We have an English Pointer - we took her on at 2 and she is now 7 (8 in February). We knew she had issues, but not quite as bad as they turned out! She can be very very aggressive to other people and dogs indoors, so we have to lead a "restricted life" when we have visitors, especially those with other dogs. However, she is very loving with us and that's what matters. We had a Pointer before together with a Samoyed (they were a devoted couple!)
You have my sympathy and understanding over the loss of your Lab - it is physically painful and all I can say to you is that you will start to remember all the good times and never think the bad times outweigh those. I am so pleased you are going to get another dog - personally, we can't live without one and, of course, the walking helps our PD.
Do let me know when you new addition arrives! As you say, best mate and a huge part of a family!