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I felt torn between two horrible choices: either get a dog or be the cause of his unhappiness by saying no. I was scared that if I stood in his way, he would resent me and it would weaken our relationship. He is prone to depression and we have had rocky times in the past, including an 18-month separation. I didn’t want things to fall apart again. So I gave in.
Six months later I loathe owning a dog, just like I knew I would. I feed her, walk her every day while he’s at work (I work from home) and pay for half her upkeep, but I get zero joy from any of it. Even worse, I feel hurt and angry that my boyfriend pressured me to get her and prioritized his feelings over mine. It’s hard to move on from this when I’m stuck with the dog that we’re both responsible for.
I want to know how we should have dealt with the situation differently, so we can learn from our mistakes, and how we can possibly come to a compromise on the dog issue when, for the rest of our lives, he’s going to desperately want one and I’m going to desperately NOT. Please help! — Cat Lady, 29
What you should have done differently is not move into a rental that allows dogs! What you should have done differently is not get a damn dog if you hate dogs. If this was an issue that you two couldn’t come to an agreement on, then you should have broken up. You still can. Just let him take the dog. I mean, if two people can’t agree on whether or not to have children — like, if one person literally hates kids and the other is desperate to be a parent — they would/should break up. No one with any brain cells would advise a couple like this to go ahead and have a kid and hope for the best. And it’s the same with animals. You should not have to get a pet, knowing you don’t want one, simply to make your partner happy — ESPECIALLY if you’re going to be stuck shouldering most of the care-giving responsibilities.
So what can you do about it now? Well, you can tell your boyfriend you don’t want the dog, you don’t ever want a dog, and, if he’s not ok with that, maybe you need to break up. You can ask him to take on at least 90% of the care-giving responsibilities — or pay for a dog walker, etc. if he can’t be home to take care of the dog, and see how that goes for a while. Maybe you’ll feel better or maybe you’ll resent that your boyfriend’s money is going to dog care instead of to the household or to things you would find mutually enjoyable. You could decide to suck it up for fifteen years and hope that the damn dog grows on you eventually and that all the resentment you feel toward your boyfriend doesn’t spill into your relationship too much (but it will, especially if you live in a cold climate and will have to walk the dog every day, all winter long).
Whether or not you decide to keep the dog (and, obviously, if you decide to stay together and to re-home Fido, work diligently on finding it a loving, stable home where it will be wanted and loved and well cared-for!), I’d recommend you and your boyfriend give couples counseling a try. You’ve established a pattern of your boyfriend basically harassing you until you give in to his demands, and that cannot continue if you hope to have a long and happy relationship. Your needs and desires and wants have to be heard and validated, and you have to learn how to compromise in ways that feel mutually agreeable. I mean, that’s what compromise is. It is not one person getting exactly what he wants while the other person makes all the sacrifices, fuck that noise.
All that said, are you sure it’s the dog you loathe? Might there be someone else in your life who’s making you miserable that you want to get rid of?
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bittergaymark December 22, 2016, 8:15 am
Hah. WhatEVER! Good luck thinking the boyfriend will chose her over the dog. This letter is just so fricking whiney. Once you commit to an animal — you commit. PS — if you can’t handle caring for a fucking dog — good luck ever coping with kids. Seriously. Frankly, the letter sounds like a self fulfilling prophecy. She hates the dog because she wanted to, and because she wanted to be right. She sounds about as much fun as a barrel of dead and rotting monkeys.
Kate December 22, 2016, 8:54 am
Yup. I read an article recently about a woman (with a husband and kids) who adopted a dog, the dog has serious issues and is a nightmare, but she’s taken every possible step to deal with the dog’s behavior and is committed to keeping him, because that’s what you DO when you adopt an animal.
I really don’t get why you’re doing half the work and paying for half of a pet you didn’t want. If you agreed to that out of fear of losing your boyfriend, that isn’t healthy.
csp December 22, 2016, 9:56 am
That sounds like the book Marley and Me.
dinoceros December 22, 2016, 9:34 am
Yeah, at this point, even if the relationship were fine, I feel like they should breakup so that the dog at least isn’t given back.
Vathena December 22, 2016, 10:31 am
Yeah, exactly. Kids are not a walk in the park. You can’t kennel them when you go on vacation, or leave them home alone to go see a movie. They’re a shit-ton more responsibility than a dog! (To be fair, I think it is perfectly possible to love your kid and be a great parent while still not wanting to have a dog. I am living proof!)
RedRoverRedRover December 22, 2016, 11:41 am
Yeah, I absolutely love dogs but I don’t want one, yet I have two kids. Basically for me, the amount of work a dog takes isn’t worth it for me, but the work the kids take IS worth it. Plus the kids grow up. The dog needs the same level of care for 15 years.
for_cutie December 22, 2016, 11:50 am
Same here. Love my kids and will never get a dog. I don’t want to provide the energy and attention it deserves. 2 kids, no dogs. Our friends joke because they all have kids and dogs, we just say there is no tax deduction for all of the work and expense of a dog. Ha!
Also, did the LW not think through the whole working from home thing? Of course you would take care for it because you co-habitat with it 24/7. Send the dog to doggie day care while you work and make the boyfriend pay the bill.
Vathena December 22, 2016, 12:16 pm
Exactly, Red. We do have a cat, but they are much lower maintenance! I’m not interested in pouring that much energy into a dog, lovable creatures though they are. And I’m with for_cutie that the boyfriend should be taking on more of the responsibility/expense of the dog, since he is the one who wanted it. Knowing that the GF did NOT want the dog, he should be doing everything in his power to make it as hassle-free as possible for her. He should be the one making sure its needs are met. And that’s on HER for not negotiating and working out a mutually agreeable plan ahead of time.
Ele4phant December 22, 2016, 11:19 am
Meh – I think when you adopt an animal, you are committed to making sure it is will cared for the rest of its life. That probably means you, but in a situation like this, maybe that means deligently searching for a more appropriate home. Dropping the dog off at a shelter isn’t acceptable, but seeing it directly to a new home that is capable and willing to care for it is in some instances, okay.
Skyblossom December 22, 2016, 11:26 am
In this case the dog is probably better off in a different home because the LW is the one taking primary responsibility for the dog and she hates it. The dog needs to receive its care from someone who loves it and values it. If the boyfriend really loves this dog, in real life, not just as an idea, he will step in and take over all of the care and will do it happily because he loves the dog. If he isn’t willing to do that he doesn’t love the dog as much as he loves the idea of having a dog. In that case the dog deserves a much better home.
Ele4phant December 22, 2016, 11:33 am
Exactly, its probably not even in the dogs best interest to stay.
I’m going to imagine this dog is rather neglected (maybe not criminally so – but dogs want a lot of attention right? I assume she’s giving the bare minimum from her and bf isn’t really around to pick up the slack). Is this really the best home for the dog, or would it be kinder for everyone – particularly the dog – to find a new home?
Smalls December 22, 2016, 11:46 am
I was also thinking the dog should be re-homed (not brought to a shelter). I did sooo much research before I got my dog – they are high maintenance! They need exercise, attention, obedience skills, and to be regularly socialized with all sorts of people, dogs, and things, etc. I don’t know if either one of these two will ultimately do right by the dog.
zombeyonce December 22, 2016, 12:39 pm
While I agree w/BGM that that the boyfriend could very likely choose the dog over LW, I disagree with the rest.
You can be a person that can handle kids just fine, but not a dog. I’m an example of that; I dislike dogs and have had to help care for them before and just could not do it without a crazy amount of resentment, so much so that I dreaded when it was time for a walk and ended up moving out because it was just too much. But I have a kid and taking care of her is just fine.
It’s mostly the “She hates the dog because she wanted to, and because she wanted to be right” part I disagree with, though. If you don’t like dogs, even going into a situation where you’re trying to be accommodating doesn’t make it easier to live with them. They’re high maintenance and annoying and kind of gross. (Sorry to all dog lovers! We’ll have to agree to disagree.) It sounds like the LW gave this a chance and took on a lot of responsibility to try and make it work, not actively wanted it to fail.
