Logan, what you really want is an animal that you can love, and that can love you back.
I love animals. I always have. They delight in so many unanticipated ways. And yet, I've spent the last 15 years avoiding almost all contact with them.
Turns out that I have allergies. Bad allergies. Like, you put me in a room full of cats and I near about go into anaphylactic shock. I'm not kidding. There was a period where I didn't go to my mom and dad's for over a year because they had so many cats.
Dogs are just about as bad. Get me around a short-haired dog like a boxer or a lab and I go crazy. Snot everywhere! It's no fun, and the exhaustion of the allergy attack lasts for days.
I've gotten to a point where I will not sit on upholstered furniture or hang out in the pet's room if I go somewhere where there are animals. I will look lovingly at the animal, and talk to it, but I will keep my hands close to my body lest they accidentally brush my fingers and I should then inadvertently touch my face.
But then Logan, this little boy who shares so much of my soul, who in so many ways is so much like me, started trying to get pets that were OK. There were fish. There were Guinea Pigs (pregnant ones that left us with quite an issue on our hands...). There was an attempt at a lizard.
Each time it didn't work out, the anguish in his heart was too much for me. I knew that hurt, that loss. So, one day I told him we would get a dog. I also told him I didn't know how, or what kind, and that it would not be quick, but that we would get a dog.
We were getting a dog for the kids. I was a grudging, albeit willing, participant. Dalynn researched hypoallergenic dogs and she found really good things about Shih Tzus. We went to a breeder (with all my heart, I wish I could go to the SPCA, but I literally cannot step foot in there). I sat on her fabric sofa, I held some tiny dog in my hands, I pet it, rubbed it, then handed it to Logan (who was wearing an enormous grin).
Then, against 15 years of experience and suffering, I took off my glasses and rubbed my eyes.
Not a thing. It looked like this might actually work.
Then Jasmine walked in. I'm not quite sure what happened. She ran across the room, jumped immediately into my lap, an idiot, ear-to-ear grin broke out across my face and I looked at Dalynn and said "This is the one!"
Folks, I have fought hard throughout my life to suppress the sentimental, soft side I have. I mean, really soft. I care about things and people deeply but I try not to let it come to the surface. And here, with a dog jumping in my lap, all self-control broke down.
I was smitten.
And I will say, after 15 years, it felt so good to hold a dog. To love it and pet it and be loved by it. Somewhere, some deep part of me that had been grieving for so long was being soothed. Some gruff, hard corner was being reshaped.
Jasmine has come home with us. She is now a part of our family. She brings us immense joy. I have seen her soothe broken and hurt children. She has been my shadow for weeks now and wakes me at dawn to go out.
Have I mentioned that I am not a morning person? But all of the sudden I am... It is very hard to sleep while there is a very ebullient 10 lbs weight jumping on you and licking you in the face.
And her joy is contagious. It has healed some of this last year of hurt. If a kid is having a hard time, a little puppy therapy goes a long way.
It is, of course, not all roses. She likes to poop on rugs... But we're working through that.