Getting our dog was one of the best things to ever happen to our family.
I'll never forget the day our black Cavoodle Sunny joined our tight-knit team.
We drove the kids up to the hills and surprised them with a visit to a reputable breeder we'd been in discussions with for weeks, who sold the allergy-friendly breed of dogs.
He was the last of the litter. The runt.
And from the moment we saw the tiny fluffball we all cried. He was immediately one of us.
The first months were hard work – having a tiny puppy is very similar to having a newborn (except not as full on). He would wake up a number of times in the night 'crying', he liked to wee and poo inside, he constantly wanted to play and when he wasn't playing he slept. He also really liked to eat socks and underwear.
He would try to escape to the park if the front door was open, even for a second, would howl if we left him alone and he'd follow me everywhere, even to the toilet.
It was really intense, but he just wanted to be loved.
Now he's three and every morning he jumps onto everyone's beds and licks their face to wake them up. He snuggles next to myself, or my husband, on the couch every single night and lays his head in our lap.
He is our protector. He loves us so deeply and us him.
Luckily, there are five members of the family who want to love him.
His biggest gift has been to teach us all about unconditional love and for the kids it's been a really great life lesson.
At first we were nervous the kids wouldn't help beyond the first few weeks, but they've all stepped-up in their own way to contribute to his wellbeing.
Our eldest girl has taught him to sit, stay, shake, rollover and high five. When she is around he listens and obeys.
Our middle child washes him regularly and makes sure his bowls are clean and he has all the food and water he needs.
And our youngest child will spend hours playing with him and throwing him a ball over-and-over.
They've also stepped-up when he got sick.
Recently, he started having fits. It's been terrifying for all of us, but more so for the kids. Each time he fits we all fear he will die. We have no control and simply have to be with him until the shaking stops.
There's been a number of emergency vet visits with crying kids, yet still they've managed make phone calls, bring towels and get water. Through the tears they've all banded together to do all they can to protect our beautiful boy.
It's taught them about how deep love runs, what to do in an emergency and to stick together in times of a crises.
He's being tested for epilepsy and hopefully with daily medication we can keep his fits to a minimum, but we are all now acutely aware of the fragility of life.
The kids now make sure he has his tablet every morning and night. They pop the tablet into a ball of cream cheese and he licks it off their finger. It always ends with a big cuddle.
He is our sunshine.
Our Sunny boy is the sixth member of our family and we couldn't imagine life without him.