Sbahnak stands on his toes as he tries to put his head over the barrier, his hands on the clear wall on either side of his head as he peers in.
I grab his shoulders and pull him back slightly. "You are placing smudges on the plastic," I say.
"He's just excited," Jim grins as he picks him up to rest him on his hip. He leans over the wall to look into the small enclosure.
Sbahnak looks down with wide eyes at the small, whimpering puppies that dance on their hind legs as they try to reach them for affection. Or perhaps they smell our lunch.
"Do you want to pet one?" Jim asks.
Sbahnak blinks. "No," he says as he leans back.
Jim tilts his head back and looks at him with a hidden smile. "No? You don't want to pet the puppies?"
He shakes his head.
"They're very… jumpy," he says.
Jim snorts. "Of course. They're puppies, and they're eager to meet you."
"Meet me?" he asks, his eyebrows lifting in surprise, as he seemed to give the canines more consideration.
"Of course!" Jim says grinning. He shifts Sbahnak in his arms and holds him lower. The dogs jump up and begin to lick the boy's cheeks, causing him to begin to giggle and squirm.
I stiffen before quickly grabbing Sbahnak from Jim's hold and taking him away from the animals. "That is very unsanitary," I scold.
Jim's surprise changes to a pointed look. "The point of being a kid is getting dirty and germy. And the point of having a puppy is affection. The most adorable thing in the world is a puppy kissing a child's cheeks."
I raise an eyebrow. "Perhaps another pet would be advisable."
"But they me," Sbahnak protests.
Jim grins. "The best animal to get a kid is a dog."
"I am sure that is a matter of opinion," I state as I begin to walk around the pet shop to find more pets. "There is no harm in examining other pets."
"You just don't want a dog because you're part cat," Jim says, bringing a hand up to brush along the shell of my ear.
I suppress a shudder and give him a warning look. "While I do prefer cats to dogs, the theories concerning my ancient ancestry have nothing to do with it." I place Sbahnak back onto the ground before addressing him. "Peruse the shop and consider all of the pets available. If you still find you want a canine, we shall buy one."
Sbahnak nods before beginning to walk through the store, Jim and I following.
"I still think a dog is the best," Jim says. "I can give you some logical reasons. I have actually thought about this."
"I assume you are referring to the responsibilities required. This is a trait of owning any pet, not merely a dog," I say as Sbahnak takes a closer look at a snake. I refuse to buy one but luckily do not need to comment when he scrunches is nose and continues walking.
"Yeah, but what about companionship?" Jim asks, lifting up Sbahnak at his prompting to get a closer look at an aquarium of hermit crabs. "You can't really play with a cat."
"Perhaps," I say, admitting to myself that I had not considered Sbahnak's emotional needs. It is not a concern Vulcan parents generally have. "Cats are more independent, but that allows us freedom from needing to return home to allow the dog out. We must also consider the fact that we live in an apartment." I think a moment. "What about a tribble?"
"Sbahnak has a lot of energy." Jim smiles as they look at what can only be described as a furry, purple lizard. "Tribbles are okay, but they don't do a lot, and you don't need to feed it or take care of it or anything. With a dog, he can take them for walks and that park is only a block away. You've been saying how Sbahnak needs to get outside more, right?"
"Will the dog always be so excitable?" Sbahnak suddenly asks, looking up at Jim from his crouched position to look at green mice low on the shelf.
"Naw, when they grow up, they'll mellow out, maybe in a year or a two."
Sbahnak looks up to me, his eyes pleading. "I want to look at the dogs again."
I study him a moment, and he begins to squirm under my gaze. I glance to Jim, who is smiling smugly. "Have you considered all of your options?"
"Very well," I concede, not pointing out that we have not actually browsed the whole store. "We will look at the juvenile canines once again."
They both beam at me before heading back to the front of the store. Jim leans over the enclosure again with Sbahnak resting on his canted on his hip again. "Which one do you want to look at?"
"That one!" Sbahnak points to a fluffy puppy that has a black back and tan stomach.
Jim grins. "A German Shepherd? A good choice."
"How large does this breed grow?" I ask.
"Uh," Jim frowns. "I guess 30 kilograms, maybe more?"
"That is a rather large sized dog for an apartment," I note.
"A little, but our apartment's pretty big," he says before setting our son down. He reaches over and snatches up the dog. It wiggles and barks before settling in the crook of Jim's bent elbow.
"I wanna hold him," Sbahnak declares, jumping up and down and reaching up with grabbing hands.
Jim studies it a moment. "Her," he corrects. "It's a girl puppy."
"I want to hold her," he says, settling down to rock on his heels, his hands clasped behind his back.
Jim looks down at him speculatively. "I don't think so. I don't want to have to chase her all around the store if she twists and you accidentally drop her."
Sbahnak doesn't frown, but I know he must be suppressing one. "I will not drop her."
"How about I hold her, and you say, 'Hi'?" he suggests as he holds the puppy down.
Sbahnak brings a hand up and carefully pets the dog's head. The dog squirms and licks at his face and hand, causing him to giggle lowly again before suppressing the noise.
I wince and resist the urge to pull him back again.
Jim notices my discomfort and grins. He brings the dog up and holds it out to me. "Come on, Spock. Give the little girl a chance."
I look down at it a moment before taking the dog from Jim. Its fur is surprisingly soft. I rest it on my arm and bring a hand up to pet its back. It barks happily.
"See? She likes you," Jim says in the same tone of voice he used to use when Sbahnak was an infant. I raise my eyebrow.
"This dog is the most logical choice, sa-mekh," Sbahnak declares, his back straight and his hands clasped behind his back. He is attempting to be unemotional, but his bouncing shows his excitement. "Please?"
I suddenly have three sets of 'puppy eyes' staring at me.
I exhale heavily. "Very well," I acquiesce.
I know the dog does not have the intelligence to understand what I said, so it barking loudly at that moment was merely a coincidence.
Author's note: I've been neglecting Sbahnak! D: Sorry little guy! Here's a puppy!