Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Poll: What Would You Do With the Pets If You Broke Up?

Last week, I was talking with a friend who’s in a new-ish relationship and she was explaining that her boyfriend shares custody of his dog with his ex-girlfriend, whom he got the dog with when they were still a couple. He has the dog for a few days a week and the ex-girlfriend gets the dog for a few days a week. And they share keys to each other’s apartments so they can pick up and drop off the dog if the other person isn’t home.

“How long have they been broken up?” I asked. “Three years,” my friend said. And the dog is 10. Which means this arrangement could continue for a while. And, you know, it’s probably silly, but I think I’d be annoyed by this if I were in my friend’s shoes. Like, you share custody of a dog? (And I even love pets and consider our cats members of our family, and it still seems a little peculiar to me). What do you think? How would you handle the situation if you broke up with someone you shared a pet with? (Poll after jump).

[polldaddy poll=”7437642″]

158 comments… add one
  • avatar

    bethany October 3, 2013, 1:38 pm

    I picked 3 answers. Oops. I think it would depend… If it was my pet going into the relationship, I’m keeping it. If we got it together, I think it would go with whoever it liked most, and if it was possible, I’d go the visitation route.

    If you’re on good terms with your x, I don’t see why sharing custody should be a problem. I have several x’s who I could see a shared custody situation working out with.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 1:42 pm

      But then what if one of you moves? Do you need permission from your dog’s co-parent? I’m just imagining applying child custody issues to this and it makes it sound completely insane.

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      • BriarRose

        BriarRose October 3, 2013, 1:55 pm

        If I had to see my ex-husband every few days to trade off our dog, I’d go insane.

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      • avatar

        TECH October 3, 2013, 2:00 pm

        The question “But then what if one of you moves?” is completely legitimate. And that’s why shared custody of a pet is so insane. To say that you couldn’t move because one of you would be unable to see the dog is just insane. And then the new boyfriends and girlfriends would be forced to meet the ex for dog exchanges. Totally absurd.
        Relationships are complicated enough. It seems pet baggage is totally unnecessary.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 3, 2013, 2:04 pm

        I guess we’d cross that bridge when we get there? Even if my husband moved away and took his cat, I’d still want him to send me pictures of him, and updates as to how he was doing. I’m a crazy cat lady.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ October 3, 2013, 2:48 pm

        We’re not talking legal custody here, just practical custody. I wouldn’t say you need PERMISSION from the co-parent but it certainly would need to be addressed jointly and a new arrangement made. Basically it would open the whole conversation again and yeah, that could get messy and ugly. Ultimately whatever serves the animal’s best interests is the most important thing, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

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      • Copa

        Copa October 3, 2013, 3:18 pm

        I’m using this as an opportunity to mope about my life: my ex and his ex-wife were sharing custody of their dog until my ex’s ex, her live-in, and the dog all moved across the country (about 2 months ago). (Full story below.) Based on that experience, I have a few thoughts:

        1. I never met the ex-wife. It’s possible to coordinate visition schedules around seeing one another. It truly didn’t bother me that they had this kind of arrangement, but I admittedly felt weird the few times I was in the cheating ex-wife’s house.
        2. My ex told me last night that a big part of the reason our relationship was on the rocks recently was because he was having a hard time dealing with losing his dog entirely, that he felt really lost without him. So, I obviously am not a fan of “pet baggage” at the moment. ha.

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      • avatar

        Banana October 3, 2013, 3:32 pm

        He broke up because of his confusing feelings about a dog? Ugh. People are more important than pets. I love animals, but people’s feelings are more important. That drives me a little bonkers.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 3, 2013, 3:40 pm

        How long had he been divorced? I mean do you think it was solely the loss of his pet that he was having a hard time with or maybe it was the loss of the pet + the ex moving away causing him to mourn the loss of the marriage (again) and where he maybe thought his life would be now vs where it is? Was his dog the main tie he had to his pre-divorce life? I don’t know I think him blaming it solely on the dog is a little bit of a cop out and that there is probably a lot more going on in his head than he’s either ready to deal with or acknowledging. Or it sounded like a good line….which is also shitty.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 3, 2013, 4:00 pm

        Yeah, I agree. I feel like “confusion about the dog” is a stand in for “confusion about… LIFE” in this case.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana October 3, 2013, 4:04 pm

        yeah if I lost my dog I would cling like hell to whomever I was dating at the time as I would be so depressed I would need that support ha.

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      • Copa

        Copa October 3, 2013, 4:56 pm

        I think the dog leaving (with the ex-wife) just made a bunch of divorce feelings resurfaced. He’s “sorry” and “confused” and I do not think he is as ready to date as he thought he was when I met him last year. So. I think I made the right call in ending it last week. But I’m so sad. I make terrible dating choices & feel like I should’ve seen this coming.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 3, 2013, 5:45 pm

        Eh I don’t think you necessarily could have seen this coming. You kind of have to take people at their words, and if he said he was ready to date – and was in fact a good boyfriend – you had no reason to think otherwise. I think sometimes this is just one of those things. It’s really unfortunate for sure, but I don’t think either of you made mistakes or were dumb or misleading you know? Maybe he really didn’t know about the effects of his divorce and this triggered it. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 3, 2013, 5:51 pm

        i swear i did not read your comment before i wrote mine, haha.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 3, 2013, 5:50 pm

        Eh you have to believe what people tell you. He said I’m ready to date and I’m assuming showed you he was ready to date. Then things changed and he realized he wasn’t. That’s not on you. That’s on him. In a way the dog leaving probably saved you even more months of becoming invested in someone who wasn’t ready. Doesn’t make it suck any less I know!

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 3, 2013, 5:58 pm

        Ha so creepy. The only thing in your point I disagree with is the subtle implication that it’s on him – and therefore he did anything wrong. It doesn’t sound like he even knew he needed more breathing room.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 3, 2013, 6:06 pm

        Yeah that was poor wording/word choice. I don’t think he did anything wrong, but the change was on his part, and not something she could have ‘seen’. And like you said he probably didn’t realized how unready he was until this trigger. So, yeah that probably makes my statement as clear as mud.

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      • Copa

        Copa October 4, 2013, 9:05 am

        Meh. He has a LOT of baggage. His divorce had an unconventional spin to it that really fucked with his head, and I think it was pretty obvious in some ways that he still had some demons to battle from that aspect of his marriage falling apart. His ex-wife was apparently his first serious girlfriend & they’d been together for probably 12 years total. Several months after that he lost his mom to cancer. Six months later he met me. He experienced so much loss in quick succession in the year before meeting me that truthfully? Yeah, I do feel like I should have seen an inevitable downward spiral at another loss (dog + ex-wife’s physical closeness). When we talked about things after he told me how “sorry” he is, every single issue he had about our relationship were non-issues — all just fear of issues from his marriage cropping up in our relationship. Bahh. Things ended on an “I wish we’d met at different time in our lives” note. 🙁

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      • Lyra

        Lyra October 4, 2013, 9:51 am

        I kind of felt that when the divorced guy who I had a fling with this summer and I broke it off — if we had maybe met at a different time, things would have worked out differently. Timing really is a huge part of relationships.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh October 3, 2013, 1:41 pm

    I picked whoever was closest to the beach, haha! Because obviously that’s the most important, right?