Jaime April 13, 2018, 10:15 pm
Only psychopaths would be cruel to animals. I hope this guy ditches this bitch
Britta October 10, 2018, 12:36 pm
She’s not being cruel to the dog, she still takes care of it. Don’t be a brat.
PDX816 October 10, 2018, 1:24 pm
No where does it say she is being cruel to the dog. Calling her a bitch is uncalled for. I am a petsitter and wouldn’t choose to own my own dog. I have two cats and they are pretty self sufficient, they fit well into how busy I am. But owning dogs is a lot of work and LW, although not handling this situation correctly at all, IS NOT a bitch for not wanting to own a dog.
Maru August 2, 2018, 3:49 pm
Kids don’t roll in poop, pee in the house, eat feces and give you zero return. At least kids will grow up and pay taxes, give you joy and love, take care of you when your old, give you grandkids. Comparison of a dog to a child is mental. Dogs just take take take and stink up your house. They defile everything they lay on, they’re needy and can’t take them anywhere . Kids are wonderful and precious. One kid is worth fifty million dogs. Dogs also kill and maim children and human. Dogs should be ground up for pig feed instead of shelters. Bacon is way better than a worthless dog. Only good dogs are the ones used for the blind and epilepsy. These PTSD and comfort dogs are such bull. If you can’t leave your house without a dog you’ve enslaved then stay home !
Ange August 2, 2018, 8:05 pm
When your next unhinged manifesto is released make sure you fill us in on that as well. Also maybe the FBI.
Kate August 3, 2018, 11:09 am
First, kids absolutely roll in poop and pee in the house. My co-worker was telling me about his kid sitting in her own diarrhea and putting her hands in it.
Second, there is zero guarantee you child is going to be able to or want to take care of you when you’re old or “give you grandkids.”
Third, your kid could kill another kid. People kill and maim way more people than dogs kill or maim. Some poor schmoe gave birth to every person in jail for murder or assault.
anonymousse August 3, 2018, 11:25 am
Perfect response, Ange.
SpaceySteph August 3, 2018, 1:42 pm
Gee. I hope you never have occasion to be responsible for any pet OR child.
keyblade August 3, 2018, 3:44 pm
I looked up the name Maru and there is a celebrity cat with that name. Also: “The origin of the maru in the names of boys is said by some to have come from a Japanese word for excrement, maro, or from potty, o-maru, in an effort to ward off demons by giving the child an unpleasant name. ”
Its a weird name for strange comments on a very old thread.
PDX816 October 10, 2018, 1:26 pm
Is there ever a good response to this level of crazy?
JD October 10, 2018, 2:41 pm
wow, what a disgusting human you are. I hope someone grinds you up and feeds you to pigs.
Britta October 10, 2018, 12:33 pm
No, there are people who just hate dogs. Equating that with hating kids is ridiculous .x
ReEeally September 4, 2019, 1:09 pm
Dude some people don’t like dogs. And she wasn’t whining she wanted make her partner happy…however he should be takin full responsibility for the dog. And a dog isn’t a child. Not to mention if we are gonna compare it to kids many men leave the women with kids when they don’t want them or hear too. Don’t be a jerk. She specifically said she didn’t want a dog but does more work to take care of it. Which isn’t fair she also said she buys for it and she doesn’t want to BECAUSE SHE DIDNT WANT IT. But she’s TRYING. She isn’t whining she’s trying to have advice on compromising. Which to me I think if a person wants a dog they should be better owners. It’s THEIR dog he needs to be able to take care of it full time. If she’s at home he needs to fully pay for dog care. She shouldn’t have to do anything but she wants to. She just isn’t happy.
snav November 12, 2021, 9:20 pm
she didn’t say anything abt kids and obviously she knows and is taking the responsibility. it’s not her fault she feels that way. honestly i’m someone going thru something very similar and all i have to say to you is your comment doesn’t help and is complete bs anyways. just because you don’t feel that way doesn’t mean someone else does. whether it sounds whiney to you or not take your opinion elsewhere.
as to the writer, i understand what you’re going through and yet to say anything to my partner. it would definitely help to have a way out button. i’m sure talking to partner on maybe moving out conditions might be best. i know it suck to not have them around all the time, but around your home and no dog definitely sounds a lot homier to me.
Kailah December 23, 2021, 1:45 pm
Kids and dogs are different. Kids eventually grow up, dogs will always track dirt in your house, dig holes in your yard, chew up your property, require training, vet costs, food costs, treats, toys, heart/flea medicine, drool on things, get hair everywhere, require walks, have to be kenneled if you travel, or make it hard to find hotels if you bring them, bark, have to be put up if non dog friendly guests come, have to pick up there poop, be walked, the list goes on. Which is all fine if you think the snuggles and endless love are worth it, but she doesn’t so I say dump the dude, you lived without him for 18 months previously so find a guy that has a pet fish or a lower maintenance pet or allergies so no pets and live happily ever after.
Ale December 22, 2016, 8:40 am
Yeah, like BGM said, why get a dog if you hate dogs? So that later you can tell him that you do everything for him, including getting a dog with him because his happiness is more important than yours?
LW, this is a deal breaker. At least IMHO. When one person hates the kind of animals the other one loves and hopes to have for the rest of his life, it is a deal breaker. If this happened and you compromised, you shouldn’t be miserable because of that. If you hate dogs it shouldn’t be your responsibility to take care of her.
Elin December 22, 2016, 8:50 am
“I felt torn between two horrible choices: either get a dog or be the cause of his unhappiness by saying no. I was scared that if I stood in his way, he would resent me and it would weaken our relationship. He is prone to depression and we have had rocky times in the past, including an 18-month separation. I didn’t want things to fall apart again. So I gave in.”
Girl, he manipulated the shit out of you. He knew, 1000%, that you’d cave, and you did, and this is on you. YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SOMEONE ELSE’S FEELINGS AT THE EXPENSE OF YOUR OWN. He’s sad about not having a dog? Sucks for him. If he LEFT YOU over that? Wasn’t a great partnership to begin with.
That you gave in only shows your boyfriend that he can get anything he wants from you if he whines, uses his depression as a bargaining chip, or threatens the relationship over it. He will – for the entirety of your relationship – have the upper hand because he knows you feel this way now. He knows you’d rather give in than make him sad, or break up. He knows that and he used it to his advantage and you let him. And now, not only did he get what he wanted, but YOU are doing all the heavy lifting with the dog??! EFF THAT. Eff that so much.
Thing is, you have a dog now. So your options are to leave him over this, or to get on board with the dog. Getting on board though doesn’t mean it’s your responsibility to take on all the chores, it doesn’t matter that you work from home. Your boyfriend can walk the dog in the morning before work, and help you with the other chores in the evenings. But to get him to do this, you’re going to have to actually stand up for yourself.
Kate December 22, 2016, 8:57 am
My husband works from home and I still pay for the dog walker to come take the dog on hikes in the woods, because that’s good for everyone involved. I was doing that before we met, and I kept doing it. He loves the dog, but it would be really unfair of me to just assume he’s my new free dog walker!
zombeyonce December 22, 2016, 12:43 pm
I think you’re completely right, Erin. The boyfriend manipulated her and it’ll just keep happening. I think it’s probably time to end the relationship.
Ron December 22, 2016, 8:57 am
You and your bf broke up for 18 months. That should have been a strong hint that perhaps you weren’t right for each other. Now you are polar opposites on dogs and each of you assigns life-and-death significance to this issue. That is the definition of a deal-breaker.Also, the two of you can’t make decisions together. Your bf wouldn’t take no for an answer and you are unable to stand up for yourself because you fear he will leave you. You cast this as a positive: you are doing a good thing for your depressed bf, but you don’t do a good thing for someone you love and then resent it forever. You got the dog because you are desperate not to be alone and afraid that if this guy leaves you, that you can’t find another guy. That sense of total dependency is not a sound basis for a relationship.
And… your guy is a child. He whined and whined until you caved and now he doesn’t even care for his own dog and leaves the work to you.
