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Sometimes, when I terrify myself writing murder scenes in my dark, creaking house in the middle of the night, I have to give the lab puppy by my side a little pat. I’ve adored labs and their golden retriever cousins since I puppy-raised Jiny, a Golden Retrieve/Labrador cross. Jiny was bred to be a guide dog for the blind. I puppy raised Jiny from the time that she was 8 weeks old. I am still recovering! As anyone who has ever had a Labrador puppy knows, they eat everything. And I do mean everything.

I couldn’t leave books lying around the house as Jiny would eat them. Quite literally. I’d leave a book on the sofa or on a table. After work, I’d arrive home hoping to continue reading and I’d discover that the book was gone. It took the disappearance of several books and the occasional leftover fragment of paper for me to realize that the culprit was my dog. Jiny ate books as mid-day snacks until I learned to put them far out of reach.

Jiny also ate slippers, socks and anything else left lying around.

For years, we had Labrador teeth marks in our television remote control which still worked despite being punctured with holes from her sharp puppy teeth.

Jiny didn’t make the guide dog program. She was too sensitive to noise and they decided she wouldn’t be suitable.

Luckily we were allowed to keep her. She was so beautiful that I used to joke that if Marilyn Monroe had been a dog she’d have looked like Jiny. Long blond eyelashes, a beauty spot on her cheek, glorious multi-toned golden fur with the dog version of an hour glass feminine figure. And like all labs, super smart.

Sadly, Jiny died of cancer a few years ago after which we became busy raising three sons and moving around the world. It was too difficult to raise another puppy.

However, I am a foster carer with the guide dog association here in Australia. When they need a temporary home for one of their dogs, they call me. Their labrador puppies – including three month old Taylor a female lab who I took care of in April – are the dogs that sit by my side as I write scary murder scenes in the middle of the night.

Megan Goldin is the author of The Escape Room. This photo of Ginny was taken on a snowy day in Jerusalem where Megan worked a correspondent for Reuters covering the Middle East conflict.