That was my firm declaration more than three years ago after we re-homed Biscuit, our Australian shepherd mix.
Biscuit needed more exercise than we could give him after the twins were born, and he let us know by becoming more aggressive about doing his job. He slipped out the door whenever it opened and herded the neighborhood, once nipping a brawling basketball player in the calf.
We had no choice after that.
We gave him to a family who knew what had happened. The father was good friends with our veterinarian, who assured him that Biscuit had intended no harm. Biscuit was gone when the older kids returned from school one day.
They were devastated, especially our daughter who suffers from high anxiety.
I never ever wanted to go through that again.
But our daughter begged.
And her older brother begged.
And, I had to admit, I missed the distraction of a dog while writing. I missed the security of having an alert little creature at the foot of my bed whenever my husband was out of town. I missed the motivation to walk a mile or two regardless of the weather or the hour.
And then my husband admitted that he wouldn’t mind taking a break from his work-at-home job every now and then to toss a ball around in the yard. What happened with Biscuit would not repeat itself, I knew. The twins were an unexpected surprise. We never would have adopted a dog had we known they were coming.
So I relented … under one condition.
No dogs less than one year old.
No more potty training for me.
At 3.5 years old, one twin still struggles with the whole concept. I was tired of dabbing, soaking, spraying and steam cleaning. Tired of watching a young one’s every move to ensure that he made it to the potty on time. Tired of always being on that kind of edge.
I was firm. Yet here I sit with the soft, warm body of 7-week-old Clover curled up on my lap. The worst part is that I was the one who insisted. Clover is a Border collie/beagle mix, a mistake, according to her breeder. Two registered dogs accidentally ended up in a pen together for less than ten minutes. That 10-minute romp produced a litter of nine. We got the last one. She is irresistible. Welcome to the family, Clover.