prefer to wait till the children get older before getting a dog becaues those teeth are sharp even if they don't mean to be mean.
The rescue things (puppy mills) for dogs are really terrible. I heard it is harder to adapt a dog than a kid and it is because of kids that they won't let you adapt. I know more older adults that would hurt a dog verses what a child would or could do, so I think that the puppy mills are wrong and should rethink some of their rules. And I see your point.. maybe they think the puppy mill is better than you staying home and giving it love and attention and watching the dog and child interact. Who knows what they are thinking!

One question, your profile says that you work at home part time. What type of work do you do? I have tried a few things which are ok but none make me a great living. I have finally had to go to work part time but am always looking for something to keep me home with my daughter.

M.

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S.M.

answers from Shreveport on

Well I have to tell you it really all depends on how you raise the dog. I have twin girls that are 18 months and we have a pit bull that is nine months. He is so good with them. I am not telling you to go out and buy a pit bull but I am merely saying no matter what dog you have just make sure that the pet is around the small ones enough to know how to act accordingly. Everyone I know asks us oh my he's around them all the time. And he is he's mostly an inside dog. I am a stay at home mom so it helps to have me here with all of them. He gets attention as well as them. So he doesn't act wild or anything. I hope this helps. Looks in the paper for free dogs. Maybe you can find the best ever. I hope I helped in some way.

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J.M.

answers from Nashville on

J.,I am sure you have heard by now the little maltese you wanted to adopt from the puppy mill may have had a tramatic life & not used to small childern. I am sure that was for the puppies safety & for your precious ones as well. I can tell you you can call any of your local animal hospitals & most will have a bulliten with puppies & dog's needing a good home. Also,Freedom Farm is @ Pet Smart on Saturday's with babies needing homes. These dogs, as well as a baby from a local humane society, all have a small adoption fee (usually under $100)but they are also vaccinated & spayed or neutered. Which is much cheaper than you would pay if you did the vacc's & surgery out of pocket. I have been in the business for 16 years, if i can help with anything please feel free to ask & good luck! All kids need a puppy to love!!!! J.

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D.M.

answers from Memphis on

small dogs are not all they are cracked up to be, they tend to have a big dog complex. Meaning they can be more agressive than a big dog. Try going to local shelters and just take your time don't jump on the first one you find. I have 3 great girls 14,12 & 11 and over the years we have had small dogs and big dogs however my favorites are my pound finds I curently have 2 one is 15 years and the other is 1 year and by far the smartest and most loving to my kids. I wish you much luck finding that perfect pup for your kids!

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A.B.

answers from Fayetteville on

Hi J.,

My daughter was 18 months old when we adopted a Shih-tsu. We also had a cockatiel at the time who enjoyed wandering around the house. We never had any problems. Our first Shih-tsu passed away, but we still love the breed and we now have two: both rescued from shelters. We keep them shaved (the groomers make them look adorable), and they do not shed. Neither one of them bark nor chew, and this breed is highly trainable, very lovable, and very much a lap dog. I'm not sure where you are located, but the shelter in Fayetteville, Arkansas allows you to adopt an adult dog if you have small children (they just don't allow you to adopt puppies). If you do a search on Petfinder.com, you should have luck in finding the perfect match for your family. I do recommend a male who has been neutered and is already housebroken, because in my experience, the males are less likely to have any tendencies to be 'hyper', and they are more on the lazy and quiet side. These are great dogs, and I don't think I'd ever consider a different breed for my family, as my daughter and I are both allergic to dogs and cats, and have never had a reaction to our fur-babies. :)

I wish you much luck in your search. I do hope that you will let me know what happened.

A.

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L.S.

answers from Birmingham on

Strangely enough, we are going through the same thing. I have an 11 year old son and a 14 month old daughter. We have adopted 3 dogs from the shelters and do not have 1 of them today. They were bigger, outside dogs, and we have decided that it must be their lifestyle because we can not keep them contained. We have a fence, we bought a runner, we spent alot of money on different ways to keep them in and every single one of them either jumped the fence or took off every time we opened the gate. After the last heart break we decided it was time for a small inside dog. I don't think my son could take another run away. We have been told that Shitzuh is great with children and low shedding and we were also told that poodles were very smart and non shedding....after doing some research, guess what...they are now mixing the breeds and have a Shih-Poo. They are expensive but cute, small, and non shedding. We are looking for one for Santa to bring.............good luck!!
By the way, I work at home part time also, what do you do?

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M.M.

answers from Knoxville on

My daughter recently turned 2 and she has been around cats and dogs all her life and she loves them! We have never had a problem other than at times she will chase after the cat and get too excited which scares the cat. Other than that, though, we have had no problems. I don't know why they turned you down because you have a 2 year old. Try going to Petsmart...they already have the animals spayed or neutered and have given them their first shots. All this and all you have to pay is $75.00 which is a very good price considering all that they have already done for the animal. Good luck!

M. M.

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A.S.

answers from Knoxville on

I have a six year old and we have a miniature yorkie. They are perfect with each other! We got her about 3 or 4 months ago and she is a little over a year. We bought her for $100 (this is the ONLY reason we have one bc these dogs are VERY expensive and would not spend that much for a dog)from a couple who has a child that is about 2, she was pregnant and couldn't take care of her and the new baby. I think small dogs are very good for small children.

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D.M.

answers from Johnson City on

We have a mini dachshund about 4months old and my kids love it. We paid 300 for her since she was a pure bred but it was worth it to see her play with the kids. I have a 2 year old and an 8 year old. These dogs are really good with kids. My 2 year old picks it up and carries it around and the dog lets her. We also had a miniature beagle when my son was 5 an he was a baby and loved to play with him. As for temperament it all in how you raise a dog be good to it and it will love you forever.