    This argument has no bearing in my marriage because hands down I get the dogs. I’m the most obsessed so it just makes sense. And my name is on their pill bottles because I take them to the vet most of the time, so clearly they’re mine. I like to jokingly remind M of this every time he does something that’s funny, like if you fart on me on more time I’m leaving and remember I get the dogs.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 1:41 pm

    Haha stay together for the pet’s sake.

    I’m with Wendy on this. Its just weird. But I’m not a pet person.

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    • avatar

      Banana October 3, 2013, 3:35 pm

      Ditto. I actually love pets and animals, but I’ve never gone to such lengths over one. It boggles me because yes, you should make sure the pet is being taken care of humanely and is in a loving family, but PETS ARE NOT PEOPLE. When it comes to feelings, actually, people’s feelings are more important than the pet’s. And let’s be serious. You’re not sharing custody of the pet because you’re afraid the pet will miss you too much. You’re doing it because you miss the pet. And that creates a lot of weird tension when you start dating other people and they see how enmeshed in your ex’s life you still are. Not letting go of the shared pet is, in part, not fully letting go of the old relationship. That’s the big red flag to me.

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  • avatar

    rachel October 3, 2013, 1:42 pm

    It makes me really sad that some one picked shelter 🙁 When I volunteered at the Humane Society, sometimes people would put “divorce” for the reason they were surrendering a pet, but honestly I always figured that was more for financial reasons, not “well we can’t figure out who gets the pet, so we’re gonna put it in a shelter”.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 1:44 pm

      That’s messed up! Who was that guy in the bible who offered to cut the baby in half?? Reminds me of that.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 3, 2013, 2:19 pm

        I think that was Solomon, but to be fair it was kind of a trick he was just trying to determine who the babies actual mother was because the one who would say “No save the baby, give it to her” instead of “OK give me the bottom half” was definitely the mother. He gave the whole baby back to the actual mom.

        So I guess the person who should have the dog in this case would be the one saying “No don’t put it in a shelter, you can have him because I want the best for him” instead of “Ok we can’t decide put him in the shelter” in Solomon’s eyes.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 2:24 pm

        Yes, that’s it!

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph October 3, 2013, 3:55 pm

        Anyone smart would ask for the top half. Diapers, hello!

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 3, 2013, 4:30 pm

        Touche! 🙂

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  • mandalee

    mandalee October 3, 2013, 1:42 pm

    I voted for sharing custody. Honestly, it may sound crazy to some people, but my husband and I are equally attached to our dog and have had her for almost 6 years. I couldn’t imagine either one of us not seeing her often or regularly, so I can definitely see us sharing custody if something were ever to happen to our relationship. We even joked about it before getting married, and agreed that we didn’t care about splitting anything else, but neither of us would be okay if one or the other took the dog.

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  • Just Max

    Just Max October 3, 2013, 1:46 pm

    I was the one that wanted the pets, so I kept them when we divorced. Even when both cats looooooved him much more than me!
    I wouldn’t do the sharing custody/visitation; for me, that’s just too much contact with an ex.

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  • BriarRose

    BriarRose October 3, 2013, 1:53 pm

    Sharing custody of a pet is a bit much for me. My ex-husband and I adopted a dog when we were married, and I kept her when we divorced. I’m more of a pet person than he is, plus I have our daughter and she was quite attached to the dog, so it made sense. I’m sure other people might not have such straightforward circumstances, but I’d be annoyed too if I was dating someone who shared custody of a pet with an old girlfriend.

    I’ve dated two divorced men and in both cases, their ex-wives kept the dogs.

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  • avatar

    TECH October 3, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Wendy, I agree with you. I would be annoyed if I was in your friend’s shoes. I mean, I understand that people create emotional attachments with pets. But when people break up, they just need to decide one person will keep the dog. And yes, it’s going to suck, you will miss the dog and the dog will probably miss you. But you will get over it. The dog will not be emotionally scarred in the same way a child would if their parent abandoned them.

    Also, I’m going to say something that will probably be unpopular, but I’m just going to say it. We need to stop treating pets like they are human beings. Absolutely, pets are wonderful and have a valuable place in the family, but they are not the same as children. To share custody of a dog three years after you break up with someone is pretty extreme.

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    • BriarRose

      BriarRose October 3, 2013, 1:57 pm

      Yeah, I love my dog, but she is nowhere close to as important as my child. Sorry pup! She’s not disposable or unimportant, but she’s still an animal. A very loved, goofy animal.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl October 3, 2013, 2:00 pm

      I basically agree with your second paragraph, Tech. I love my freaking cat to death, but he will always come second to my humans.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh October 3, 2013, 2:07 pm

      I think the reason it probably gets ‘messy’ in break ups and divorces its that it’s not like anything else that is owned. You can’t sell your dog like you would a house or a car. It has to go to someone and the emotional ties people have to pets are real. I wouldn’t want to see an ex or share custody, but I can see it being a large point of contention if both parties felt like they ‘owned’ the dog equally. How do you decide that?

      To share custody though would not be an option in my head, because I think it would actually be harder on the pet than missing their owner. Because, at least they get a chance to adapt to a new normal and it’s not constantly changing.

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    • avatar

      bethany October 3, 2013, 2:07 pm

      Why is it extreme if it works for both people and the pet?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 2:27 pm

        OK, so imagine you are in that situation, and have a new boyfriend who you’re getting pretty serious with, or are already serious with and he ultimatums you about ending this custody arrangement. Then what? Tell him to take a hike?

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 3, 2013, 2:30 pm

        I could actually see that as being super awkward. Like, imagine the ex gets jealous because there’s another man around “his” dog? (“He doesn’t feed him, does he, Bethany?? Okay, okay, but he doesn’t walk him, right? RIGHT?? THAT’S MY JOB!”)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 2:35 pm

        and then inevitably the dog yelling ‘you’re not my REAL father!’ to the new boyfriend. Awkward!

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 3, 2013, 2:36 pm

        hahahaha. perfect.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 3, 2013, 2:53 pm

        It took sampson a while to warm up to Colin. But now everytime he comes over sampson freaks out and runs in circles around him and it is the cutest thing ever.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 3, 2013, 2:45 pm

        If Dave ever brought some new girl around My Calzo I would FREAK THE F OUT.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 3, 2013, 2:30 pm

        I’m a pet person. Never in a million years would I ever go out with a guy who wasn’t ok with me going to visit my former pet or having a custodial arrangement with an ex.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 2:25 pm

      Honestly, this would almost make me wonder if one of them (or even both) were using the dog as an excuse to keep in contact.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana October 3, 2013, 2:32 pm

        yeah agree. i know a divorced couple that had two dogs and one took one and the other took the other. ha i don’t know how you choose but it worked for them so hey. this is also one of the main reasons i wanted to get a dog on my own before i was coupled up or in a serious relationship. yes i am that crazy, but i wanted MY dog and even if i end up married or dating someone seriously in the future and they “adopt” her, she will still always be mine.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland October 3, 2013, 2:57 pm

        Yes!