Ale December 22, 2016, 9:32 am
Right as always.
bondgirl December 22, 2016, 9:02 am
Um, why are YOU stuck taking care of the dog HE wanted? Why isn’t he feeding and walking the dog at least half the time? Based on stories I’ve heard and read about, pet ownership actually helps those who are depressed; it gives them a sense of purpose and a reason to stick with even the simplest of routines, because there’s another life that depends on you and provides unconditional love in return.
And I agree, there’s def a dynamic imbalance here that needs to be addressed in couples counseling….also, have you guys ever previously talked about pet ownership? That probably should’ve come up prior to living together, especially with how both of you feel about dogs. Pet ownership preference can be a dealbreaker in some relationships…it definitely would’ve been in mine if we didn’t both love dogs and cats! Based on the letter content though, it’s hard to gauge whether this topic was ever addressed beyond “I hate dogs and he loves them.” Or maybe I missed something?
bittergaymark December 22, 2016, 9:13 am
Eh, how much you wanna bet “I work from home” is code for barely part time? Ladies and Gentlemen? Place your bets…
Velvet December 22, 2016, 11:21 am
Hmm not fair, and also irrelevant to the question. As a full-time telecommuter who worked 40-60 hours per week, working from home does not equal barely working. It’s a pretty irritating stigma for those of us who fight to have telecommuting allowed, and make sure we uphold out end of the bargain.
RedRoverRedRover December 22, 2016, 11:44 am
I work from home. I make 6 figures and have an extremely demanding job. If I had a dog at home to deal with on top of my job I’d be even more stressed. One big reason why I have cats instead.
AuntyMacasar December 22, 2016, 12:23 pm
Hey, I work from home for a big company, and 100 percent of its employees are telecommuters. I would be hard-pressed to have time to walk a damn dog during my workday – I’d be hiring a dog-walker.
Scarlet A December 23, 2016, 12:40 pm
This is such an irritating attitude because really, who gives a shit? If she works four hours a week or 40 hours it’s equally annoying to her to have to care for the dog all the time. She doesn’t want to be a stay at home dog mom.
LW, break up with your boyfriend, he sounds tiring and you sound like you’re so over trying to make him happy when he’s never happy. Am I close? MOA. Leave him and his dog.
bittergaymark December 22, 2016, 9:18 am
Honestly? Walking a dog during the work day takes a half hour, tops. Which is significantly shorter than the average commute. I dunno. This letter is just so fucking whiney — but I do love how the BF is apparently a terrible person because he wanted a dog. It’s hardly a radical or even vaguely unusual desire…. But fine, LW. Fine. I get it — you always need to be right to have your feelings validated and take precedent… You pretend to put everybody else’s first — but REALLY it’s all just a ruse so you can whine about things until you get your way… So fine. Dump your BF. Buy that cat and be resolved to be alone the rest of your life. Have at it. I’m sure — really — that you will be oh-so-much happier.
Sue Wilson December 22, 2016, 9:49 am
This is illogical even from you.
Kate December 22, 2016, 2:34 pm
I love these people who never comment except to jump in and scold someone. I’m sure you can make a more valuable contribution to the community than that!
Sue Wilson December 27, 2016, 12:45 pm
I’ve been in this community since it started and commented plenty, I changed my username, so….
saneinca December 27, 2016, 11:57 pm
Sue +1. No one is criticizing the BF for wanting or even getting the dog. It is his lack of consideration in sticking the LW with the dog and its care. He is so self absorbed that he could not tell that the LW does not like dogs ? And he needs to take care of his dog ?
MissDre December 22, 2016, 9:54 am
I don’t think it’s fair to paint her as evil because she doesn’t want the dog. I wouldn’t want the dog either. I’m a cat lady through and through, I don’t even like dealing with my mom’s dog (if the dog wants to cuddle, great – if she needs to be walked and it’s cold out, hell no).
And as far as I can tell, she hasn’t said anything about getting rid of it or mistreating it or dumping it on someone else. Obviously it’s her relationship that sucks, and she’s asking for help as to how to handle the situation better. But seriously, she’s not an evil witch because she doesn’t want a dog.
dinoceros December 22, 2016, 12:44 pm
I don’t think she’s terrible for not wanting it, but considering the amount she hates the dog, I’d be surprised if she was willing to keep it for its entire lifetime. If she plans to keep it, then her question seems like it becomes “How do we handle it possibly years from now when the dog is gone and he wants another?” And that seemed unlikely to me that it was her question.
RedRoverRedRover December 22, 2016, 11:47 am
One of the big reasons I work from home is because I can’t afford the time a commute would take. Not to mention, it doesn’t matter if it equals a commute or not. That half hour comes out of her personal time that she could be doing something she actually enjoys. Why should she spend it on a dog she didn’t want on the first place? The bf should be taking 95% of the cost, both in money and in time. She can spend some time petting him and that should be enough.
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 12:40 pm
I don’t care if it only takes five minutes to walk a dog. If you don’t enjoy having a dog, you’re going to resent any amount of time it takes from you. And that’s totally fair.
She never should have caved to the boyfriend and gotten the dog in the first place, and honestly, if he LOVES dogs just as much as she HATES them, they probably are incompatible.
But, she’s not a bad person or whiny for not enjoying dogs and not wanting to take care of one. Particularly if she’s having to do the lion’s share in taking care of it.
At this point, I think she needs to tell him it’s not her dog and she’s not taking care of it, period. He needs to take on the entirety of the care himself (or hire someone to do stuff like walk it while he’s at work and unavailable).
If he’s unwilling or unable to do that, then they need to rehome the dog. If he’s unwilling to rehome it, then yeah, breakup.
Ron December 22, 2016, 1:02 pm
She definitely has to stop paying 50% of the cost for the dog’s upkeep. He wanted it, she didn’t, it is his 100% cost. He needs to walk and feed the dog in the morning and when he returns from work and full time on weekends. If he isn’t doing this, he is being a jerk. Since she did finally give a reluctant yes to the dog, she needs to walk him once during bf’s work day and do any necessary mid-day feeding. Unfortunately, as the flexible, work-at-home person, she also bought responsibility for any mid-week emergency vet trips.
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 1:10 pm
I dunno, I still don’t think she has to do anything to care for the dog. Hire a mid-day dog walker or put it in doggie daycare.
Of course, if there’s an emergency and she’s the one home, take the dog to the vet. But, I would hope anyone decent person would care for an animal in distress, regardless if you like, dislike, or even know who the animal belongs to.
But the day to day stuff, nah, I don’t think that’s her job.
TheLadyE December 22, 2016, 1:18 pm
I agree with you that she shouldn’t have to help care for it IF she were upfront about that in the first place. If she had said “I know you want a dog, I really don’t want one, so if we get one all of the care of the dog will be up to you” and then he was foisting responsibility on her, that would be one thing. It doesn’t sound like that happened, though. The sticking point for me is that she was disingenuous with the BF about the dog from the get-go. It sounds like they talked about it, he wanted one forever, she finally relented and agreed to get a dog, and now she’s splitting 50% of the work and hates it and has buyer’s remorse.
I know dogs aren’t children, but the same concept applies here: if one partner wears the other down to have a child and then the partner who agreed to it decides nope, not my child, I’m not caring for him/her because I never wanted him/her, that’d be pretty shitty. When she agreed to get a dog (without setting expectations up front that she wouldn’t help with it) she agreed to help care for the dog.
If the BF is foisting 100% of the work on her for the dog, that’s also shitty and immature, but the letter doesn’t indicate that. She is the one who’s home during the day so she walks the dog. If it’s interrupting her work, then they could pay for a dog walker, but nowhere does she say she has to do all the work.
Bottom line is these two people should never have gotten a dog together and shouldn’t be together in the first place because they are fundamentally incompatible.
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 1:25 pm
Look, I’m sorry, but pets are not children and we cannot apply the same standards to their care. And, I know I come across as a real dog hater, but I apply the same standards to animals I love (cats).
Parents can never renegotiate the terms of their care for their children, that is unconscionable.
But, I think the obligation as a pet owner is to make sure an animal you take on is cared for as best as possible. If *you* are unable to provide it with this care, your responsibility is to make sure *someone else* can. You can’t do that for a child, you can for an animal.
