“My New Man Wants Me to Give My Dogs to a Shelter”

I have met a wonderful man and have fallen head-over-heels in love with him! However, there’s an issue. We lived together for a short times with my two dachshunds, one of whom has a problem with her potty breaks and messed up his carpet. Since then, he wants me to give them up to an individual or to a no-kill shelter. I can’t give them up, and he keeps saying to me I would rather give up a relationship than give up those two damm dogs!!!

What is wrong with me? Love is so very hard to find, but he got so mad at me that he went to Chicago over the weekend (my birthday weekend) without me and he said we’re over. It very well may be. I need YOUR Opinion on this matter please! — I Love My Dogs

If the guy seemed to genuinely care about you, I’d suggest living apart until your dogs either die or they are better trained. But your dude doesn’t sound like a loving and caring partner. He’s gaslighting you for one thing — saying you’d rather give up your relationship than your dogs, but isn’t he the one who’d rather have spotless rugs than your relationship? I mean, if you’re going to play that game: dogs > rugs, right? Also: you and your birthday > Chicago.

A man who’d take off on your birthday weekend, telling you your relationship is over and accusing you of choosing your dogs over your relationship when he’s chosen his rugs over you is not a man worth getting upset over. I know love is so very hard to find, but you haven’t found it yet. This is not what love looks like. Keep searching, and in the meantime enjoy the love and company of your dogs (as well as the people in your life who value you).

Related: “How long is too long to wait for ‘I love you’?” and “My Parents’ Dog Crapped on my Aunt’s Cream-Colored Carpet and Now They Won’t Come Home For the Holidays”


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. Anonymous says:

    For the love of applesauce. Dog people should be with dog people and non dog people should be with non dog people. I promise, you will find another man and that man will fall in love with you and all your baggage.

    1. What ‘baggage’? The fact that she loves her pets is normal, not ‘baggage’.

  2. Outside of the relationship completely, she should work on house training her dogs. If she is going to live with the dogs it is important that they be appropriately trained, unless there is a medical reason for the dogs’ potty accidents.

  3. Consider this guy a bullet dodged. This guy’s a gaslighting asshole. Stay broken up.

    Also, if you haven’t, get your pup checked out for a medical issue. I have one prone to UTIs and the tell when she has a flare up is that she pees in between our regularly scheduled breaks. If it’s not a medical issue, see what you can do re: training to help. But, honestly, at the end of the day, pets (and kids, FYI!! and even adults from time to time!!) sometimes make messes. It’s just part of life with other living creatures and any reasonable adult who cares more about their relationship than the floor can roll with it.

  4. Avatar photo meadowphoenix says:

    I disagree completely that there is an gaslighting going on. You do care about your dogs more than you care about your relationship and that’s fine! Your dogs have been there longer! And in return this dude has decided to care about the relationship less as well. I don’t think revenge disrespect (which is what deciding not to celebrate your birthday and asking you to give up your pets is) bodes well for your relationship, so I would leave this man where he dropped you.

    That said, I don’t think you’re being forthright about the complications of dealing with incontinence in pets in your letter, so my advice would be to treat integrating pets into another household as seriously as your would treat integrating people. Did you talk about what living with an incontinent pet would mean? The daily chores, the triggers, the preparation? Is your dog someone who has to get a designated spot quickly to go, and if so did you talk with your boyfriend on how to ensure that your dog had a quick route? Are there routines and did you talk about them with your boyfriend? You know that having a pet means things will get ruined; did you talk to your boyfriend about this? Are you actively training your dog? Maybe you did and this dude is being unreasonable about not knowing what he was getting into (which is a reason to swing this fish back into the sea).

    But if you didn’t do any work acclimating both parties to new living beings in their space (and your dogs to a completely new space!), you were disrespectful to both your bf and your dogs, and in a new relationship that’s what I would change, because it will ease transition and also you can spot “this man doesn’t like the negatives of dealing with animals” much MUCH quicker.

  5. David Anold says:

    I liked how this post shared that a dog’s pads can get cracked and dry. My friend wants his god to get groomed. I think it’s best for him to opt for mobile dog grooming for their convenience.

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