I can rattle off a million and one reasons why our family doesn't need a dog, but then I think about Caleb. He's not the sort of kid that radiates; he tends to scowl more than smile. But, put him around a pooch, and his countenance brightens and his mood softens. He's pleasant and affectionate enough around canine companions, that we're inches away from becoming pet owners.
Today, Caleb was loving on his doctor's dog. Caleb beamed as he stroked the dog's fur. The grateful pooch reciprocated by blanketing Caleb's cheeks with wet, slobbery dog kisses. I imagined that Caleb found the dog an easy companion. Dogs provide loads of affection, minus the complexity and challenges of human emotions. What a perfect fit for my little man!
As the appointment progressed, Caleb's eyes turned crimson and appeared inflamed. He began to sneeze and rub his nose. The doctor and I exchanged knowing glances, and I silently prayed, "Please, don't let him be allergic to dogs."
After the appointment, Caleb and I discussed allergies and dogs. He knew something was wrong, and disappointment engulfed him. We brainstormed hypo-allergenic options, and I offered to find that perfect canine fit.
When we arrived at school, I helped Caleb put his things in his locker. He seemed to be standing especially close to me. I pulled him close and kissed him on the cheek. He welcomed my affection (a rarity). I imagined he felt understood, and that seemed to bridge the emotional valley between us.
I walked away from the school thinking of the one reason to get a dog.
That one reason is reason enough.