I think she is well within her rights to go to him and say “Look, I agreed despite my better judgement to bring this animal into our home. It’s been six months, and it’s just not working. I am resenting this animal, and I am starting to resent you. I’m not saying we have to get rid of it, but I cannot provide it with the care it needs and deserves. Therefore, you either take over care entirely and come home during the day to feed it/take it for walks; you put it in doggie daycare/hire someone to come in during the day; or we work together to find it an appropriate home. I can no longer be a caretaker for this animal.”
zombeyonce December 22, 2016, 12:50 pm
She shouldn’t have to spend any of her time taking care of her boyfriend’s dog, no matter how short that time may be. Some people like dogs, some people don’t care for them, some people never ever ever want to own a dog or have one in their house. Those second and third category people should not have to deal with dogs, especially a dog someone else wanted. You can say the same for any pet. I know that if I had to spend 30 whole minutes talking a dog on a walk I’d be angry.
Just because I (and the LW, and plenty of other people) dislike dogs doesn’t mean that we always need to be right or want to whine about things. Really, Mark, it sounds more like *you* just like to whine about people when they have feelings different from yours, no matter how reasonable.
RedRoverRedRover December 22, 2016, 12:56 pm
Hahahaha, yes to your last sentence! Funny how someone who always complains about people being judgemental or whiny can be so judgemental and whiny. 🙂
saneinca December 22, 2016, 1:11 pm
Agreed 100%. If the BF wants a dog, he should take care of it and pay for it fully.
leave the LW alone and may be she would not resent the dog so much.
Moe December 22, 2016, 9:19 am
To me it sounds like what is missing here is the sense of compromise that comes in any healthy relationship. I am not a fan of dogs. if I had a partner who LOVED dogs, I might say, OK. We can get a dog IF we get the kind who doesn’t bark 24/7 and if YOU take care of the dog, including feeding, walking, etc. Then I would hold him accountable.
TheRascal December 22, 2016, 9:22 am
If you didn’t want a dog, you shouldn’t have agreed to one. This is entirely on you, LW. You are not responsible for your BF’s happiness. It seems like there are larger issues that the two of you need to work on, anyway.
dinoceros December 22, 2016, 9:25 am
I don’t blame the boyfriend here. My friends had the same situation, except with a cat. Well, not the same situation because they are a happy couple and both of them have healthy boundaries and communication, but one wanted a cat and the other didn’t like cats. They got a cat. Now she LOVES cats and sends me videos every day. Sure, you shouldn’t harass your partner into doing something they don’t want to do, but I doubt he knew she’d still hate the dog.
Even if he did, if you don’t want a dog, don’t get a dog. If your relationship is so weak that you feel not getting a dog will ruin it, then your relationship will not survive the larger hurdles that come with living life together. It sounds like neither of you knows how to compromise, one of you doesn’t know how to back off, and one of you has poor decision-making. Based on that and the tone of your letter, I’d say you two might not be the best together.
Sue Wilson December 22, 2016, 9:48 am
but I doubt he knew she’d still hate the dog.
What? Resentment is the most likely outcome of harassing someone to do something. To not understand that is delusional.
And I do blame the boyfriend. If I wanted a dog, and I loved animals, the last fucking thing I’d want is to leave a vulnerable animal with someone who doesn’t really give a damn about it. That’s bad decision-making, and shows some callousness towards the animal from the boyfriend.
RedRoverRedRover December 22, 2016, 11:50 am
Depends how the bf went about it. I convinced my husband to get a cat, but I didn’t nag and nag and nag until he gave in. I told him I wanted one, I told him to talk to friends who had cats, research it, and see what he thought. I said it was entirely up to him, and I didn’t want it unless he was totally on board. And I certainly didn’t say I could never be happy without one.
I agree LW screwed up by saying yes, or at least by not stipulating that the bf is fully responsible for it. But he was being extremely unfair and manipulative about it.
Ange December 22, 2016, 5:00 pm
That’s how I convinced my husband to get a second cat. He was iffy at first but now loves our boy cat so much. I wouldn’t want an animal in a house where it wasn’t loved completely by all the occupants, boyfriend seems like he put his desires above all else including the dog.
dinoceros December 22, 2016, 12:38 pm
I think delusional is a bit much, but not everyone realizes that someone giving in will result in resentment. Plenty of people don’t realize the negative results their actions will have, which is why people make all sorts of bad decisions.
I’m not saying he did a good thing or is a good boyfriend, but I don’t really have sympathy for a person who knows they hates dogs and gets one anyway. Mainly I’m reacting to the fact that she’s putting most of the blame on him.
Ron December 22, 2016, 12:58 pm
I think most people do realize this, perhaps not the intensity of the resentment that they cause, but they know that they steamrolled their SO into something that person really, REALLY didn’t want. I think they know that person did not give in happily, because they had finally been convinced.
I think some people are selfish and basically want what they want, regardless of the resentment it causes. I was going to say ‘and the relationship harm it causes’, but I don’t think they perceive that as harm. Being able to dominate their SO and get what they want gives them exactly the relationship they want.
LW senses this. Her SO doesn’t care as much about her as she doe about him, or perhaps he just isn’t as frightened and desperate. In any case, he will bend her will to what he wants or move on and try again with the next woman. That is what LW senses — he will have things his way or he will find a more malleable woman. It is not a matter of finding a more compatible person, because any good relationship will require a compromise he doesn’t want.
dinoceros December 22, 2016, 5:35 pm
Yeah, but I guess that’s why I gave the anecdote of my friends. Her husband didn’t think she’d resent him for getting the cats, and he was correct. His thought was that she just didn’t like the idea of cats, but would actually enjoy the cat because he knew how much he enjoyed them growing up. And that’s how it turned out. But obviously yes, if someone acts like they hate the idea, then one should be concerned if that person suddenly gives in.
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 5:45 pm
As a thought experiment, what would your friend have done if his wife agreed to give it a try, but then said a couple months in “Sorry, but I was right. Still don’t like cats?”
Would he have stepped up and taken care of the cats by himself, found a new home in which everybody loves cats already, or would he have told her too bad, you said yes so you’re committed now?
It was kind of a risky move on your friend’s part to assume his wife would come around. I mean, he knows her well, so maybe not, but personally, for the sake of the cat (or dog or whatever animal), I don’t think I would’ve taken that risk.
I wouldn’t want to put my husband, myself, and most importantly the animal, in that position if I turned about to be wrong.
Although, for me, my husband loves cats and loved my cat when he met him on our second date, so this was never a situation I’ve actually ever been in…
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 12:50 pm
I do blame him however in dumping the care of the dog on her. If he knew she had reservations about the dog, he should’ve agreed to take on the majority of the care on her.
Sure, her schedule is better suited to taking care of the dog, but he was the one that argued her into getting it, he shouldn’t taken the lead on caring for the dog and showing her how awesome it would be.
And if he knew he wouldn’t have the time and availability to take care of the dog himself, he shouldn’t have argued to get one.
It’s pretty crappy to argue someone *you know* doesn’t want a dog into getting one, and then abandoning them to be the primary caretaker of it, yes?
dinoceros December 22, 2016, 5:33 pm
Yeah, of course. Maybe I didn’t read closely enough because I had trouble understanding if the LW is doing more work because she is the only one at home during the day (and chooses to do this stuff then) or if he just does nothing. i’m just focusing on the LW because she’s the one who wrote in. If it were the boyfriend, I would have said what I thought he did wrong. I guess I should have not phrased it as “not blaming him” because it seems to have come across as me saying he’s perfect. Obviously he isn’t.
csp December 22, 2016, 10:04 am
LW – He didn’t prioritize his feelings over yours, you prioritized his feelings over yours. Two things I believe to be true in relationships:
1.) When it comes to household duties, women do more than men. Things have gotten way better about division of labor but still it is uneven. When my husband and I decided to have kids, I wanted to wait awhile because I knew it was going to be mostly my responsibility. And my husband is great and super involved. But I waited to start trying (then it took way longer than expected) because I needed to be sure I was ready for the extra work load. When taking on a new responsibility, I always approach it thinking I am going to do 100% of the work. Then when I don’t, it is easier than expected.
