01/29/2013 04:35 EST | Updated 03/31/2013 05:12 EDT


The letter asking for a dog was written in the curvy, careful handwriting of a grammar-school girl wanting to make an impression. Crumpled drafts were on the floor of her room, explorations of different arguments to press her case. In the end, my daughter used them all.

And she ended the letter with emotion, signing it "with love and hope."