About 4 years into our happily ever after, my partner and I came up with a genius idea – to get a puppy. It seemed like the logical next step in our relationship; move in, get a dog, have a baby.
We were instantly besotted when we met our little boy. I thought he might miss his family and hate his first car ride home with us, but he clung to me and had his tongue out happily the entire way. I vividly remember my partner smiling from the driving seat saying ‘I’m going to crash, I can’t stop looking at him’
We were so careful with him. The precious ball of fluff slept in the middle of us while we watched on like adoring new parents. I cried when I had to go to work. He was our world.
Slowly, I started introducing our pup to the outside world and walking him. Our roles as parents were forming- I was the ‘boring’ one, the one who would take care of walks, poops and feeding. My partner was the ‘fun’ one, who would play fight and buy him treats. Puppy would lose his mind with excitement every time he came home. He adored his Dad.
During the next few years it became evident that I wasn’t going to get much help with the dog from my partner. The vet visits, the training and the registrations came down to me. This was pretty indicative of what our relationship had become.
When we finally broke up, I asked about the dog. ‘He’ll have a better life with you’ he replied, to my relief, that it wasn’t going to get nasty. ‘Come around and see him whenever you want’ and I meant it.
We arranged that he would stay with his Dad on the weekends. That lasted about two weeks. I didn’t want the two to lose their special bond, so I would try prompt my ex to visit or offer to drop the dog off at his house. He wasn’t interested. The last time my ex came over to pick him up, the dog barked at him. He didn’t recognise his Dad anymore. That was one of the saddest parts of the breakup for me.
I don’t regret getting a dog with my then partner. In fact, I can’t imagine my life without my wee boy.
What’s my advice? Before you get a dog, yes it’ll be awkward, but have a conversation about what happens to your fur baby if you breakup. And ladies: create a doggy walking roster so you don’t get left holding the poop.