Making a decision with both heart and mind aligned can be challenging. Do you follow your heart and ignore red flags that logic is waving in your peripheral view? Or do you make a choice based purely upon rational analytics, missing the passion? Which carries more weight in the decision-making balance—emotion or reason? A decision with a partner or spouse doubles the trouble. Now, there are two hearts and two minds that need to be blended and united.

Five years have passed since our dog Schubert died. Heartbreakingly, he died just two months after my husband and I made the gut-wrenching choice to euthanize Stella, his litter mate, when neither she nor we could tolerate her suffering any longer. We still talk about them and the joy they brought to our home for nearly sixteen years.

This is the longest we have ever gone without a pet in the house (not counting the occasional dog-sitting gigs for family members’ pets). We brought Schubert and Stella home just days after the second of our previous pair of pups died. Our friends and family anticipated that we would repeat the pattern—find another puppy or two in need of a home, fall madly in love, bring them home and spoil them rotten (and vice versa).

During the outset of the pandemic, the pull was particularly strong to return to dog-owner status. My husband pitched several heart-driven scenarios while reminding me of dog awesomeness: How about just one pup this time? Or what about the idea of providing a sweet mature dog a new home? Don’t you miss having dogs in the house?

Truly, were this only a decision of our hearts, we would have welcomed a new best friend or two to the house years ago. We are dog people. However, no matter how much I miss hearing the pitter-patter of puppy feet and despite my longing for the faithful, loving companionship that comes with pet ownership, I have not been able to take the pet plunge again.

Logic has won this decision-making battle . . . so far. From experience, we know that owning and loving a pet requires a big commitment of time, money, and effort. Honestly, and somewhat guiltily, we have enjoyed the freedom to come and go without worrying about how long we can leave Fido at home by himself. On top of all of that, I truly do not think my heart can bear the loss of another dog. Thankfully, my husband and I both understand that the decision cannot be made unilaterally.

Sometimes following your heart wins the day. Other times, your mind and an analytical assessment dictate. But when making vital, long lasting decisions, it is best to engage both logic and emotion.

I’m here if you need me. Until then, y’all behave.