Things came to a head this week regarding the dog we had wanted to adopt. By Thursday the wife and I were still thinking about him, and I called the shelter and confirmed that he was still there. So, he had been in a cage nearly a week, which was making me actually pretty ill. The wife couldn’t seem to move on, either. So Thursday night we were engaged in another round of ‘what if’. What if we adopt him, and our daughter loses her friendship with the previous owner? What if the girl’s mother can never forgive us? Lots of what ifs.

Nevertheless, when I woke up on Friday, I was ready to say ’screw it’ and just go get the dog. Unfortunately, the shelter was not just on the other side of town, but a couple of towns over. And you had to start the adoption process by 5:30 pm. I conferred with the wife, and she wanted to check with our daughter before we made the decision. And then we wanted to check with the former owner. And we had to find someone to watch our son, if I was going to be on the other side of the county and my wife was going to be tied up with a girl scout overnight trip.

Finally, we got all our ducks in a row, and I left work early and headed west. I stopped by a friend’s house to confirm that she would be able to watch the boy, then got back on the road. By now I was in rush hour traffic, and it seemed like I was crawling. The clock kept ticking, faster and faster, and it seemed like I would never get there.

Finally, I pulled into the parking lot of the shelter, and leapt out of the car. There was an older couple with a little girl loading a couple of dogs into a pickup truck, a Husky and a chihuahua.

A chihuahua? Couldn’t be.

I hurried on into the adoption center, and went back to look at the dogs. He wasn’t there. I came back to the front desk, and gave the attendant the dog’s serial number.

“Oh! I’m sorry. He just got adopted.”

Yup. I drove all the way across the county just in time to see him get adopted by someone else. Sucks to be me.

The fallout from this week of complete stress has been evident. I was utterly depressed last night, and didn’t sleep well at all. I’m tense and irritated. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I’ve spent the last twenty years bottling up my love of dogs, because I knew I couldn’t get one of my own. I’ve never even allowed myself to consider the possibility of getting a dog, because it simply wasn’t practical. But over the last week, I succeeded in talking myself into believing that we could get a dog. That I could have a dog to play with again, a dog to curl up against me in the evenings, a dog to chase tennis balls. Now that I’ve opened up all that emotion, I’m having trouble putting it away.

Which is a problem. Although I am theoretically free to look at shelter listings for another dog, my wife is not what you would call a dog person. Her criteria for consideration of an acceptable canine companion are sufficiently narrow that I have little discretion in any actual dog selection. I’m not entirely sure that her criteria even overlap with my own. Or to be perfectly honest, that my criteria are even reasonable given where we are in our lives.

But I want one now.