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana October 3, 2013, 3:07 pm

        i know, I am glad I am not crazy and someone understands this! Before I got her I was in a serious relationship and explaining to my friend why I needed a dog now and I was like if I don’t get her now, then the dog I get will be a “couple” dog (the guy I was with really wanted a dog and we had talked about what breed/sex/names ) and I really did not want to deal with that potential drama. I ended up holding off and got one when we broke-up so it worked out. But I also want to get a cat soon for the same reasons ha. I also like most animals better than a lot of humans…

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      • avatar

        kiki October 3, 2013, 3:27 pm

        this is why i think my boyfriend and i will always have 2 dogs , even when we get married. okay, this isn’t the main reason, but just another reason to.
        we each have our own dog that we had before we met, so if we break up now we just each keep our own dog (although he did say he’d want to buy my dog from me if we break up because he’d want to keep her…not happening!)

        but some day whenever our dogs die (a long long long time from now)…we’ll just get 2 dogs again and probably each pick out one. i kind of like each having our own dog, even if both are technically ours…if that makes any sense. maybe that’s weird. plus we already have 2 names picked out for the future dogs.

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      • othy

        othy October 3, 2013, 8:43 pm

        We’ve got 2 cats, but I couldn’t imagine splitting them up. They were the last two of the same litter, and it would be simply heartbreaking to separate them.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl October 3, 2013, 2:36 pm

      I like dogs far better than I like most humans.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson October 3, 2013, 1:55 pm

    This is my nightmare. I tell anyone that asks that despite the fact that I didn’t get any settlement out of the divorce I still won because I got Sampson, and he is the love of my life. I would NEVER share him. But then again I am more of a “clean break” person than others. Out of sight out of mind, and I would never see or communicate with an ex for a dog. That dog is mine and I will destroy your life if you fuck with him.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph October 3, 2013, 3:56 pm

      Yeah I’m with you on the clean break.
      I can’t imagine having to see my ex routinely to exchange the dog. I’d rather let him keep it.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. October 3, 2013, 4:15 pm

        Me too.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl October 3, 2013, 1:57 pm

    I picked who ever had the pet first, as that’s what would apply in our current situation. If we adopted a new pet and then spilt…I would say whom ever could care better for the pet. If we got a dog and one of us lived in the city and the other in the suburbs with a fenced in yard…it only makes sense the one with the yard gets the dog!

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  • avatar

    cdobbs October 3, 2013, 2:02 pm

    so against taking the pet to a shelter….i think that is so cruel that the pet would be attached to you (you are their family too!) and then you would just sherk your responsibility (they are a lifetime responsibility) and drop them off and who knows where they would end up (abusive or neglectful home)….that is so wrong on so many levels….i know when my brother started dating his now wife she wanted him to put his dog down because he had bought him for his ex-girlfriend….me and my parents ended up taking him and he lived with us for 10 years until he passed away from cancer….he was such a great companion and he was a member of our family….the thought of just dropping him off somewhere and never seeing him again out of convenience just breaks my heart….can’t believe people are capable of that actually

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    • avatar

      bethany October 3, 2013, 2:10 pm

      The saddest place ever is the “owner surrender” area at the shelter. It broke my heart, seeing those pets in the cages, just shaking and crying. 🙁

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle October 3, 2013, 2:24 pm

      Yeah, no way to the shelter thing.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson October 3, 2013, 2:26 pm

      People are fucked up. I consider people that take their animals to the shelter because they “didn’t realize the responsibility” essentially serial killers. If I could make pet abandonment punishable by death I would.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana October 3, 2013, 2:37 pm

        don’t get me started on this. it will be the rant to end all rants. I was that kid at college parties where the dumb fratbro was parading around the cute puppy he bought that grilled and lectured them about the responsibility involved with owning a pet and that they clearly didnt understand this etc. and was always called the “buzzkill” whatever. This couple in my apartment complex who never owned dogs got a Husky puppy. And they walk him to go to the bathroom and that is it. I know because I am friends with them. This dog will most likely end up in a shelter as it gets bigger, is no longer a cute “puppy” and has 19 million behavioral issues from never being exercised/disciplined/given room to explore etc. enough. sorry off topic. ugh im so angry right now though.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 3, 2013, 2:43 pm

        Ahh yeah, this one time I was visiting my friend at her school, & I went to a nearby mall with her & her group of friends (who all lived together in an apartment near campus). Anyway, we’re walking around, & we go into a pet store— to, I figure, just “ooh” & “ahh”, although that’s not something I’d ever do on my own— but then they’re oohing and ahhing over this baby bunny, & they have the employee take the bunny out so they can cuddle it, & THEN… they fucking got it!! Sooo spur of the moment. I remember being horror- texting my boyfriend at the time like, “omg I need to gtfo of here, these people just impulse bought a bunny WTF”

        But yeah, basically: I feel you

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      • KKZ

        KKZ October 3, 2013, 2:55 pm

        That would have sent me into a rage. ooo I’m fuming even now.

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      • avatar

        vizslalvr October 3, 2013, 6:34 pm

        I must admit, I impulse bought my bunny in college, and … six? years later, she’s happy and healthy and a great pet. I had a rabbit as a child, though, so I knew what I was getting myself into.

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      • othy

        Othy October 3, 2013, 8:51 pm

        A couple of friends of mine impulse bought a hamster. Mostly, I think it was the girl berating the guy into letting her get it. Three days later, the realized that they were not cut out for it, and that they didn’t have the time/space (yes, they need space!) to have it. So they found a new home for it.

        I’m so afraid they’ll do this with a dog at some point.

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      • avatar

        kare October 3, 2013, 3:19 pm

        Ugh. People like this are sociopaths. I had a roommate that adopted a border collie puppy and kept him in his crate all day. The poor thing was rarely taken outside. Fortunately he was at the park with him and a little kid started playing with the dog, so the guy asked the family if they wanted to adopt him and they said yes.

        Another roommate had her dog get attacked by another dog, she didnt want to pay the $200 for surgery to save its life and just let it die. (Her parents offered to pay and her pay them back over time or take it out of her allowance). She adopted another dog and left it in it’s crate. My ex and I would walk it and clean the cage because the poor puppy would shit all over its crate.

