Rose and McKenna Deal and their dog, Shadow

Rose and McKenna Deal enjoy a sunny afternoon at home with a smiling Shadow. 

What’s the right kind of a dog for a young child? And what’s the right kind of dog for McKenna Deal? Those were the questions Rose Deal and her husband, Trey, had on their minds when they decided to get a pug—a sweet-tempered lap dog. After looking around for about six months, the Orange residents found a breeder in Winchester who had one such creature available. Sold! The Deals brought home the 12-week-old pup, and just as they had hoped, McKenna and Shadow quickly bonded. Shadow, now 18 weeks, follows 7-year-old McKenna around, offers her puppy kisses and falls asleep in her lap. “He’s the perfect size for her to manage,” said Deal as she watched her daughter trade high-fives with the smart little fellow whose wrinkly face frequently breaks out in an unmistakable grin. Deal, project manager for the Orange County Economic Development Authority, said she’s thrilled Shadow follows McKenna around like a … shadow. “He’s a friend to her,” Deal said as McKenna ran across the yard with Shadow racing to catch up. 

Hilary Holladay covers education and writes feature stories for the Orange County Review. The author of five books, she is currently writing a biography of the poet Adrienne Rich.

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