To puppy or not to puppy? That is the question. And the answer is not as easy as picking out a dog collar, my friends.
After we lost our beloved not-quite-three-year-old boxer pup Max to lymphoma at this very time last year, we reacted the same way dog-loving humans around the world do to such a loss:
"That's it. No more dogs. Ever. It's too hard; we can go through this again. Period."
Right. And we meant it. Ever. Done with that hurt.
Besides, on the first hand, everyone knows that puppies are a lot of work. The potty and yard training; the cleaning up after their messes; the vacuuming 8,000 times a day and constant Lysol-ing so the house doesn't smell of Fragrance de Canine.
I don't care how cute and cuddly and warm and fuzzy and sweet and funny they are. I don't.
Even though, as my friend Samantha Phillips of Sebring so eloquently stated, "But they give you so much love and affection, no matter what! How can you not have a dog?"
Yeah, there is the whole undying loyalty thing dogs have going for them - if you like that in a pet.
But my dad and mother-in-law made good sense when they both warned us against getting another dog - since we both work full-time outside the home and all.
Mom Kimerer was especially emphatic with her "You need another dog like you need a hole in the head" mantra, noting that we're gone most of every week day.
So, on the second hand, can dual-working families give dogs really fulfilled lives?
My pal Lynne Fiest of Southington says heck to the yeah.
"I think it's better to give a dog a home with good owners who work but take care of him / her and treat him / her right than a bad home with people who can't even take care of themselves let alone take care of their pet. Plus, all they do is sleep all day anyway, so give them a nice dog bed and they're in heaven."
My soon-to-be-mommy friend and dog lover extraordinaire Danielle Hopkinson of Canfield added, "Having a dog lowers stress levels and anyone who is working full time will definitely need help lowering their stress levels."
Hmpf and a half.
My ever-faithful sis Gina defended the notion of having a dog even though residents of any given casa may spend the better part of their days at work / school. "You definitely need a dog if you both work full-time outside the home. If someone breaks in, look out! Cujo is waiting," she said.
Yep, I can definitely imaging that Max would have handily ripped an intruder from limb to limb - unless, of course, they spoke a word aloud or tried to pet him, in which case he'd not only have laid down for a belly rub but also handed them the keys to our safe-deposit box.
Look, on the third hand (or first foot, whatever), how could we possibly get another dog? Some day, it will, you know, go away.
"Now, sweetie, you know that's a ridiculous argument. No one would ever love anyone if we were all thought that way," came the sage advice of my mother, a bonafide dog-adorer.
Oh, crud. Whom am I kidding?
Monnie Kimerer, the world's most adorable female boxer pup, moved into our house on Monday. She is the most stinking cute, huggable creature you ever saw.
After all, I guess they don't call it puppy lukewarm like, right? Sigh.
So, did Kerry and I make the right call on getting another dog?
Hmm. The jury's still out.
But, I'll be sure to let you know as soon as Kyle gets back to earth from his joyous bounce up to the moon ... and Monnie stops licking my face.
---- Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.