By Jamie Balke
Explorebigsky.com Columnist

I’ve always loved animals. When I was a kid, I brokered a deal with my dad (while my mom was out of earshot) that when my brother turned 5, we would get a dog. And boy, did I hold him to it.

My mom doesn’t share my excitement for pets. I don’t know what happened to the many proposals I subtly slipped under her bedroom door featuring diagrams of my room, indicating where we could fit the animal beds, tanks and cages I hoped to acquire. I suspect she didn’t find them as compelling as I intended.

I fixated my interest on pet hermit crabs, a dream that has yet to be realized. As an adult, I find them rather creepy.

I was in third grade when my brother turned 5, and my righteous quest for a dog finally reached fruition.Resigned to the deal I made with my dad, my mom researched breeds to find one that would be low maintenance.

They decided on a beagle. The day we picked Annie up was one of the happiest of my childhood. I almost convinced my mom to bring home Annie’s brother as well.She was the runt of the litter, and for the next 15 years, to my mom’s constant chagrin, she ran our house.

Annie was the greatest. She incited dog riots at training class, stayed with me on the couch the whole time I had chicken pox and pulled me around the neighborhood on my roller blades. I wasn’t there when she died, and I’ll never forgive myself.

In Bozeman, there are dogs everywhere, and I can’t help thinking how much I’d like to have one back in my life. I’m lucky to rent a nice apartment from a great company, but there is a strict no-dog policy. Although my guinea pig Joey is a good substitute, I’m not ready to abandon the dog idea. In an effort to weigh the pros and cons, I’ve developed an extensive thought-out list.

Pros:

1.Dogs are awesome.

2.It could be Joey the guinea pig’s BFF.

3.I love dogs.

Cons:

1.A dog might try to eat Joey.

2.I like my apartment and would prefer not move in the near future.

3.In addition to her aversion to dogs, my mom developed an allergy. I like it when my mom visits, and want her to do so as often as possible.

Although getting a dog is probably a notion to table for now, I hope some day in the not-too-distant future, I might be able to walk down a trail with a dog by my side.

Jamie Balke has been brainstorming dog names, which she believes is normal.