Well, the kids and Stuart won. One morning in July, we were talking about the possibility of maybe looking for a rescue dog to adopt, and about three hours later, we brought home our new dog. He's a darling rescue dog, about a year old, and he's a Lhasa/Shihtzu mix. We've named him Snickers, because his coloring is exactly the color of a snickerdoodle cookie.
In the past few months, he has quickly become one of the family. We learned that he was rescued from a home that neglected him, and we can't imagine what tradegdy would befall a family that would train a cute puppy like this guy and then neglect him. He's so very needy - he wants to be with us all the time and to be petted frequently. Which of course we have been trained to do! He loves to sleep at the foot of someone's bed, and he checks in on us throughout the night. We had some chewing issues, but I think the worst is over.
Like Stuart has said several times, we had specific criteria for any new dog, and Snickers fit all of them. It's like he was meant to be our new dog. Having him has helped us through the last stages of grieving for our old Simba, who we still miss, but not as sharply or painfully. All of us at one point or another have yelled "Simba!" to Snickers, only to be painfully smacked with reality once again. But those times are becoming fewer, and thankfully more nostalgic than painful. I do believe that owning pets helps children deal with grief in good and healthy ways, and that the joy that we see on their faces and on the dog's face when we come home at the end of the day are completely worth it.
(Please remind me that it's worth it in fourteen years when I start the "my old dog just won't die" nonsense. Thanks.)
PS - Yes, we do realize that the new dog looks shockingly like the old dog. We know that. We love that. We won't be sad or upset if you point it out to us. (I wish the nice lady at the dog hotel read my blog, because you can bet that she was kinda creeped out and very nervous about saying anything about the new dog looking like the old dog. The kids and I laughed about that in the car on the way home!)
New thing I learned while making this post: you can access your instagram photos on the internet using several different websites. I used http://www.gramfeed.com/. It worked great!