2.) Every relationship has a cost of entry. You love your boyfriend and he loves the dog. Do you love him enough to tolerate the dog. You can replace the dog with anything (depression, terrible taste in tv shows, any annoying habit). Look at him and see if he is worth it.
Smalls December 22, 2016, 10:13 am
Here’s a question – do you have to get JOY from it? Does it have to be a joyous, wonderful experience to own a dog for you? Or can it just be this creature that occupies your space, and maybe gets you outside for exercise once a day? Is the dog a pain in the ass? Does she make life difficult in ways other than basic things like feeding, exercise or socialization? I don’t know if you have to be super wildly in love with the dog to co-exist with one.
For the record, I do think that your boyfriend should step up responsibility-wise, given that the dog is his passion, not yours. And something tells me that you guys should re-evaluate your relationship as well (an 18 month breakup and feeling THIS resentful for something that YOU consented to are not good signs). And in the future, don’t give in when you really aren’t on board – even if it means the consequences are scary.
Northern Star December 22, 2016, 10:17 am
I sincerely doubt your boyfriend’s love for dogs was a sudden surprise to you. You put him off and dismissed his dream as long as you could, then begrudgingly gave in, only to resent the hell out of him. Break up with the guy. Your hatred of the dog and zero-percent enjoyment of the bond between your boyfriend and the dog means you shouldn’t have children with your boyfriend, certainly. Lord only knows why you think THAT would be a good idea.
Skyblossom December 22, 2016, 10:46 am
I know lots of people who don’t love dogs but love children. The two aren’t at all the same thing. There are also people who appear to love their dogs more than their children which is a terrible thing for children.
If her boyfriend loves the dog so much he should be caring for the dog and should actually enjoy caring for the dog. He shouldn’t be dumping the physical care on her. He’d probably do the same with a child.
Northern Star December 22, 2016, 10:56 am
I’m sure there are people who don’t love dogs but love children. My point is that this LW absolutely hates something her boyfriend treasures, and his pleasure at having a dog means exactly zero to her. He’s not the right man for her. He shouldn’t be the father to her children. She should leave him. And birth control. Stat.
Northern Star December 22, 2016, 10:59 am
Also, this woman apparently told her boyfriend “someday” she might want a dog as a stalling tactic instead of being honest. That’s a jerk move. If you don’t want something, EVER, because you absolutely hate it—whether it’s kids or a dog or moving into the suburbs or whatever—it’s selfish to be mealy-mouthed and basically lie to your partner about it in hopes of keeping him.
Skyblossom December 22, 2016, 11:22 am
I agree that it was dishonest to pretend to someday want a dog when she knew that she never would. I think they both ignored the fact that they have this huge incompatibility where he will always want a dog and she never will. They are both ignoring the incompatibility.
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 12:34 pm
“Your hatred of the dog and zero-percent enjoyment of the bond between your boyfriend and the dog means you shouldn’t have children with your boyfriend, certainly.”
Come on now, children and dogs are not the same. They both require a lot of care so you for either you have to be all in, but you can love children (or maybe just love your own children) and therefore be willing to put in the time and effort required, while not enjoying dogs and therefore begrudge the time and effort they require.
Lots of people aren’t dog people, but are successful parents. Plenty of cat people have families and are great parents to their children.
There are plenty of people who don’t really like any pets, but are wonderful parents.
I think it would be more worrisome if she loved dogs but hated putting in the work. She upfront knew she wasn’t interested in dogs, so its no surprise she resented the amount of work she has to put in.
Northern Star December 22, 2016, 12:48 pm
Who said children and dogs were the same? I said this LW shouldn’t have children with her boyfriend—and I stand by that. They are not compatible, they can’t compromise in a healthy way, and they won’t last.
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 12:53 pm
Fair enough. I read your post as saying she shouldn’t have children because she resents how much care a dog takes (and that children will take even more care).
That was a misreading on my part.
dinoceros December 22, 2016, 12:39 pm
I didn’t read this as saying that if you don’t like dogs, you shouldn’t have kids. I read it as saying that they are so incompatible and have so many issues that they shouldn’t have kids.
Skyblossom December 22, 2016, 10:43 am
When you add anything to your household, but especially a pet, you both need to be on board. In this case since he was the one who very much wanted a dog and you didn’t you shouldn’t have agreed. If he preferred a dog over your relationship, which was your fear, then you already know you have a bad relationship that can’t last. When you find yourself in that situation you break up because you understand your relationship is basically over or failed or that you are incompatible. You are only prolonging the unhappiness by continuing with a dog and now you are more unhappy.
If he very much wanted a dog and you were neutral you could agree to him owning a dog. That would mean the dog was totally his responsibility and totally his financial responsibility. Why would you agree to split the cost half and half and for you to do most of the care. This dog needs to be his dog, totally and completely his dog. He needs to make time in his schedule to care for it and love it and he needs to come up with all of the money required because he’s the only one who wanted this dog. If he isn’t willing to do that he has no business owning a dog. Ron is right. At the present time he’s acting like a child with a dog. He has a dog that you take care of. both physical care and financially.
Sit down with your boyfriend and tell him that he was the one who wanted a dog and he should be the one who owns the dog and he should be the one who cares for the dog and pays for the dog and if he can’t or won’t do that then he shouldn’t have a dog. Tell him you are done caring for his dog. If that causes the two of you to break up go ahead and break up.
I understand not wanting to walk the dog every day. It is exercise but I like to walk without having to clean up after a dog. I don’t want to carry dog poop with me on a walk. I certainly don’t want to be picking it up fresh and warm off the ground. The very thought makes me gag. I know that dog ownership isn’t for me. It sounds like it isn’t for you so don’t be a dog owner. If your boyfriend refuses to care for his dog then you need to find a home for the dog because the dog needs to be in a loving home where it isn’t resented by the primary caretaker. Shift your half of the dog to your boyfriend so it is all his or find it a new home.
TheLadyE December 22, 2016, 11:16 am
I love dogs too. If I didn’t have one now (I do), I would definitely want one in the future. A man who hates dogs would be fundamentally incompatible with me, and I would find that out pretty quickly into dating and would not pursue a relationship further. In fact, it would be a giant turn-off for me and I probably wouldn’t really like or understand that person very much even at a friend level.
Leaving out the rest of the dysfunction in this relationship, that is reason enough to break up. You are incompatible with each other on a basic value set.
I just hope the innocent dog doesn’t have to somehow suffer as a result of both of your piss-poor decision making.
findingtheearth December 22, 2016, 11:43 am
Yep. Dogs will always be a pet in my home and I would not date someone who did not enjoy them.
bondgirl December 22, 2016, 12:59 pm
Same. My boyfriend told me right off the bat that having a dog was a non-negotiable for him and refused to move forward with someone who wasn’t on board with this. We both love dogs though and he loves my two cats, so this was a deal-maker!
Gwyneth6 December 22, 2016, 3:51 pm
Really! This is interesting to me. Do you mean you don’t have friends who aren’t dog people ?
RedRoverRedRover December 22, 2016, 4:21 pm
Yeah, I wasn’t sure if I understood that either. Like you won’t have people in your life that aren’t dog people? I see you called it a “basic value”, too. Do you put it on the same level as, say, moral/ethical/religious beliefs? I’m not being judgey or snarky btw, just genuinely curious.
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 4:34 pm
Oh! That is interesting, I missed that.
I am very much not a dog person, and very much a cat person, but I feel like intellectually I understand that dogs give you certain things and cats give you others, so I understand depending on your personality type, you may favor one animal over the other.
Like, I don’t know what it “feels” like to love dogs, but intellectually II can understand what the appeal of dogs is for some people.
And I definitely have friends, good friends, that love dogs. I wouldn’t want to date one of them because I’d never want to live with a dog, but for me at least, I don’t see dog people as utterly unreletable.
