Wedding Woes

Yeah, the dog is clearly yours.

Dear Prudence,
My relationship with my girlfriend is breaking down. We both acknowledge this and are starting to talk about living apart. The one thing we disagree on is the custody of our dog. For most of his life, I’ve been his main caretaker: food and vet bills, walks, daily care. I work from home and I’m a homebody. My girlfriend works in an office, travels regularly for business and is involved in a lot of social events. I think I should keep the dog with me when I move. I don’t object to her picking him up for weekends and days she can actually take care of him. She disagrees. Her suggestion is that I come over to her place to walk him during the day (it’s highly likely we’ll live in the same general area)—I think that’s preposterous. Or am I the one who’s preposterous?

—Dog-Walker

Re: Yeah, the dog is clearly yours.

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited October 2016
    When I was with my ex, I wanted to adopt a dog. And before we even went to look at dogs, I explained to him that it would be my dog and if we were to break up, the dog would go with me. This felt reasonable to me, as he wasn't really warming up to the idea of a dog, and was mostly going along with it to make me happy. 

    Anyway, he ended up loving the dog just as much as I did. When we broke up, I reminded him of our agreement, and thankfully he didn't fight me (all of her paperwork was in my name, and I paid all her vet bills). I did feel awful though, so when I moved out, I told him we could share custody of her. I'd either drop her off or we'd meet in a parking lot. It worked for a while, and we were able to be amicable with each other. However, I could tell that when she was with him, she was getting no exercise. She'd come home a ball of energy, running around like a maniac. And after dating him for 5 years, I knew he most likely spent 99% of their time together watching TV on the couch. I was relieved when he moved into a new place that didn't allow dogs. I did still offer to let him see her, but he never took me up on it. 

    So that's my story. I think whomever came into the relationship with the dog should take it. But if they adopted it together, the dog should go with the person that can offer it the best care (LW in this case, as he's home a lot). 

    cowgirl8238SP29
  • When I was in college my roommate's mom bought her a yorkie. But she worked all the time (she had already graduated) and I had a flexible college schedule, so I played with her, fed her, walked her, cleaned up after her. I was the primary care taker. When I moved out it was terribly sad. The dog was sad for weeks after I left, but since she bought her, she wanted to keep the dog (obviously). I still miss that little dog, and she sends me pictures of her, but it's not the same. 
    short+sassycowgirl8238OliveOilsMomSP29
  • My H and I have one cat and one dog.  Both were adopted during our relationship, but before we were married.  The cat was first and we were very clear on her.  She was H's if we ever broke up, though that was 11 years ago and that agreement would be pretty blurred now!  The dog was just a few years, probably less than one year before we got engaged, and we never discussed it.

    If we divorced, hypothetically speaking, we'd probably each keep one pet and perhaps have a custody arrangement.

    I had tenants who were a couple and ended up moving out at the end of their lease because they had broken up.  They had two dogs.  I think they got them both during the relationship.  They each kept one.  I know the woman specifically kept the bulldog because he has medical issues and she is a veterinarian.  I strongly suspect there is no custody agreement.  The break-up seemed pretty bitter.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • My H and his ex share custody of the dog. they rotate every 2 weeks. At first I thought it was weird but it actually works out well with vacations not having to worry about boarding him, we just make sure we either travel on the off weeks or the schedule changes to accomodate. ALong those lines, H actually wrote in custody of the dog are part of our prenup even though I would never ask for custody of it 
  • Ex-DH and I had always said that the dogs were mine and the cats were his if we ever split up.  I was terrified that he wouldn't stick to that deal when the divorce proved to be less than amicable.  Especially since he was keeping the house, and I had moved someplace that didn't allow pets, I was terrified he would fight me for them.  Thankfully, he allowed my parents to take full custody/responsibility for the dogs and we alternate weekends visiting/taking them.  He kept the cats.
  • I think LW should get the dog mainly for primary care and the fact they have already shown ability to care for it.