        This is the main reason why I don’t do the roommate thing anymore.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana October 3, 2013, 3:49 pm

        this type of stuff infuriates me, especially since I know/have talked to people who were like “oh i had a dog in college for 2 years” oh yeah what happened to it “well i graduated and took it to the shelter” um wtf? Not expendable. also people who ignore their animals or don’t exercise them/discipline them and then bring them to the shelter because of behavioral problems. And they say it without any shame at all’ even in no-kill shelters the quality of life for animals is low and they are rarely adopted out, especially if they aren’t puppies. Some girls I worked with, got a cat and had no plan for when they moved out of their place. I was always like who gets the cat, what is going to happen to it, who is paying the bills? their response “oh we’ll figure it out” well i just found out they moved out and the cat went back to the shelter. just why? this stuff gets me so livid.

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      • kare

        kare October 3, 2013, 3:59 pm

        The worst are the people that just move and leave their dog or cat in the house or apartment. It scares me that people who do that shit might one day have kids. If you can’t handle the responsibility of an animal, I highly doubt you are going to be an awesome parent.

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      • othy

        othy October 3, 2013, 8:55 pm

        One of my coworkers lives up by a big field, complete with lots of mice. All of her cats are cats that people just came and dropped off at the field when they didn’t want them anymore. It infuriates me!

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      • avatar

        cdobbs October 3, 2013, 4:39 pm

        i can tell you horror stories when i took horse back riding lessons as a kid….the one girl bought a horse off the racetrack (she was a beginner level) and when the horse was too much to handle she had the vet come out and put it to sleep….wtf? why not sell it to a more experienced rider?….ugh….this dear wendy post has got my rage up!

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      • avatar

        vizslalvr October 3, 2013, 6:41 pm

        My parents recently got a puppy, and so we were discussing dog breeds at a family functions. And my first cousin’s mother-in-law started going down the list of all the dog breeds they have had. I was like, “Wow, that’s a lot of dogs!” AND THEN she started going through all the reasons they got rid of them – it got too big, it had too much energy and the kids were little, etc. Like, some of them were really petty stuff.

        Now, I have to see the woman every 2-3 months and didn’t want to flip a shit and make things awkward for my cousin. I did say something along the lines of, “My goodness. I view my animals as a personal responsibility and could not imagine getting rid of them for reasons like that. That’s why I put so much research into the breed I purchased.” But I wanted to punch her in her face.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. October 3, 2013, 2:26 pm

    This trend of getting pets together kind of worries me. So many people do not take having a pet seriously. I think the decision to get a pet should be at the same level as deciding to have a child, and you sould ask the same questions: Is the relationship stable? Can we afford it? Seriously, I went to the shelter to get a hamster – a hamster! – and there was a goldfish in a bowl sitting there.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 2:29 pm

      Haha do they accept goldfish at shelters?! Don’t they die within 5 minutes of getting them anyway?

      Good overall point! It seems like there is a trend of getting a pet together as another step in a relationship, but it really should only be a step taken after you are living together and seriously committed.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. October 3, 2013, 4:03 pm

        At this particualr shelter they accept chickens and snakes as well. There were chickens when I went. I swear, I wanted to save them all but I couldn’t. I saved one, though.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland October 3, 2013, 2:30 pm

      Seconding!

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    • avatar

      FancyPants October 3, 2013, 4:34 pm

      I agree – my husband and I would really like a dog, but we’re thinking about having kids in a few years. While we’d love a dog now, we think it’s only fair to our potential dog that we get it after we’re done having our children – I want to be sure the dog will interact well with our kids and not have territory issues so that we can make a nice life for him or her. I’ve known a lot of people who have treated dogs like a starter child and had issues later where the dog wasn’t taken care of as well as it should be and that really bothered me.

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie October 3, 2013, 9:19 pm

        Having a pet of any kind is a lesson in having kids. Actually it’s a lot of lessons and a great introduction to having the responsibility of a living being that’s totally dependent on you. If you want the advanced course, foster a new born kitten or puppy. Around the clock feeding with sleep deprivation as a reward is darn close to having a baby.

        Mixing a pet and a baby can go either way but most of the time the 4 legged baby will adapt and may even be a help to give the diaper clad one attention when your at the end of your mental and physical rope. A dog can be selected by bred to be one that’s good with kids and the local animal shelter has lots of wonderful dogs and cats waiting for homes. The shelter folk will be very glad to advise you on particular animals as they know individuals behavior. They’re amazing that way.

        There are only 2 down sides to adopting a pet, one of them is the subject of this LW the other is that dogs and cats don’t live as long as people and it’s horrible when you lose one.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 4, 2013, 12:16 pm

        I agree, sometimes I think it’s very beneficial for children to be born into families with pets. From seeing our friends with pets and kids and friends with pets and no kids, the kids who don’t have pets usually go through a very fearful of animals stage which to me is kind of sad, since it can last many years. Also, many dogs LOVE children and would react well when kids are introduced, you need to be patient and not just stop paying attention to the pet.

        When we got Archer and I was filling out the application there was a question regarding “would there ever be a circumstance where you would give up your pet” and I responded “No! Pets are family too, and almost all issues can be taken care of with proper training”. I really think that’s true and I think that’s why they chose us to adopt him.

        @Diablo It’s been 10 years since we lost our family dog and it still makes me sooo sad when I think about it. She was such a good friend.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle October 3, 2013, 2:28 pm

    I have never, ever thought about this. Sharing custody does sound batty as hell, but then again, I’ve never owned a pet with my S/O & can’t imagine what I’d do in that situation.

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  • Imsostartled

    Imsostartled October 3, 2013, 2:31 pm

    What if you have 2 pets? Rowena likes me better and Archer likes J better so if anything happened should we split it that way? I don’t think we could, they love each other so much I think it’d be best for them to stay with one of us…. OK with ME! I’d totally fight for them, but I don’t think I’d ever share custody. I’d be so lonely without them.

    Oh and there was a comment above about not treating your pets like human beings. I agree and disagree. In my family/extended family my cats are ranked lower then my human family members (the ones I like at least), so if my husband and my cats were in a burning building I’d save him… well I’d probably try to stuff the cats in my shirt or something so they couldn’t get out and then pull him out by his legs… but anyways if there was a choice I’d pick the human… But I love and care and treat them so much better then other humans, to me they are my family and I rank them higher in value and love (to me) then most human beings.

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  • KKZ

    KKZ October 3, 2013, 2:43 pm

    REALLY hard question for me. When I confronted Bear in July about us possibly getting a divorce, that was one of the absolute hardest things for both of us to fathom, because we are both crazy about our dog (who is 3). It was my idea to adopt him and I even had to talk Bear into it because he is allergic, but he started bawling during our talk when he realized that divorce meant he’d lose his dog because, while 50/50 custody would be ideal, it would just be more practical for Balto to live with me, for several reasons. He said in tears, “You made me get him, you made me fall in love with him and now you’re taking him away.” And that just felt like a knife through the gut, because I knew exactly what I was asking of him.