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D.B.

answers from Chattanooga on

We have a toy poodle that's been great with our daughter from day one.I also have allergies and poodles hardly shed so that's a plus for us. Don't give up and good luck with your search!

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L.O.

answers from Nashville on

Hi J., well we have a maltipom and he is all of 3 lbs and our soon to be 2 yrold is fine with him. She loves on him and he loves on her. He does jump but nothing i cant control. She does carry him and he loves it. You just have to make sure you have good interaction with them no rough housing. I crate mine when i am busy around the house and when he eats to make sure little hands dont try and help him eat lol well hope this helps and good luck.
L.

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J.C.

answers from Tuscaloosa on

I also have a miniature doxie. My husband got him for me as an anniversary gift and paid $250. It seems like a lot of money, but #1 it was a gift, and #2 we had bad luck finding a a small dog to adopt. We made sure we had a reputible breeder, not a puppy mill. In fact the parents were on site this was the dog's first litter and then they had her spayed.

We got him when he was 8 weeks old. My oldest child was 2 and my twins were 8 months old. It has worked out beautifully. The kids are not rough with him and he loves and play with them (now the kids are 5 and 3 years old).

He has a very good temperment, and the breed is know for their good temperment, but a lot of small dogs, are not good around children unless you raise them with them from young puppy age (8-10 weeks). They will snap and bite from being nervous, especially if they were ever mistreated or mishandled (as many for adoption dogs are).

As far as grooming, I have a long haired doxie, who only goes outside to do his business, I bathe him about twice a month in Summer and once a month in Winter. I brush him but because he likes it, not because it is necessary, his hair doesn't matte up like some breeds. Dachshunds are also on the list of small dogs that don't shed, although all dogs shed some amount, just like us humans do. :)

Here's the list.

Small Non Shedding Dog Breeds

Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie), Maltese, West Highland White Terrier, Dachshund, Bichon Frise, Miniature Poodle Italian Greyhound, Border Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Havanese Miniature Schnauzer, Norfolk Terrier, Silky Terrier, Welsh Terrier, Boston Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Chinese Crested,
Australian Terrier

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C.T.

answers from New Orleans on

Hi J.
When my son was 7 months old we got a miniature dashund (weenie) dog. Today my son is 21 months old and the dog is one they play together we also have a lab mixed with a dalmation and he plays with them all the time. But you were saying a dog that doesnt need alot of grooming and doesnt lose hair, we did the same and we ended up with a weenie dog.

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M.T.

answers from Fayetteville on

I know that this has nothing to do with adopting a dog but I noticed that you work from home. Would you mind telling me what you do and how you found out about it? I am thinking about working from home but I dont want to sell things. As for the dog I would wait until your two year old is a little older. Kids that age dont know their own strength!

L.B.

answers from Biloxi on

Don't give up. There is nothing wrong with raising animals with children - I was raised that way and have raised my son that way.

Is there more than one adoption agency in your area? Also, call or go by the one that declined you and find out why they did not follow their own policies and visit the house etc.

Worse come to worse - check the local paper - people are always giving pets away to good homes.

Good luck !!!

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M.B.

answers from Austin on

Hi J. :)

I know you're getting tons of replies but I wanted you to know I've been through the same thing. I've owned TONS of animals over the years and each time I've adopted or attempted to adopt through a rescue it ALWAYS went badly. The animals either came with lots of baggage, bad habits or I was snubbed for some silly reason.If you don't have the time or pateince to rehabilitate teh animal, I wouldn't go that route. The best place I've found to get a good quality pet is from a well-established breeder. Someone who raises their animals with a lot of love and around young children. Feedback helps too. Lots of breeders have websites with postive feedback left by people who have bought from them. First, if you havnt' already--go to http://www.glowdog.com/bestdog/ and double check on th breeds to make sure you have the right one for you and your children. Then take your time and find the right breeder for you. They are more expensive but in the long run it is well worth it to get a mentally balanced dog with a good disposition. We adopted my golden retriever a few months ago and have never looked back. She's fantastic with my kids and really a huge part of our family. My 1 year old even gets rough with her on occasion and Luna either just looks at me for help, lays down and ignores her or gets up and walks away.
I also recommend buying and reading teh dog whisperer books along with watching his shows. He's pretty amazing and has helped me in her training. :) Oh and when you are choosing from a litter of puppies, look for a pup that is very "middle of the road". Not too submissive--not too dominant, not too laid back--not too active. Another sign of a good dog is a solid black roof of their mouths. Not spotted black but solid. This is a sign of intelligence.
I also wouldn't recommend a grown dog. Puppies learn their place in the pack in regards to children much easier than a grown dog.

Don't be discouraged. Somewhere out there is the dog for you. Take your time and good luck! :)

M.

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K.S.

answers from Hattiesburg on

We have a cairn terrior. He doesn't shed very much and he's great with our 2-year-old. They usually run about $400-500 but they are so worth it. I would never, ever chose another breed after raising a cairn.

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V.M.

answers from Chattanooga on

Sorry to hear about your problems with the adoption agency. I think it's really great that you tried to rescue a puppy that was in need of a great home. I don't understand why they would turn down your application just because you have a 2 year old. I have three children ages 10, 6, and 7 months. We own two Shih-Tzu's and our female just had 4 puppies. They play wonderfully with all of our children. Even the puppies, which are almost 6 weeks old, love to run around and play with my kids. Of course, I am there to supervise especially when the baby is playing with the puppies. Don't give up on getting a family dog. Our dogs are a part of the family. Try and find another shelter or someone in the paper who is trying to find a loving home for their puppy. I'm sure there is a wonderful puppy that is out there just waiting for a loving family. Good luck, don't give up, and God Bless!

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