Over the course of the last two years, my children have put in numerous requests for a dog. As I was in the midst of either pregnancy or caring for a newborn throughout those years, the answer had resoundingly been “no.” To that, my children adopted the theory that I “just don't understand.” I understood all right. I understood that I would ultimately be the dog's primary caretaker, and my plate was already quite full. I had no interest in adding to it.
But a few months ago, my vantage point began to change. My children were a little older, and my eldest had begun to crave some responsibility. When he came to me one evening (doleful eyes in full force) and made his case once again, I felt my resolve soften a bit.
“Do you think you can take care of a dog?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he responded with a hearty nod.
“You would walk him, feed him and play with him?” I asked.
“Definitely,” he said, still nodding.
I looked over at my husband. He shrugged his approval.
“Hmmmmm,” I said as I looked back at my son with a raised eyebrow. “I'll think about it.”
Then, somehow, dogs began to find their way into our path. Not a week went by that a friend or co-worker didn't have a pooch for us to consider. We visited every one of them, and each time my husband and I would engage in the same conversation.
“Are we sure we're ready for this?” I would ask.
“I think so…” he would say somewhat uncertainly.
“I’m not sure,” I would say. “I don’t think we are.”
“You might be right,” he would say.
We would deduce the time for an addition to our family had not yet arrived, and move on with the relief that we didn’t add to our already hectic family schedule.
Until one day, when my husband made an announcement.
“I think I found our dog.”
I looked at him warily.
“Go on,” I said.
“Let me show you a picture.”
He pulled out his phone and turned it in my direction. Staring back at me was the sweetest doggy face I had ever seen. Before I knew it, that tiny puppy was in my arms, nestled in and sleeping soundly. I knew immediately it was all over — we were officially dog owners.
Brimming with excitement, my husband and I made arrangements to bring our new buddy home on Christmas Eve. That day, when the doorbell rang, Santa himself (er, my husband in costume) delivered a tiny dog right into my son’s arms. As he and his siblings doted on the new addition, I smiled through happy tears. I marveled that this dog would likely be with us until our children were adults. Suddenly, it seemed silly that we had waited so long to take this step. But I was glad we did, because now, we have the perfect dog. And his name is Marley.