    H and I have 2 cats. One is mine before we got together(Angel), other is joint(Penny). We have discussed what would happen if we - hypothetically speaking - split up. I would get Angel and depending on situation, would depend who gets Penny.
    If I left and ended up living with my mum, I couldn't bring Penny because my mother's cat and Penny wouldn't get alone {both females} BUT if I found my own place or if my mum didn't have her cat - then it would be up for discussion. We didn't make many definite decisions for many reasons, but we know it would be an issue to discuss later.
  • H and I adopted both our cats after we moved in together but before we were married.  We both agree that they should stay together if we ever divorce...they are just too bonded to be split.  I think we would both want to keep them though.  H jokes that they love me more so I should get them, but I would be willing to part if it was in their best interest or if I could not keep them due to a pet restriction.
    SP29
  • bleve0821bleve0821 The Shire member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I adopted both my pups independent of DH. Toothless has been around longer than DH, Hiccup was a "Surprise! Your GF went away for six months and came back with a puppy!" We weren't living together at the time (or even in the same state), so I didn't feel it necessary to discuss (not that he would have said anything even if I had, he's the type who says, "You're a big girl, do what you want.").

    In our current circumstances, if we ever separated, the dogs would live with me. Their licenses are registered in my name, I pay 99% of costs associated with medications, vet bills, food, etc. I don't think DH would ever argue over that. If we decided to adopt a new pet now that we're living together/married, and then separated, I have no idea what would happen. I have a feeling he'd let me have custody without a fight, since I would probably be in a better financial position to care for them, but I don't know. 

    Hopefully, that is a bridge we will never have to cross.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I love my dog dearly. He's my little buddy and I couldn't imagine not having him. However, if H and I were to ever separate, the dog would go with him. H, like LW, does the majority of the care taking and Fred clearly loves H more than his momma. GF needs to let LW have and the dog and accept his offer to let her come over and walk him/have visitation.
    My dog is Fred too!


    BabyFruit Ticker
    short+sassycupcait927thefanciestbeckler
  • FI and I have 5 dogs together, 3 of whom we adopted when we were together.  The 2 I brought into the relationship, I get to keep.  When we adopted the other 3, we had very honest, "This is your dog...not mine" conversations.  

    FI even has custody (if we split) of a dog who recently came back to me (ex bailed on the dog.  I went to pick it up with the intention of adopting it out through the rescue we work with.  FI fell in love and demanded we keep the dog.  I agreed under the condition that he take custody of the dog if we ever split).  

    We split all care and vet bills, but we have a distinct custody agreement already in place.  

    SP29
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its

    Since we adopted Edna out of wedlock, we discussed this. Never came to a conclusion, but it was discussed. I love her more and have a better schedule for a dog, but I wouldn't be able to take care of her as well (I'd be broke as shit, she's stronger than me, etc.).

    I think the closest we got was that my dad would take her. Since they're besties.

    Regardless though, LW needs to keep this dog. GF needs to realize dog is better off.

    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    charlotte989875SP29MissKittyDangercowgirl8238
  • I still have a hard time saying that my rabbits are my husband's rabbits as well ... he knows full well that if we part ways, they are all coming with me.  If he were pissed at me, he could try to get them but boy, he'd be in for a fight!  The one I got on my own, the other two we got together, but I paid for them, and I am the primary care giver. I love my dog, but I am willing to let him have her to make things "fair".  

  • Since we adopted Edna out of wedlock, we discussed this. Never came to a conclusion, but it was discussed. I love her more and have a better schedule for a dog, but I wouldn't be able to take care of her as well (I'd be broke as shit, she's stronger than me, etc.).

    I think the closest we got was that my dad would take her. Since they're besties.

    Regardless though, LW needs to keep this dog. GF needs to realize dog is better off.

    This gives me warm fuzzies at the idea of it! :) Are they super cute together?
    ShesSoCold
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its

    Since we adopted Edna out of wedlock, we discussed this. Never came to a conclusion, but it was discussed. I love her more and have a better schedule for a dog, but I wouldn't be able to take care of her as well (I'd be broke as shit, she's stronger than me, etc.).

    I think the closest we got was that my dad would take her. Since they're besties.

    Regardless though, LW needs to keep this dog. GF needs to realize dog is better off.

