My family has always taken owning a dog quite seriously.

Subsequently, we’ve always taken our dogs’ deaths very seriously.

Among the few unwritten rules in our household growing up was that, after a dog died, we waited about a year to get another one—it allowed us to respect our fallen friend, and it assured that any new dog we took in was treated fairly and not expected to replace the old one or come into our lives while we were grieving.

There’s also been a pattern we’ve taken in getting our dogs: as my mom points out, the dogs have “found us,” meaning we haven’t driven to a pet store or a shelter one day and come home with a dog.

One dog followed my dad home while he was jogging; relatives and family friends have inquired about us taking in others, saying the dogs needed a good home. For our latest, Mom’s co-worker told us about a litter of German shorthaired pointer puppies that were available.

We brought Cal home in 2003. Sadly, he died in April of last year.

I’ve said repeatedly that I don’t think I’m getting another dog—as much as people have to admire and love the friendship and loyalty they provide, I don’t think I want to go through the real pain that sets in when they pass away. I’ll fork over a check or my checking account number to support animal shelters. I’m just not walking out the door with a dog.

I’ve stood my ground for all of 10 months—and now, those signs are creeping in yet again that it might be time for a dog—or, to be clear, it might be time for my parents to get a dog that I can regularly visit.

Last week at work, I opened our door around 5:30 p.m. to see police officers streaming through the parking lot, apparently looking for someone who had just robbed a man a few blocks away. What an end to the work day.

About a half hour later, an officer told me that police had apprehended the suspect, thanks to a nearby dog. The pooch was, essentially, going crazy and barking, as the suspect was hiding nearby under a porch.

To be clear, I realize the suspect is innocent until proven guilty, but how cool is that story? Our four-legged friends delivered again.

So, fittingly, I’m left pondering my mom’s assertion that our dogs “find us”—maybe that dog on the 10600 block of Artesian Avenue told officers something, but maybe he told me something, too.

Is it time to get another dog? It just might be.

Any suggestions on a breed?

Or should we let that one “find us”?