    Luckily we’re working things out marriage-wise and won’t have to face the problem, but I still felt a little stung by the “it’s just a dog” tone Wendy used. A dog is not a THING, it is a RELATIONSHIP, something between family and dear dear friend. Dogs are emotional and empathetic – you break up that relationship, the humans AND the dog both hurt for it. I don’t think I could stand to look in Balto’s eyes as he waited at the window for Daddy to come home and never did. (Okay, couldn’t get through that sentence without a cryface. Damn.) It’s hard enough now that Bear leaves every week to travel for work, Balto gets so mopey every time Bear gets out the suitcase.

    Phew, Ok, gotta dry out and think about something happier.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 2:53 pm

      ” A dog is not a THING, it is a RELATIONSHIP, something between family and dear dear friend.”

      This sorta goes with the theme of the ‘what do you call the person are never marrying…a fiance?’ A dog is not a relationship. Its not a family member really either. Its a DOG. What’s with all the redefining words that already exist? Its a dog. Call it a dog. Everyone gets some people are super close with their dogs. That’s great and fine. But its still a dog. Right?

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 3, 2013, 2:57 pm

        How I read that was that the interaction with a dog (for some people obviously) is not like a relationship they would have with a thing, i.e. a flat screen tv; but more like a relationship they would have with a friend/family member. Yes, it’s a dog but the interaction between those people and their pet is that of a friend/family member and not just a ‘thing’.

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        lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 3:00 pm

        I guess I didn’t find the “thing” thing (haha) in reading Wendy’s post. And then clearly got worked up over nothing. The whole ‘pets are like my children thing’ is just a little odd to me.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 3, 2013, 3:01 pm

        No they’re better than kids because they never learn how to backtalk.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 3:03 pm

        Touche

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      • avatar

        bethany October 3, 2013, 3:05 pm

        Spend an evening with my cat… He backtalks, alright. I fucking love him anyway.

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      • theattack

        theattack October 3, 2013, 3:37 pm

        Yeah, you clearly don’t have a cat. haha

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 3, 2013, 3:04 pm

        Well I don’t think KKZ (obviously I don’t know exactly what she was getting at, only my interpretation) was saying Balto was like her kid, just that he is like a member of the family/friend. Different than saying my dog is my kid, which I mean I don’t actually know anyone who says that and is dead serious.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ October 3, 2013, 3:15 pm

        Thank you.
        I don’t have kids, don’t want kids and would only become a mother over my own dead body (however that would work…) so the relationship I have with my dog, one in which he depends on me to provide for his happy, healthy, fulfilling life and gives me unconditional love in return, IS the closest thing I will ever know to parenthood. Even so, I don’t think of him as my kid (though I have made the comparison before), I think of him as my dog, which is special of its own merits.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 3, 2013, 2:58 pm

        No one is arguing that it’s a dog. I am also a warm blooded creature. I am also sometimes an asshole. Those are descriptions. What we are disputing is that a dog should be treated as property. So in Colorado you can petition for custody of your pets because they are not considered property, but rather “issues”.

        I agree, Sampson is not a family member, he is more than that, he is my soulmate, my slutty little love child, the reason I was put on the earth. Whatever you want to call it. Mostly I just need you to know that you have no soul. What are we talking about again?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 3:02 pm

        Receipt acknowledged.

        Can you seriously petition for custody of a dog? What is everyone’s thoughts on leaving an inheritance to your dog? I’ve done maybe 10 wills that include that and it always seems weird (not just who gets custody and some $ for its care…a lot of $).

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 3, 2013, 3:04 pm

        I think if anything a pet will is just the responsible thing to do. If you don’t designate who gets your dog, and save up money for them in a trust, they very well could end up in a shelter and what kind of responsible pet parent would ever want that fate for their dog? Plus, tax break.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 3:17 pm

        I agree with that, but I meant people who leave tens of thousands, or even millions, to their pet.

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      • avatar

        rachel October 3, 2013, 3:39 pm

        Ugh, the saddest thing when I was at the Humane Society, there was a woman whose mom had died, and they had to bring the cat in because they couldn’t take care of it. And it was an older cat so it stayed in the shelter for a while, and the woman would come in and visit the cat EVERY week. 🙁

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      • avatar

        bethany October 3, 2013, 3:10 pm

        I can see setting aside money for it’s care, particularly if it has health problems, but what is my cat going to do with a shitton of money? He can’t buy stuff. He doesn’t have thumbs!

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland October 3, 2013, 3:13 pm

        …now that ipads have touch technology, and you can 1-click order things on amazon, don’t be so sure 😉

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie October 5, 2013, 12:45 am

        If the economy/stock market doesn’t falter and we live in our present life style another 20 years we’ll have to leave bundle to our cats because we have no family. But seriously we’re unlikely to last that long and the local animal shelter will receive our generous endowment in the near future. Can’t take it with us and it keeps piling up.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland October 3, 2013, 3:06 pm

        I would definitely leave enough money in my will for my cats to live out their lives comfortably with stipulations on end-of-life-care. I think it seems logical.

        I know people who have had to put parrots into their wills because they live for so goddamn long.

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      • avatar

        painted_lady October 3, 2013, 6:26 pm

        I’m inheriting a parrot. And she’s such a bitch.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. October 3, 2013, 4:13 pm

        I woudn’t leave money TO a dog, but I would leave money FOR a dog. If I ever get another dog, I plan to designate someone to take it after I die, and I will leave whatever money I can (ha) to them for its upkeep. I am the designated “heir” for several of my friends and my brother. At last count, I stand to inherit one dog and at least five cats. I only hope someone leaves me a house with a yard.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 4:16 pm

        Haha, wow, here’s hoping to everyone staying alive!

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      • raptor

        gillociraptor October 3, 2013, 10:02 pm

        My parents have it set up in their will that each of their two dogs gets $10,000 each to go toward their care. My husband and I are to take custody of the dogs unless anything happens to my parents. I actually think it’s a great idea, because we definitely couldn’t afford taking on two extra dogs with what we make now, but $20,000 would definitely help, especially if there are any health issues we need to contend with.

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      • raptor

        gillociraptor October 3, 2013, 10:03 pm

        Uh, IF something happens to my parents. And only one “each” in the first sentence. Wow.

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie October 5, 2013, 12:52 am

        Pets with major health issues can be extremely expensive and not cheap to maintain in the best of times. Our 3 cats take about $2k/year for food, litter, toys and annual vet visit.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 3, 2013, 3:03 pm

        My cat is my best friend. I wish I was kidding.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 3, 2013, 3:10 pm

        I seriously think my cat and I are soulmates, and I don’t even believe in soulmates.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 3, 2013, 3:19 pm

        Yeah! We’re like Elliott and E.T. We are connected.

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        bethany October 3, 2013, 3:26 pm

        Or Elliot and AP??

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 3, 2013, 3:32 pm

        We do make out sometimes.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ October 3, 2013, 3:03 pm

        Sorry, no. I am unswayable on this point and will not engage further.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 3:19 pm

        Ok, ok, I’m sorry KKZ!