TheLadyE December 22, 2016, 5:02 pm
To be honest, I find it extremely difficult to connect with people who don’t love animals, and thinking about it, no, I don’t really have any friends who don’t at least love animals, even if they’re not pet owners themselves. Like for example, someone I met at work recently told me he would never get a dog because “there wasn’t enough return on investment” with a dog, and looked at a dog as something that should provide a function/have a job in order to be “worth it,” like working on a farm herding sheep or being a guard dog for someone’s property. I’m cordial to him at work, of course, but someone with that view would never, ever work romantically with me and it would be difficult for me to be friends with him. It’s just a different way of looking at the world. I love my dog more than I can say and she’s provided me more emotional support than literally anyone else in my life. Her function is being my companion. That’s her only “job” and she’s a million times over worth the investment.
Most of my friends are pet owners or wannabe pet owners – they have dogs, cats, or both, and all take extremely good care of their pets. If they don’t have pets, it’s because their life circumstances mean they wouldn’t be able to care for one in the way a pet should be cared for right now (busy a lot, at work all the time, travel a lot, etc) but they want them in the future.
I guess I should add – when I say friend, I mean someone with whom I’m very close, see often, and really engage in his/her life – not an acquaintance or someone I just casually know.
Also, I speak from experience in that I dated a guy for (a stupidly long 8) months who didn’t like my dog and it was a huge mistake. I wish I could get those 8 months back. I even wrote in to Wendy about it a couple years ago. So no, I would never consider someone who doesn’t like dogs, and if someone just “isn’t a pet or animal person” it does make it more difficult for me to connect with him or her, yes.
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 5:26 pm
Ah, so you’re more weirded out by people that don’t like animals at all, then by people who aren’t into dogs. I get that. I mean, there are plenty of people who don’t have pets of any sort because they don’t want/can’t do the work, but they still like, at least in theory, some types of animals. But I’ve met a handful of people that just don’t like animals, and I think that’s weird.
Like, not even a goldfish? You don’t like ANY animals?
RedRoverRedRover December 22, 2016, 5:56 pm
Ok, I see, I thought it was just dogs which seemed like a really specific requirement for a friend (makes sense for a partner).
I’m an animal lover too, and it certainly helps to create a connection. Yeah, it would be weird for me to be friends with someone who was like, eh, I don’t really like animals.
TheLadyE December 22, 2016, 5:39 pm
@ele4phant Yes, exactly. Now that I think about it, that’s true. About half my friends have dogs and half have cats, and all take really good care of them. It’s people who don’t like animals at all that I’m just like…don’t you have a heart?
My poodle is under 10lbs and doesn’t shed…a lot of my friends who have bigger dogs call her a cat, haha.
Velvet December 22, 2016, 11:40 am
Couples counseling and try to work it out, or leave. Think about Wendy’s comments – if you stay and do nothing, how will you feel about caring for an animal you loathe in 1, 5, 10 years?
While I don’t equate pet ownership with children, dogs are MUCH more like children than cats are in their needs. It’s more than a half hour daily walk. They really thrive on serious attention and love. If your BF can’t provide that, it’s on him – as the primary driver here – to figure out how to meet those needs. But you will need to participate to some degree. You are all living together now.
One way or the other, this seems like a turning point in your relationship, a “don’t move further without solving” situation. Whatever happens though just ensure the dog ends up in a good place – it’s not the dog’s fault.
Julie December 22, 2016, 5:44 pm
“But you will need to participate to some degree. You are all living together now.”
This. Thank you for saying it.
I am going to speak for the dog now…
If the dog does not have consistent boundaries to follow because the LW gives it one set of rules to follow and BF gives it another, the dog will very likely develop behavior issues. Even if BF takes nearly all the responsibilities for the dog, the LW’s presence in its daily life means she needs to support giving the dog one coherent set of rules so it can be a positive part of the household. This IS a responsibility.
The dog is not an appliance or a piece of furniture or a car. It is a living, breathing creature that has instincts to follow, and it will follow them to everyone’s detriment if the humans in its life don’t train it and then support that training. If it goes bad, nobody wins and someone is going to lose. If the dog loses, it might pay the ultimate price. If the LW loses, she can MOA to a more compatible relationship.
If you can’t get on board, LW, then you will likely make a larger problem. Can you say “security deposit?”
findingtheearth December 22, 2016, 11:46 am
I agree with the couples counseling. I also think it was shitty to give in and get a pet you weren’t 100% on board with. Perhaps you should have dog sat for a friend whilst they were on vacation to see if you could tolerate a pet.
I also think it’s shitty your bf doesn’t do more with an animal he vehemently wanted.
I own two dogs and raise a child. I will always have dogs – they are my favorite pet. Dogs are a lot of work – sometimes I think they are more work than my toddler. It’s not something to enter into blindly, hoping you will one day like it.
MiMi December 22, 2016, 11:49 am
Stevie December 22, 2016, 11:52 am
I was in the same exact boat. Sorry dog lovers but I’m just not a dog person. I think they are gross. They slobber and shed everywhere. But my husband wanted one so bad and I told him from the get that I hate dogs so don’t expect any help from me with it. Well he got an American bulldog (not even cute by the way) as a puppy and it was hell from the start. Ruined my carpet, ruined my $300 patio set and pushed me to limit. Almost 3 yrs later we still have the dog and it pretty much leaves me alone and I leave it alone. Thank God we have a fenced back yard so when it has to go outside it’s no work at all. But let me tell you that the dog caused many fights and arguments w my husband. Too many to count. It’s not worth the stress. If you don’t like the dog it needs to go and if he doesn’t like that then he has to go. If he gets depressed and down you can’t help that. That is his issues and you can only do so much. Please take my advice and save yourself the headaches. And honestly you can’t compare having children to animals. I have 4 kids and I love them to death. Animals can be cute and can be good companions when you are alone but if it’s to choose between my kids and an animal they come first. I hate when people compare. A human being is way different than a dog. That’s just how I feel on that issue. But girl take my word for it. It’s not worth it. And no the dog won’t grow on you. After 3 yrs this one still grosses me out. Just last night it was sitting there with literally a foot long line of slobber and I wanted to puke looking at it. Good luck.
Vathena December 22, 2016, 12:24 pm
I just wanted to say that this made me laugh. “literally a foot long line of slobber and I wanted to puke looking at it.” LOL! Also, four kids and a slobbery dog – you are brave!
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 12:57 pm
Seriously, dogs are kinda gross.
I love cats, and I understand that there are people who don’t care for them and are grossed out by the thought of a poop box just hanging out in your house, but you cannot convince me that having to pick up (with only a tiny plastic layer around your hand) – hot dog crap is somehow less gross.
It’s way more gross.
And leaving dog poop to fester in your yard is also gross. Yuck.
ktfran December 22, 2016, 1:25 pm
I’m not into either. Cats or dogs. I tolerate dogs when they’re sitting there, hanging out. I’ll even pet a calm dog. Cats scare the fuck out of me. I’ve never really been a pet person. Obviously.
But I love kids.
However, the fiance and I will have neither… pets or children. I do make a great aunt! That’s enough for us.
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 1:28 pm
I mean, litter boxes are gross. I will concede that. Scooping poop is gross. Having it set around for a few hours is gross. We keep ours in the garage for a reason.
But, I love those little fuzzy guys, so I will take it as part of the package. Dogs though have never been my jam, so there’s no trade-off for me. Dogs are just all gross, no upside for me.
Lucy December 22, 2016, 3:47 pm
Ugh bullies are the worst. Gross, so many health issues, just a nightmare.
TheLadyE December 22, 2016, 5:15 pm
Not all dogs slobber and shed. My poodle is less than 10lbs, doesn’t shed at all, and has never slobbered in her life. She’s also as intelligent as a 4-5 year old child.
Nevertheless, dogs are a lot of work no matter the breed. I happen to think she is worth it. 🙂
golfer.gal December 22, 2016, 11:55 am
What should you have done differently? Not lied to your boyfriend and strung him along claiming you would eventually, down the line want a dog and fed him bullshit excuses like “it’s not the right time”, when in reality you hated dogs all along and never, ever wanted one or had any intentions of getting one. If the consequence of your honesty would have been a break up, then good lord it was time to break up. Now you’re in the position of breaking up anyway because you feel manipulated by a selfish jerk and your boyfriend is with a woman who won’t be honest with him about important stuff. Your boyfriend doesn’t sound like a peach either, using his depression to pressure you and dumping all the dog responsibilities on you. MOA and in the future be up front and honest with your partners, even if it means you’ve hit on a dealbreaker and it’s time to break up.
