I didn’t think my son was ready. “You’re only 24!” I said to him. “You’re not ready for a responsibility this big. You travel for work, you live in a tiny apartment and you can barely feed yourself!” No, I wasn’t talking about him having a baby. I was talking about him wanting a dog. And he wanted a big dog like the one he grew up.

This was four years ago, just a few months after our much-loved dog, Chappy, whom we adopted when she was four months old, died at age 17. Now, my children had moved out of the house and I announced that I was done with the responsibilities of day-to-day care of any living thing, and that included plants. This was my chance to be free to do … well, I wasn’t quite certain what I was going to be free to do, but I knew it didn’t include being available every time my barely adult son needed help with a dog.

“I know how much you miss…

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