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      • KKZ

        KKZ October 3, 2013, 3:31 pm

        It’s alright. I just know it’s one of my “issues” that could keep me here frothing at the mouth until midnight if I let it.

        You didn’t see the first 5 versions of my retort before I decided to cut it down to “Sorry, no, will not engage.” Shit got nasty and personal real fast and I’m glad I took a moment to breathe and rein it in.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 3:46 pm

        Oh boy. Well thanks for toning it down! I have issues that I get really worked up over too, so I hear ya.
        As to your comment below, I don’t think if a pet isn’t human its less valuable. Its just different.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl October 3, 2013, 3:53 pm

        I agree with you LBH. There is a big difference between those who see pets as NO value and/or objects and someone like me who puts my cat a half a notch behind my family.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ October 3, 2013, 3:42 pm

        And part of the reason it gets under my skin when people make the “not a human therefore less valuable” argument is that people like THIS IDIOT use the same argument.

        http://www.journal-news.com/news/news/dog-is-not-a-human-says-man-charged-with-animal-cr/nbDNK/

        (This is near my hometown and coincidentally I saw it just now when I switched from this tab to Facebook.)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 3, 2013, 3:51 pm

        I really think you can say that a dog is not a human (fact) without being into animal cruelty! It was a dumb argument on his part obviously and the guy is evil for hurting dogs (didn’t read the article). But you aren’t evil for acknowledging that dogs are dogs.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ October 3, 2013, 4:23 pm

        Look, it’s a difference between the objective definition and the subjective definition. No one is evil for saying a dog is a dog, because a dog is certainly not a duck or a table, it’s a canus lupus familiaris, yeah I get you in that literal sense. But you yourself tied it to the whole “part of the family, like a kid” discussion and that shit gets subjective immediately, because already ‘family’ doesn’t have a distinct definition. The difference between “dog” and “pet” is like the difference between “ape” and “person.”

        A dog is a dog and not a human. That’s really all anyone can say.
        When it turns into “A dog is not a human, so….”, when the definition of canine is conflated with the value of caninekind, that’s what makes the fur on my neck stand up.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ October 3, 2013, 4:23 pm

        Annnnd now I’m going back on my word to not engage. *closes tab* till next time and next topic, y’all!

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana October 3, 2013, 3:54 pm

        yeah my first dog, that my family got when I was 6 and that lived until I was 18 was literally like a sibling to me, and sometimes better than my siblings because he loved me unconditionally and let me love him in the same way. When he died, it was like losing a huge part of the family and honestly just writing this makes me tear up, because I still miss him. He was my buddy, a best friend, and a brother. I don’t care if that makes me a weirdo. People who have never had this type of relationship with an animal may not get this, but I feel you and I don’t think that just because its an animal and not a human the relationship you have is any less, especially if you plan to never have children. Obviously you still treat it like a dog, you don’t sign it up for preschool and have a college fund and you know pretend its a baby, but you can love it in a hugely powerful and strong way and it being an animal not a human doesn’t negate those feelings 🙂

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 3, 2013, 5:11 pm

        I get how you feel. We got our dog when my dad was gone and I grew up with her. She WAS sometimes better then my siblings, because she never called me names, hurt me feelings or “beat me up (they said if it doesn’t leave a big mark it doesn’t count)” she would come to me when I was sad, let me cry to her and love her as much as I could. She was my best friend.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 3, 2013, 3:10 pm

        I don’t think KKZ is saying Balto isn’t “a dog” like she is making it into a different being like a child or something. While I don’t think “it” is a relationship I think you can have a relationship with an animal. I mean one of the definitions is to have an emotional attachment to another party. You love dog, dog loves you = relationship. I value the bond I have with my cats more then I do of some of my friendships. Also, I absolutely believe they are part of my family, but I’m also one of those people who thinks that you can make your family however you want. Like if you have an abusive original family you can make a new family for yourself filled with friends/loved ones who aren’t actually related to you.

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    • BriarRose

      BriarRose October 3, 2013, 2:57 pm

      My dog has done just fine without my ex-husband around. She gets crazy excited when she does see him, which can be as frequent as once a month, or as infrequently as once a year (when he’s deployed). But after he leaves, she’s okay. Dogs are adaptable creatures and as long as he’s loved by at least one of you, I’m sure your pup would be just fine.

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  • avatar

    joanna October 3, 2013, 2:48 pm

    I think whoever takes more responsibility for the pet should keep it. If one person works all the time and one person only has a part time job and is home a lot to be with the pet, then it’s really a no-brainer.

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  • avatar

    vizslalvr October 3, 2013, 3:03 pm

    My ex and I got a dog together, and he promptly broke up with me not long after. My last words to him were, “Well, I’m keeping the f*cking dog.” (Pictured in my avatar.)

    Now, if my husband and I divorced, I would keep the dog and the rabbit, since they were mine before. We got the cat together, but he was the one who picked him out and the cat obviously likes him more, so he would keep the cat. I can’t imagine doing visitation, but I can see still wanting pictures because I love the cat too.

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  • Copa

    Copa October 3, 2013, 3:04 pm

    Uh, so my recent ex was actually in this position with his ex-wife. They’d gotten a dog together a couple years into their marriage, then split up. It was technically my ex’s dog, I guess. Within a few months of them separating, my ex’s mom passed away and the ex-wife took their dog for awhile. Then my ex got the dog back & they did the sole custody with ocassional visits kinda deal (like if he had to go away for a weekend, she’d happily take it). Then he realized that his ex-wife should keep the dog because she was/is in a live-in relationship with the person she’d been cheating on my ex with, and two dog parents were better able to care for the dog than one dog parent who works crazy hours. So he gave the dog back and would take care of the dogs on weekends when necessary. Then the ex wife, her SO, and the dog all moved across the country, and can we talk about how my ex recently admitted in one of our post-breakup talks that part of the reason our relationship got rocky was because of how lost he felt without his dog!? BUT this isn’t about me or how pitifully sad I am.

    My vote is for: whoever the pet belongs to keeps it. If you got it as a couple,doing what’s in the best interest of the pet trumps all. Which wasn’t an option.

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  • avatar

    snoopy128 October 3, 2013, 3:06 pm

    I chose to split custody 50/50, but in reality it depends on the situation.
    Clearly if it was one person’s dog (they bought it, pay for the majority of stuff), they get it (and if they are nice they let the other person dogsit when they are in a pinch or let them borrow the dog for the day if they’ve got something awesome planned the dog would enjoy).

    My bf and I have had some chats about this because he really really wants to get a dog (so do I, but my parents have one that is basically ‘mine’). While we don’t live in a place that lets us have pets right now, we have decided that if a dog were to be gotten, it would be his. He pays for it. He deals with the majority of stuff- vet visits, walks in the pouring rain when we are swamped with work, etc. With the emphasis on it being “his”, thus is we broke up, I would have no right to claim the dog. I would probably ask to see it lots if we were on good terms.

