Shortly after Mother's Day, I saw our fish at the bottom of its tank, on its side. My sons, Preston, 7, and Griffin, 5, have yet to notice that the fish and its tank are no longer on our kitchen counter.

I guess that tells you how little interest they had in the fish.

The boys will eventually realize the fish is dead, then the great debate will begin again: to get a dog or not to get a dog.

Griffin has learned about pets during the past two years at his preschool. Some of his friends have brought their dogs in to share. He asks us: "When can we get a dog?" - not if we can.

Preston asks for a dog on a regular basis, too. Sometimes he'll spy the dogs pictured in the Star's adoption column. "That one is so cute. Can we get him?" he'll ask.

I grew up with dogs, first a dachshund that I don't have many memories of, then a beagle named Calamity. She came home with us from a breeder when I was in elementary school. She brought so much joy to our family for many years. She was a wonderful companion. I played with her and cuddled with her. My relationship with my dog was unlike any other.

My husband never had a dog. He takes a pragmatic approach to whether to get a dog, while I have an emotional response. He acknowledges that a dog can be a lot of fun, but he has many concerns.

Who will take the dog out early in the morning? Who is going to clean up after it? Are we going to be away from home too much? Who will take care of the dog when we go out of town? Can we expect the boys to help care for the dog every day? Do we want to take on this additional expense?

So we have three in favor of getting a dog, and one against. I think this needs to be a unanimous decision. The good news is that we aren't on a timetable.

In the meantime, you might see Preston, Griffin and me visiting the pooches at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona's Pawsh adoption center at La Encantada. We'll be the ones with the hopeful faces.

E-mail Kelley Helfand at