I wake up slowly. There is bright sunlight streaming through the atrium door in our bedroom. My wife is beside me, still dead to the world. I have overslept.

There is a small mound on the floor beside me. A small mound that moves ever so slightly. Rising and falling rhythmically. The small mound is a small boy. The small boy is my son.

There has been another nightmare. A nightmare that has driven a small, frightened child into his parents’ bedroom, dragging his blanket and pillow, to sleep on the floor. How thoughtful that he came in quietly so he did not wake us up. How thoughtful and how sad.

I step over him on the way to the bathroom. I hesitate and turn around to lift him up into bed with his mother. He is warm, in his little nest on the floor in the morning sun. He stirs a bit as I lay him on the bed, unconsciously adjusting to the feel of new surroundings. But he doesn’t wake up.

As I shave, I think about the nightmares. My wife is certain a pet would solve the problem. A dog or cat to provide security and companionship. I have resisted this idea since it first came up several months ago. Pets are messy. Pets are expensive. Pets need lots of care. But sometimes, perhaps, pets are necessary.

My son and his mother are ecstatic at dinner that evening when I announce my change of heart. My son is given the choice of dog or cat, and without hesitation chooses a puppy. A trip to the animal shelter is scheduled for the weekend. However, the excitement can’t be contained, and we end up making a trip after dinner to buy a dozen pet care products, most of which are probably unnecessary.

Another morning. I wake up slowly. There is bright sunlight streaming through the atrium door in our bedroom. There is a small mound on the floor beside me. The small mound is a small boy. And an even smaller puppy.

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