    This gives me warm fuzzies at the idea of it! :) Are they super cute together?


    Oh yeah. I'm certain that they both like each other more than they like me. She's not allowed on any furniture at home and dad lets her all over his couches and she sleeps in bed with him. He takes her for ice cream if he has her in the summer, doughnuts in the winter. He works at a local airport (small personal and corporate planes) and he's taken her in to the huge lobby, no leash, so she's just running around slobbering on everything/one.

    Several years ago, H and I almost broke up. Dad's only concern was, "What are they going to do with Edna?". He said the only way he'd get a dog was if he could ensure it was like Edna.

    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    MissKittyDanger
  • bleve0821bleve0821 The Shire member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    @ShesSoCold, every time you talk about Edna, this is the only thing I can think of:



    I love her name.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    MissKittyDangerShesSoCold
  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    @KatWAG I always forget that you have a Fred too! He's adorable!

     Here's my little Fred 


    charlotte989875KatWAGcowgirl8238short+sassy
  • @KatWAG I always forget that you have a Fred too! He's adorable!

     Here's my little Fred 


    I love that he's named after Fred Jackson. 
    cupcait927
  • Since we adopted Edna out of wedlock, we discussed this. Never came to a conclusion, but it was discussed. I love her more and have a better schedule for a dog, but I wouldn't be able to take care of her as well (I'd be broke as shit, she's stronger than me, etc.).

    I think the closest we got was that my dad would take her. Since they're besties.

    Regardless though, LW needs to keep this dog. GF needs to realize dog is better off.

    This gives me warm fuzzies at the idea of it! :) Are they super cute together?


    Oh yeah. I'm certain that they both like each other more than they like me. She's not allowed on any furniture at home and dad lets her all over his couches and she sleeps in bed with him. He takes her for ice cream if he has her in the summer, doughnuts in the winter. He works at a local airport (small personal and corporate planes) and he's taken her in to the huge lobby, no leash, so she's just running around slobbering on everything/one.

    Several years ago, H and I almost broke up. Dad's only concern was, "What are they going to do with Edna?". He said the only way he'd get a dog was if he could ensure it was like Edna.

    Makes me think of my mum's cat - Storm - and my granny. Because my mum has weird hours, my granny will go to my mum's place to feed her. Storm now knows when my granny is there, she gets food {and treats!} so when I was there not long ago she stopped over and Storm came running out to greet her!!
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @KatWAG I always forget that you have a Fred too! He's adorable!

     Here's my little Fred 


    Um, he is perfect. 
    BabyFruit Ticker
    cupcait927
  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    @charlotte989875 - I wanted to get him a little Fred Jackson jersey but there is no way I'm spending $50+ considering he pretty much hates wearing clothing

    @KatWAG thank you! he's perfected what we call the "big eye look" when he wants something. I think I was eating chips when I took this picture. He was practically in my lap, begging.
     
  • @charlotte989875 - I wanted to get him a little Fred Jackson jersey but there is no way I'm spending $50+ considering he pretty much hates wearing clothing

    @KatWAG thank you! he's perfected what we call the "big eye look" when he wants something. I think I was eating chips when I took this picture. He was practically in my lap, begging.
     
    I bet you could find some used children's ones online since he's retired now. That would be perfect.
    cupcait927
  • bumpjaniebumpjanie member
    Fourth Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited October 2016
    LW- I feel like it would have to be whatever is best for the dog (unless of course it was your GFs dog to begin with).  It sounds like you play a far more pro-active role in the dog's life, and are generally around a lot more.  This alone is a HUGE factor.  Dogs love companionship, and if they are used to someone being around, they can get separation anxiety if that changes.  When I got my dog I was told she tore out the trash, chewed things, etc.  I own a business so I am able to bring her to work with me & she has never chewed a single thing since she's been with me.  I have a pretty good feeling it's because she isn't alone as much as she was in the past.  I'm sure your GF would walk/feed the dog and be a completely fine caretaker but I think given that you work-from-home/are a homebody makes it kind of a no-brainer, the pup should stay with you.  
    short+sassy
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