I’ve had a hard time lately. In the past few years we’ve had to put down four animals (two dogs and two horses). Of the four, there’s only one that I am at peace about. The other three break my heart to this day. After losing Aslan, I was done. I decided I didn’t want to ever play God again — and, of course, the only way to do that is not to have animals, which meant no more dogs.

That decision hurt my husband as much as it hurt me. He may not want to be the primary caretaker, but he loves the dogs. They are family, and nothing is more important to him than family. He couldn’t fathom being without a dog, but he also understood how much I was hurting.

Then a breeder we trust implicitly had an amazing litter and threw me into a quandary. Of COURSE I want a puppy. I love dogs more than I love breathing. My mind is painfully divided — just draw a big yin-yang sign up there. Half of me knows the inevitable pain. The other half knows the inevitable joy.

My husband wanted a puppy — which is one of those, “Who are you, and where is my husband?” kind of moments. I talked to the breeder and she made an amazing offer that would make the puppy affordable. But even though the details were seeming to fall into place, it just didn’t feel right.

Then I was reading the breeder’s puppy page and saw that the pups would be ready to come home on June 29. That would be a nightmare:

* I’m working on two major projects this summer. The two have their “scary” overlap period (where I both question my sanity and rack up the overtime) beginning, you guessed it, right at the end of June.

* Usually I take off two weeks (minimum) when I bring home a puppy. This year neither Jay nor I could take off any time. That’s setting EVERYONE in the household up for failure.

* I have not one, but two, trips planned this summer — and may have to travel for work in mid-July as well.

* Jay is in the middle of the project from hell, and won’t get any relief until August — if then. Home is his escape, but he’s still stressed. I’m not sure a puppy would really help.

* And, to be realistic, Pflouff *is* still only 18 months old. In six months, she’ll be a different dog. Six months after that, a different dog again. Maturity is a wonderful thing.

So I bucked up and did the responsible thing and turned down that puppy.

(I can’t believe it. My husband said yes, and I said no. I think Hell is a might chilly right now.)

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