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  • kare

    kare October 3, 2013, 3:11 pm

    When my ex and I broke up, I got the fish since I cared more. Which I know isn’t the same as a dog, but he spent all the money on the aquarium setup and special filters, lighting systems, etc. He was super into aquariums and it was one of his hobbies, but he knew I cared more about the actual fish so he let me keep everything.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland October 3, 2013, 3:16 pm

      For some reason this struck me as the sweetest comment on the whole thread. 🙂

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  • Imsostartled

    Imsostartled October 3, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Thinking more about this, if I had a dog and kids and we shared custody of the kids and both wanted the dog, I’d just split it exactly like how we split the kids time. Like oh you have the kids this weekend (and the dog). Especially if the dog is super attached to the kids and vice versa, that way it wouldn’t be too inconvenient since you already have to deal with them.

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  • avatar

    Callifax October 3, 2013, 3:19 pm

    The boyfriend and I have exotic pets – a chinchilla, two geckos, and fish. While the geckos and fish would be oblivious to any sort of break-up, our chinchilla is very bonded to the both of us. That being said, I’m pretty sure I’d get all of the pets if we were to breakup. I bought them and have paid for most of their expenses and do most of their tank/habitat cleaning. If we were to break up, my boyfriend would definitely be sad about losing the chinchilla, but especially with an exotic/caged pet, it would be crazy and complicated to share custody.

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  • avatar

    KMJ October 3, 2013, 3:31 pm

    Whoever had it first or whoever we mutually agreed could better care for the pet (financially, job-schedule, etc)

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyland October 3, 2013, 2:33 pm

    So… This is why I decided that when I got cats, the cats were MINE. Benjamin was allowed input and went to the shelter with me, but I picked them out, I take care of them (with his help) and I cover all of their bills. I can’t imagine getting a pet “together” unless you are already married or on the “forever” train. Because this kind of stuff happens all the time. Can’t you just establish that it’s one person’s but you can both love it a whole bunch?

    Ugh. I could see sharing custody if I got a pet together with someone, but I can’t see myself ever getting a pet together with someone.

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. October 3, 2013, 4:06 pm

      Yeah, me too. My pets are mine. I don’t think I could share with anybody.

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  • avatar

    blink14 October 3, 2013, 3:36 pm

    I think a lot of this depends on the pet’s relationship with the owners. Many dog breeds will bond specifically with who they consider the pack leader – typically the person that spends the most time walking them, feeding them, etc.

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  • veritek33

    veritek33 October 3, 2013, 3:37 pm

    I have two dogs, and while I was with my ex, he adopted a dog. I helped pick her out, helped get her settled, and she actually spent more time at my house than his. He has her now and I haven’t seen her since February. Honestly, I thought about offering to buy her from him, but I knew he wouldn’t do it – just to spite me. I miss that little dog I raised from a puppy, but I’m not willing to see him again just to see her. I have my two dogs that were mine from the get go.

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  • avatar

    Icarriedawatermelon October 3, 2013, 3:45 pm

    I just went through this. I kept the cat I had prior to the relationship, he kept the cat he adopted once we were together but prior to cohabitation, and I kept the dog we adopted together, even though while we were together all three of our furbabies were both of ours and were our family.

    The cats were kind of obvious, though we sort of discussed keeping them together for their sake, but in the end they aren’t terribly attached to one another so we didn’t.

    The dog, I don’t think we ever had a conversation about him at all, it was sort of understood that he was coming with me. I was the one who found him, insisted we adopt him, paid for more, and took on majority of the responsibilities. And the one he preferred to sleep with. So in my mind I deserved the dog. ALthough, I think because he cheated and felt so guilty he didn’t even bother to put up a fight, which makes me a little sad because he and the dog really were buddies. It makes me sad when I think my pup won’t see his daddy, probably ever again.

    I moved two hours away, otherwise there probably would have been some sort of visitation rights, or shared custody in some fashion.

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    • muchachaenlaventana

      muchachaenlaventana October 3, 2013, 3:57 pm

      i remember you writing in and being on the fence about ending things. glad to see you made your choice and are moving on and doing well! having a dog really helps 🙂

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      • avatar

        icarriedawatermelon October 3, 2013, 6:26 pm

        Thank you 🙂 I decided it was a chance for a fresh start and am feeling pretty positive overall.

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  • avatar

    Em October 3, 2013, 2:45 pm

    My boyfriend and I talked about this, actually, since we have two cats (sisters, who get along okay but aren’t super attached).

    If he is the one that instigates the break up, I get both cats. If I break up with him, he gets Kiki (the fat, Buddha-like one that he suggested we adopt from my parents’ home) and I get Ginger (the evil-but-so-adorable little monster who I’ve been living with since I moved out on my own). We share responsibilities and love for both animals, and while my beau wasn’t a cat person before we got together, he’s now become deeply attached to both of them, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to take both (even though they are technically more mine than his). We both agreed that, unless something really terrible happens between us, we’d both like to be in each other’s lives if we choose to part ways anyway, so we’d get visitation rights on both sides.

    We keep talking about getting a little boy kitten, though, so I’m not sure how it will work after that.

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  • avatar

    jillybean October 3, 2013, 3:46 pm

    I picked “The pet goes with whomever it likes best/ sleeps closest to” because if you and your ex got the animal together, it’s probably the best for the pet to go with the person it’s closest with. Unless only one person can afford the animal or can take the animal to where they are moving to.

    I adopted Boo when I was with my ex – but I made it clear that she was my cat and would always be with me. Boo is still with me – he is not.

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  • avatar

    Grace October 3, 2013, 4:11 pm

    My ex and I have “co-parented” our dogs for years. We were together for 6 years and have been broken up for 8. Sure, it’s a little unusual, but it works for us. My wonderful partner is completely supportive of this arrangement (which involves me spending a fair amount of time with my ex), and does not think it is at all silly. Why get annoyed about it? Why not be glad you’re with someone who loves their animals, and who can be on friendly terms with an ex about said animals?

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    • Miss MJ

      Miss MJ October 3, 2013, 4:58 pm

      Agreed. Mr. MJ and his ex shared custody of their dog when we first met. They only changed the arrangement when he moved because staying with the ex was better for the dog. It didn’t bother me at all. Yeah, it was a bit weird at first, but if anything, it made me admire his dedication to animals and his maturity in dealing with a potentially awkward situation with an ex after a break-up without being vindictive.

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    • raptor

      gillociraptor October 3, 2013, 10:08 pm

      I agree, too. I have a friend who has two dogs with her first husband, and they co-parent the dogs. She also adopted a dog with her second husband, but he didn’t care to share custody, so she has the third dog full time.

      She has a really good relationship with the first ex, and the dogs are happy, and the ex’s new wife is fine with the situation, so it all works out.

