I always get confused about whether to use past perfect in past tense narrative. Example:
I went back home that weekend to help Mom with our dog's burial. Since we had postponed it, she'd had to find a place to keep him. The house, although spacious, hadn't been an option. Too unsanitary. She'd then thought about shoving him into his house---but no, animals would drag him out and devour him, not to mention the trouble with maggots. The best solution, Mom had decided, was to put him into a stuff sack and hang him on one of the zelkova trees that bordered the yard.
The narrator and her Mom postponed the burial of their dog in an earlier chapter (they did it in Chapter 1 and this excerpt is from Chapter 6). I used had since the mother did all these actions before this chapter (Chapter 6) and when the MC wasn't at home. This makes sense to me grammatically, but I feel the passage is awkward with all those had's. And this makes me wonder if I'm using too many or whether I can omit some.
How to deal with past perfect in past tense narrative? When is it necessary and when it can be omitted?