Our family has a terrible case of dog fever that must be cured 

Our family has crippling canine commitment issues. Sound familiar? It’s like a sickness. We have been ill with the love of dogs in general, and the inability to commit to a dog in particular, for months and months.

My husband and I know the children are desperate for a dog. Our hearts are spacious enough, we believe, to encompass the animal that, in Washington, D.C., would be our one true friend.

But which dog? A Labrador-owning pal said we’re picky to a ludicrous, Seinfeldian degree. She’s probably right, but what can we do?

The children have a commitment problem, too, and we are it. They themselves are suffused with uncomplicated yearning to devote themselves to any dog, however humble, so long as it has a tail to wag.

Two things have lately combined to make our suffering more acute — yet also suggest that maybe, finally, the fever will break.

The first is Katie the Wonder Dog, a little mutt we came across late one night driving home from a party. She was skittering around the vast heaps of snow on a main street not far from our house, and she was clearly lost. We brought the shivering creature home, and fell in love.

Katie, it must be said, was everything you could want in one sleek little package — lively, affectionate, intelligent, small, brown and perfect.

Alas for us (though not for Katie), she turned out also to be very much loved by her real family. But we readjusted — just in time for blow No. 2.

A few days later, I arrived at my son’s school to find two enchanting Labrador puppies. Sleepy, beautiful creatures — one inky black, one surfer blond — and we could possess either, provided we made the winning bid at the upcoming school auction.

Well, for weeks the house rang with entreaties. “Please can we get one of those puppies? You can have all our pocket money! We’ll never ask for anything again!”

My husband and I girded ourselves for what felt like fate. First Katie, then this? The time for vacillation was over! And that’s what we thought, too, all the way up until auction night when Labrador puppy fever swept the school gymnasium.

We sat aghast as hands not our own, representing pockets evidently much deeper than ours, wildly waved bid sheets.

We left the place puppy-free, our hearts cold and cavernous. Grimly, we agreed: It’s really time to bite the bullet and start letting some dog — any dog, at this rate! — bite our furniture.

At this point, as when any fever breaks, it’ll come as a huge relief.

Examiner columnist Meghan Cox Gurdon is a former foreign correspondent and a regular contributor to the books pages of The Wall Street Journal.

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