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  • kare

    kare October 3, 2013, 5:00 pm

    I think whatever works for the pet is what you should do. Some animals don’t handle change all that well. For example, my cat would freak if he was trading homes every couple of days. He’s a rescue and very sensitive to his surroundings and who he is with. He voices his distaste with any routine changes – like me coming home late from work or early or anything he hasn’t approved. I feel like dogs generally would handle an arrangement better, but it depends. My family dog is terrified of traveling. A 5 minute trip to vet is traumatizing to her. She hates being around or in cars. So obviously if I had a pet that I felt couldn’t handle the arrangement, I’d let them go with the ex even if it made me sad because it’s the best for them. Assuming the ex is more bonded to them, financially capable of caring for them, etc.

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  • avatar

    Milla October 3, 2013, 5:24 pm

    I picked we would stay together for the pets— which is half a joke, half serious, but I can’t imagine having to choose who would keep our cats. We have two that we adopted as a couple, and we share equally in paying for their food, toys, vet care, massages, pedicures . . .;) Both the cats snuggle with us pretty equally, too. I also can’t imagine splitting up the two cats who are pretty damn bonded to each other. When one of them went in for dental surgery, the other sat by me and made little crying noises until he came home. Whichever way you slice it, somebody would end up with a broken heart. :/

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    • othy

      othy October 3, 2013, 9:11 pm

      You described my situation to a T. I can’t even imagine separating my little guys (or from Mr. Othy).

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    • Imsostartled

      Imsostartled October 4, 2013, 12:22 pm

      THIS! Our cats love us, but the love they have for us doesn’t compare to the love they have for each other. We could never break them up, even though one bonds more with J and one more with me. J and I have to stay together for the kids… *cough* the cats THE Cats! I never ever call them kids…. do di do di do – look over there!

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray October 3, 2013, 5:40 pm

    Hey who likes my new profile picture? It’s still Addie Pray (ie, Tatum O’Neal), but it’s different. Isn’t she so damn cute?

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 3, 2013, 5:46 pm

      um holy crap, when i click on my profile it says i have started 76 topics and created 3,135 replies. holy shit balls! that seems like a lot, no? Well, now I’ve created 3,136 replies.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 3, 2013, 9:20 pm

        i don’t know that’s a little low i think 😉 how many of those comments do you think mention cheese?

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    • othy

      othy October 3, 2013, 9:11 pm

      Change??? NOOOOO!

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    • avatar

      bethany October 4, 2013, 8:47 am

      I can’t handle it.

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  • avatar

    Liquid Luck October 3, 2013, 6:03 pm

    This would be really difficult for us. One one hand, I cannot afford to keep both dogs, but I work from home and have plenty of free time to take them on walks and to the park and the vet. But Jeff travels ALL THE TIME for work and wouldn’t be able to keep them since he’s rarely home for days at a time, but could financially afford to feed them and pay for their meds/checkups/any emergencies. Joint custody wouldn’t work since I would move back to my hometown if we broke up (which is about 800 miles from where we live now). They absolutely WOULD NOT go back to the shelter, though, because that’s just awful. The best we’ve come up with so far is that whoever keeps them also gets the contents of our joint savings account to put toward their care.

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  • avatar

    fairhairedchild October 3, 2013, 8:32 pm

    So this sorta happened to me with “co-pet parenting” after my last breakup. But I chose “Sole custody to one person, with occasional visitation granted to the other ” and “whoever had the pet first keeps it”.

    I had two bunnies with my ex boyfriend – we lived together for over 2 years and broke up shortly before our three year anniversary. We had the bunnies together for a little over a year and a half.

    Right after we broke up (back in december) we agreed to I would keep the bunnies, and he would have visitation rights every so often. When I would go out of town, if I didn’t feel like carting the bunnies with me, he would house sit and take care of the buns. He used to have a key to my place still but when I started to see someone new I asked for the key back (I didn’t want him to stop by if the new guy was around – there had been a close call once). One of my bunnies passed away this summer and after that the visitations pretty much stopped. He still bunny sits for the other one if I leave town and I need someone to watch her but otherwise we don’t even really do the bunny visitation rights either. Honestly if he had been able to take the bunnies right after we broke up I would have given them up, but he was living in a smaller apartment with a bunch of dudes. Now he has moved again and has the oppotunity to take her but he hasn’t brought it up (I think losing gandalf was harder for him because that one was his favorite). My co-workers are surprised that I ask him to house sit and bunny sit when I’m out of town still after months later but our break up wasn’t terrible we just no longer were on the same life paths. So we can be friendly, not really “friends”, but no issue if we see each other in public or over the “bunny co-parenting” needs.

    So I guess it depends on when the pets were aquired, how long the pets were mutually in the relationship, and if the partner who wants the pet the most has the ability to take said pet(s).

    I think co-pet parenting after years is a bit extreme. I think for the first few months to try to figure out how to divey up every thing and who “wants” the pet more (if it was aquired together during the relationship) then that’s pretty normal. If someone started out with the pet first prior to the relationship then there really doesn’t need to be pet-vistiation or co-pet-parenting either.

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyland October 3, 2013, 7:46 pm

    Where’s Astronomer? I know she’s head over heels for her kitty, I was hoping she would comment. 🙂

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  • avatar

    SasLinna October 4, 2013, 10:09 am

    It obviously hugely depends on the type of pet. I could potentially understand shared custody of a dog because they get attached to specific persons, and probably feel sad being separated from them. I mean, dog-human is sort of a personal friendship. If it were a cat, a bunny, or goldfish, I would find it weird. With cats, you can’t really do it anyway because they would hate being shuttled from one apartment to another. And with fish and the like there’s no personal relationship that you couldn’t replace just by getting new fish.
    I guess you have to be a real dog lover to completely understand it because I would still think “OK, the dog can stay with one person they’re attached to, and the human who doesn’t get to have the dog anymore should be able to get over that”. But I’m speaking as a non-dog crazy person.

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  • avatar

    trixy minx October 4, 2013, 10:15 am

    My ex and I had two dogs. I kept mine and he kept his. Why would I want to stay in contact?

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  • mylaray

    mylaray October 4, 2013, 3:03 pm

    No joke, this is why my parents are still married and living together. They have 2 cats that were kittens when I was younger and they are siblings and could never be split apart because of how close they are. But, one of them is very close to my mom and pretty much only likes her, and the other one picks me as his favorite. But since I haven’t lived there in years, he latches on to my dad and doesn’t like my mom. So the agreement is that eventually one of them is going to die, and it’s much more likely to be the obese one that loves my mom because he has a lot of health problems. If that happens, his brother will be depressed and the plan is to let me have him permanently since we both miss each other oh so much. But until then my parents will stay together. It’s pretty messed up, but at least they are thinking of the cats’ well beings.

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  • avatar

    Daisy October 5, 2013, 5:53 am

    HA my fiance just walked by me at the computer, saw the headline of this page, said, “You’re taking the dog” and kept walking!

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