Fyodor December 22, 2016, 3:33 pm
I think that we can all agree that people who hate dogs are objectively bad people and probably criminals. She should break up with her boyfriend so that the dog is not in the hands of a new.
ele4phant December 22, 2016, 3:49 pm
Dogs are the worst.
Fyodor December 22, 2016, 3:34 pm
That should be” hands of a criminal. “
Lucy December 22, 2016, 3:46 pm
I don’t dislike dogs, but I wouldn’t own one because they’re too much work. But now that you have this dog, STOP DOING ALL THE WORK. Your boyfriend wanted this dog. He harassed and badgered and manipulated and guilt tripped you into agreeing to the dog, so he should be doing (or at least arranging/paying for) ALL the work. That he doesn’t see that all on his own makes me think he is more of a spoiled child than anything else. Do you want to spend your life with a spoiled, manipulative brat who can’t handle not getting everything he wants?
RedRoverRedRover December 22, 2016, 3:49 pm
Yeeeeep. Exactly. How does he not see that he should be taking on most, if not all, of the work?
Classic December 22, 2016, 9:37 pm
I can’t help with your boyfriend– I’m not good at that. But I am great with dogs, so I hope I can help you understand your good dog. Look in this pup’s sweet eyes and happy face– think about how she still trusts you enough to go out walking with you, when you have said here that you loathe her. Dogs have been bred to be deeply loyal and loving to humans, and she can be a good friend and ally for you. My suggestions: give this good dog real meat for treats– just roasted meat without salt or seasoning; talk to her in a kind voice all of the time– it doesn’t matter what you say, you can just talk about your life or your boyfriend or whatever; Pet your dog and take good care of her– she doesn’t need much. This dog can be a loyal and reliable companion for you.
Firestar December 23, 2016, 7:39 am
Even a 7 year old promises to feed it and walk it when convincing their parent to get a dog. What did your boyfriend say about care? And why couldn’t you say I’m not a dog person? If you want it so bad it’s all on you? The most you are ever going to get out of me borderline tolerance? You weren’t honest. And now the poor dog is suffering because it knows you don’t like it. Tell your boyfriend you made a mistake. You can’t care for the dog. Either he takes it over exclusively or you find the dog a new home – or maybe he finds a new girlfriend. But not being able to be honest about a dog because you think he would leave is a sign your relationship is in a heap of trouble. Life throws way bigger issues at you.
saneinca December 23, 2016, 12:35 pm
The BF did a shitty job of taking care of his dog that he wanted. But I agree the LW was pushover when it came to saying no or setting up rules to make him the main care giver.
Ron December 23, 2016, 1:00 pm
I wouldn’t say she was a push-over. It seems she said no a lot and fought against this for a long time, before caving to her fear that he would end their relationship. She was manipulated by him. Then she agreed to pay 50% of the dog’s upkeep expense.
The big question she needs to figure out is why she is clinging so hard to what seems to be a failed relationship, in which her bf controls her.
The important answer has nothing to do with the dog. LW needs to MOA. If she can’t, she needs to take time, and possibly therapy, to understand why what seems like such an awful, mismatched relationship is so vitally important to her that she is left caring for dog. Really DOG! could be anything that she finds menial and supremely distasteful that she is willingly doing to hold onto this guy.
Obviously she doesn’t believe she can find a replacement guy who is less manipulative and a better match. As is so often the case, it seems to be low self-esteem and fear of change/the unknown/short-term singleness leading to long-term acceptance of what should not be acceptable. She is in a relationship in which her views literally do not matter, at all. As someone else said, bf now knows he can get what he wants in any future disagreement and he will use that to the max.
saneinca December 23, 2016, 1:18 pm
Ron, that is a good analysis. I was just addressing the question she sent but you are right. There are bigger issues at play here.
Firestar December 24, 2016, 8:28 am
It wasn’t manipulation. Manipulation is when people are pulling strings behind the scene and you are lead into doing something you didn’t want to do. The boyfriend whined and badgered her but his intent was clear and she chose the dog deliberately as a means of keeping him. It just backfired since now she’s stuck with all the work. I agree the dog isn’t her problem but she’s no victim. She went into it eyes open. Doing something you don’t want t o do to keep a man? That’s the only part in the story that manipulative. There is nothing that says the boyfriend said he’d do the work and bailed. He thinks they got a dog together. Only she knows all her talk of maybe down the road was a lie.
Rosie December 23, 2016, 10:23 am
The amount of hate this lady is getting from the comments section is incredible. I love dogs, I have two. But I understand why people don’t like them/wouldn’t want one. She wanted to make her boyfriend happy, she was scared to lose him, she made a mistake. We all make mistakes.
Either tell your boyfriend he’s paying for 100% of the dog’s shit and hiring a dog walker for it or dump him and leave the dog with the boyfriend.
ele4phant December 23, 2016, 1:54 pm
So, not really related, but I discovered this morning that there was dog poop smeared all across the heel of my beloved leather boots.
I realize it’s really the owners’ fault, the dog was just doing its business, but g*d f!ck^ng d%mm@t!
If you’re a dog owner and you don’t pick up your dog’s poop, I think there is a special place in hell for you.
SpaceySteph December 28, 2016, 2:30 pm
[Disclaimer: I love my dog, I cried last night because we got back from vacation but couldn’t pick up the dog until this morning and the sight of his empty crate (plus some pregnancy hormones) made me weepy but…]
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to get a dog you don’t want because it’ll make your SO happy. Dogs are living things, yes, and require some amount of upkeep, but its not nearly the same as having a child you don’t want in order to make your SO happy. I think where LW is going wrong is feeling like the dog needs to give her joy in order to be worth it.
You know what doesn’t give me joy? Vacuuming my house. Doing dishes. Heck, sometimes walking my much-beloved dog doesn’t give me joy either. Not everything in life has to give you joy. Some things are just chores, maintenance in the service of actual joys. You could try to reframe the dog duty as a chore you do in service of your relationship because the dog brings your BF joy and your BF brings you joy. That it’s worth an hour out of your day to put a scoop of kibble in the bowl and walk the dog around the block a couple times because your BF *so* loves getting greeted by the pup when he walks in the door.
But maybe the real problem is that your relationship doesn’t bring you joy either, or at least not enough to put up with the relatively minor inconvenience of daily dog care. The fact that you were worried turning him down would lead to a breakup and your history of an 18-month separation just add more evidence that this relationship is not so good. Break up with him, let him keep the dog, and go find someone with whom you are more compatible.
If you stay with him against the advice to the contrary, I agree with having the bf shift to paying for the dog completely and I also think he should take over the majority of the dog chores. Plenty of dog owners (myself/my husband included) work full time outside the home and their dogs are just fine all day, so having you home doesn’t have to mean significant dog care in the middle of the day. Your bf can feed the dog before/after work so you’re left with at most 1 mid-day feeding (pretty unusual for healthy adult dogs to eat lunch, so maybe not even that). Your BF can also walk the dog when he gets home, leaving you only with a couple shorter trips outside to do business. (it may take the dog some time to get used to that schedule– make sure you wean him down slowly to avoid accidents). And for those few little dog care items you’re left with, try to think of them like washing the dishes: not every chore has to bring you joy.
CET April 14, 2018, 8:40 am
LW, you did agree to get a dog…so you have to live with that decision. However, it is your husband who wanted the dog so badly, so he needs to be doing all the care…feeding it morning and night, walking it each morning before work, and hiring a dog walker to give it a walk in the middle of the day. He also should be scooping all poo and taking the dog to training classes at night once a week. He wanted the dog. He needs to step up and stop relying on you. And you need to tell him this and stick to your guns about it.
allathian August 3, 2018, 1:57 am
Oh dear, what a mess.
I pity the poor dog most of all, when its primary caregiver hates it. Dogs know who likes them and who doesn’t. Dogs deserve to live with people who love them and who don’t begrudge the time it takes to care for them.
To be properly socialized, a dog needs to spend time with people who enjoy doing just that.
