I am a dog person. I have always loved animals, but I love dogs in particular and have ever since I was a child. We connect on some deep level. Their devotion is the clearest example of unconditional love I can conjure. They are innocent, forgiving, loyal. They are also totally dependent on us to provide for and care for them. We are needed. Wanted. They make us better than we would be without them. And they can give us a reason to live. Among the various breeds of dogs, I have come to love Miniature Schnauzers the most. They are playful throughout their life, displaying an optimistic outlook, taking joy in any activity as long as they are with you . They also intensely bond with their human parents, never happier than when they are on your lap. Though they are protective, barking whenever someone or something dares to enter their domain, if bred properly, they are not yappy or hyper. They have funny, quirky personalities…a characteristic that I particularly enjoy. Because of this, they can provide endless entertainment opportunities. Yes, I admit that I am smitten. They reach me. They hook me and draw me in. I own a little 5-1/2 year old salt and pepper female names Zoe. Her registered name is Daystar’s Zoe My Heartsong. She is a delight. She is also a very social little girl who is constantly trying to get the dog next door to play with her. She’s obsessed with it, pawing on the fence, running back and forth, staring intently through small knotholes. She is lonely when I’m gone; more so than most, I think, because of her social nature. Because of this, I’ve been thinking about getting another Schnauzer for some time. As a result, this weekend, I took possession of a new little salt and pepper female who is 10 weeks old. I have named her Hannah and her registered name will be Daystar’s Hannah You Had Me At Hello. (Yes, both dogs came from Kim Griffin and her Daystar Kennel. Wonderful breeder…highly recommend her!) Why am I writing about this? Good question. I’m sharing the news about my new puppy because of the struggle this little addition to my “family” has presented to me. It was a bit unexpected, this struggle. I’ve come to realize in saying yes to getting another dog, I’m saying yes to extending my stay upon the planet. And I don’t want to do that. I really don’t. Which, while it doesn’t surprise me, considering life isn’t much fun at all, does surprise me because of the intensity of my fear at making this commitment. I tried to kill myself in December of 2006. I really wanted to die. Took over 300% of the lethal dose of a medication I hoarded for that purpose, waited until the Schnauzer I owned at that time passed away and then executed my plan. Somewhere in my hazy state of almost passing out, I felt guilty because I was going to be the first client my therapist ever lost. I called to apologize. He called the police. I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and woke the next day completely devastated to find that I had lived. You’ll notice the timing. I waited until my sweet Maddie was gone. No dog. I was free of responsibility and no longer had a compelling reason to live. Hannah extends my life expectancy. I’m upset about that. But I did go through with it. She is currently in a crate in my kitchen and I’m sure she’s crying and whining like crazy because she wants to be out so she can play with Zoe. Zoe cries when I put Hannah in her crate too. Zoe has taken to the little squirt, even though she is somewhat mystified by her. That’s okay. I’m mystified by her too…that I got her…that I’m doing this…that I’m saying yes to living a little longer on this planet I despise. I’ve pretty much given up on anything good coming my way. Except for these silly little innocent dogs with unconditional love oozing out of every pour of their being. It doesn’t quite make life worth living, but it forces me to hang around. Because they need me. And maybe I need them too.