The LW should have been honest from the start. If you don’t want to live with a dog, you shouldn’t be in a live-in relationship with a dog owner.
Anthony M Covarrubias October 9, 2018, 11:23 pm
She sounds awful. I don’t trust or like anyone who hates animals, especially dogs.
Britta October 10, 2018, 12:46 pm
I don’t particularly like people who whine about dogs all the damned time. You sound like a fucking peach.
Chels May 22, 2019, 11:15 am
In my situation, I also work from home, love my boyfriend and we were just starting to talk about kids, dreaming of the dog breed that would suit us and possibly moving into a larger home somewhere and how fun it’d be.
We had probably one or two conversations about it. That’s all.
We also were in the middle of some heavy conversations about. having kids. I very much want them, and him with type 1 (genetic) diabetes, he was terrified by the thought of passing it on. Which I completely understand.
During all that, I was still not quite there yet or ready for a puppy at the moment. Then one day he brings home a dog…a puppy and I work from home as well. He expected me to squeal and jump up and down and I just stared at it, confused. It was a dog breed I wouldn’t really have suggested for us but I was determined to really try and make the best of it. More and more, I found myself trying to focus on my 9-5 job and be attentive, but spent my time cleaning up pee and poop. It’s been 6 months and I’m still a bit resentful. Was he thinking of me at all? Did he realize this wouldn’t really be practical? I’m currently feeding, walking, disciplining…everything. Just confused me more than anything. I love our little puppy, he’s graduated from obedience class, thriving and he daily checks into Instagram 🙂 But through it all, even giving it a really solid try, it’s been a struggle. So I understand where she’s coming from, it’s similar to my situation expectations and maybe his and her needs weren’t discussed properly. That always helps. I’m learning my guy tends to want to assume and want to surprise me (which is sweet, don’t get me wrong) – but he does it without really knowing how I feel about things or think to ask, which has gotten us into some sticky situations. I would’ve loved to do it when we were both ready. Especially when I was worried I may have to step away because he didn’t want kids. It was all very much in flux at the time, and it just put a huge confusing bandaid on everything. Be careful and speak up! He has no idea if you don’t communicate well.
anonymousse May 22, 2019, 1:13 pm
Have you spoken up about the way you really feel?
ele4phant May 22, 2019, 1:26 pm
You need to talk to him.
Ideally six months ago you would’ve said something when he showed up with a puppy, something along the lines of “That’s a cute puppy but we haven’t fully discussed this. We need to pump the brakes here for a sec and discuss if this is the right dog and the right time before we commit to giving it a forever home.”
But, better late than never. You should absolutely say that you feel like you are doing the lion’s share of the work and need him to start pitching in, that you cannot keep things as they are.
And just in the future, if you are with someone that likes to “surprise” you, you need to grow a backbone and learn how to start asserting yourself when his surprises are less pleasant than he assumes. Not to say you need to rip him apart, but if you as a couple can’t have a conversation where you are able to calmly say, I appreciate the thought but this actually doesn’t work for me because of X without him falling apart, well that’s a problem for your long-term future.
Vathena May 22, 2019, 1:47 pm
Any chance that he sensed you might be pulling away because he’s not into the idea of kids, so he got the puppy as a “surprise” to keep you around? I would have been so angry about such a huge decision being made without my input. He committed you to dog care for easily 10+ years without your permission, and robbed you of the pleasure of choosing your dog together! I hope that YOU are being careful and speaking up.
anonymousse May 22, 2019, 2:02 pm
That sentence really sticks out to me, too. I would be so angry if my husband “surprised me” with a huge somewhat life changing decision. And I’d be even angrier if it affected my day to day life more than his.
It honestly really sounds like he used the puppy as a manipulative tactic so you wouldn’t leave.
Vathena May 22, 2019, 2:13 pm
Yeah, that and “Was he thinking of me at all?…he does it without really knowing how I feel about things or think to ask, which has gotten us into some sticky situations.” So, you’re dating someone who doesn’t think your feelings or needs are really all that important. I wonder if you’ve talked about this, and what his response is – does he agree that impulsively making decisions for you is a problem, or does he think it’s just fine and YOU are the one with the problem for not going along with whatever he wants?
ele4phant May 22, 2019, 2:42 pm
Yeah – and just really the attitude that if he “surprises” her, she has to just accept whatever it is he foists on her because he means well and wants to make her happy (or so she assumes). You don’t have to accept something that doesn’t work for you even if it’s being done for you/to you with the best of intentions.
It’s pretty manipulative actually, to force stuff on your partner in the guise of it being a fun “surprise”. Bonus points if you act indignant and hurt when your partner is like “Oh, thanks for the thought but no thanks”.
Honestly – I don’t think he surprised OP with a puppy because he thought she would “like it” and he wanted to do something nice for her; I think he wanted to get her off his back about having kids so he was like “Here’s a puppy. Oh, you don’t like it? But I got it to surprise you because I love you! Don’t you like it?”
Allornone May 22, 2019, 2:15 pm
Three weeks into our relationship, my boyfriend matter of factly stated that if I hadn’t liked dogs, that would’ve been a dealbreaker. He would not have even DATED me if I didn’t like them, much get far enough to move in (and maybe married one day?), he loves dogs that much. This was smart of him. Even if we break up, he will never be in this situation because he knows where he stands on this, knows he’d never be able to compromise, and is willling to admit to himself and any potential partner.
Whether it’s pets, kids, where you plan to live, etc, don’t be afaid to have those discussions before huge decisions are made. Don’t go in assuming you’ll change someone’s mind. Know how you feel, know what you’d be willing to compromise on, and comminucate with each other before its too late and you’ve wasted years on someone you love, but ultimately cannot end up with.
Anonymous May 7, 2021, 6:13 pm
Wow way to have 0 compassion, Wendy. Not helpful at all.
Annoymous May 11, 2021, 4:08 am
First, Be smart about it. He wanted & love dog, he got one. You don’t want & hate dog. If or when you two broke up (in the future) he will want (will fight) to take the dog with him. So do NOT pay half for HIS dog or you will end up regretting for spent your money on his dog. Afterall you can’t split the dog in half.
Second, the dog is innocent in this. In a relationship it is “give and take” or “yield to each other and understand for each other” not calculate. When one person is calculating on who give more/less or who take more/less then that is not real love anymore. Under pressure or not, you yielded for him to have a dog, what done is done. Stop, don’t calculate that he is at work not home to take care of the dog and you stuck with it because you hate it blah blah blah. Get all that negative thoughts out of your head. Instead, take the times to build bond with his dog while you feed/walk and (play, teach the dog tricks, belly rub etc) when you take a break. You may not know it, THAT DOG IS A BRIDGE TO CONNECT BOTH YOU AND YOUR BOYFRIEND (OR HAVE A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM) IF YOU LET IT OR WANT IT. But the decision is your own to choose no one can tell you what to do. You love cat then discuss with your boyfriend and pay for your own cat and all. Afterall cat and dog can get along in the same house. However hold off the cat until you CAN learn to bond and love the dog first. It’s important.
Third, dog can relieve stress and fun to play with. Dog is like a human child comes with responsibility and disciplinary beside playful. Don’t underestimate dogs they are very smart. Only stupid human would think dogs/cats are stupid.
fyodor May 11, 2021, 9:56 am
This is two years old. The LW has probably died of old age by now.
Anonymous January 12, 2023, 12:55 am
dear lovely lady,
i was once in the exact situation you are in. please do not be discouraged by what many folks have written here. in my case id grown up in a home where pets were not allowed so when my boyfriend suggested we get a dog i was totally up for it! i was also quite stupid because i knew pretty much nothing about the responsibility going into it and after getting the poor girl the same thing started to happen as with yours he was neglecting all her needs and it all became my caring self’s responsibility. so what did i do you ask? well after suffering through many months of a full time job ALL of the house work while having severe depression and anxiety plus the added vet trips baths walks nail trimming and teeth brushing the poor animal needed i finally snapped. i threatened him. i sat my boyfriend down and warned him that if HE were not to take FULL RESPONSIBILITY of HIS DOG i would report him for animal negligence. guess what? it worked