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When spouses disagree on adopting a dog

snowballsnowball 3067 replies257 threads Senior Member
Three years ago we had to put our 13 year old dog down; we also her 8 year old brother. I have had dogs and other assorted pets (cats, birds, rabbits, turtles, hamsters and a chicken) my entire life. My husband had a few dogs growing up. When the topic of getting another dog comes up, I have been the one to say, the currently 11 year old will be my last. I work full time away from the house and actually come home during lunch to give the dog a quick walk on the days my husband is on the road. When I do come home, it takes my entire lunch break, so I look forward to the days my husband is home, as I can have a somewhat relaxing lunch in our break room.

Our dog has been slow and not eating well the past couple of week and had labs done on Monday, which were not good. He actually became more lethargic on Tuesday and ultrasound and xrays were preformed today. While we were hoping the scans would be normal, as expected, they were not; he had a mass on/near his spleen. The decision is to put him down on Monday as my husband is out of town for work, and this is his best friend.

I am the one that does not want another dog, and definitely not a puppy. Again, I have never, not had a dog, but I think at 63 years old, I am ready to not have to take care of another one. The children and grandchildren live in other states, so when we go to visit, the cost of boarding the dog come into play. Selfishly, I would like my lunchtime back, or not being the one to solo care for the dog when my husband is out of town. As we downsized to a townhome, we don't have a yard for a dog like we did in the old house, so all exercised is by leash walks. On the weekends I don't have a problem, but going out in the morning before work when it is rainy and/or cold, I don't love. While I would do anything for this dog, this weekend, I have to carry him up and down the stairs (2 flights) as he doesn't have the energy to walk them. He only weights 40 lbs., but going up with my bad back isn't the easiest!

My husband really does not want to take no for an answer. We have agreed that until things settle down with COVID, as each of us have had our hours cut, we would hold off on making a decision. A dog for my husband is really a mental health thing; not as a therapy dog or anything; he just enjoys the walks with the dog and the bond. This dog won't do things for me if his "daddy" is around; he will always wait for my husband.

My daughter suggested when we were ready, that we should think about fostering dogs. That way, we get the benefits without a life long commitment. We actually know a couple of people that work with Golden Retriever Rescue, so we can talk to them. Part of me knows when I have another dog in the house, I will fall in love. Then the selfish part of me keeps thinking about my age, the lack of dog hair, not having to walk in the rain for 30 minute and drying off a dog, worrying about coming home at lunch, or if I want to run errands after work. I think I am ready for some freedom. We both are bigger dog people, and my husband hates little dogs and cats.

If others have had to deal with this, what were your thoughts; how did you decide? If I say no, my husband will be really sad; who's feelings take precedents?
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Replies to: When spouses disagree on adopting a dog

  • momoffourmomoffour 135 replies4 threads Junior Member
    What a thoughtful post Snowball. I look forward to the answers. I would like a dog, husband does not. Our last dog was a not well trained golden so there are some unhappy memories of food getting stolen and the hair everywhere. We want to be able to travel also so it is a conundrum. If you have to do the majority of the work, then I think no dog is the way to go, but if hubby gets depressed, i’d get the dog.
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  • abasketabasket 21326 replies915 threads Senior Member
    I see now that you do talk about waiting a bit - didn't catch that first read.

    I would just let that play out.

    I admire anyone that fosters but I don't know how it will be less intense. Each dog you foster will be like getting a new dog. Getting used to each other, the house, the routine, behavior(s), etc. And then that dog leaves and you start all over again. Just think about that hard. Make sure you get a foster for the foster's sake - not just yours.
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  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 250 replies7 threads Junior Member
    I am sorry to hear about your dog. My parents were in the same boat a while ago. My mom kept telling my dad that it is a commitment for the rest of the dog’s life, not necessarily theirs. Her point was if something happened to them (they became ill or needed alternative living arrangements) then it wasn’t fair to the dog to be uprooted. It was really hard for both of them to face a house without pets but in the end, they decided it wasn’t fair to ask me to take a dog or surrender it to a shelter if they couldn’t care for it anymore. Making a commitment for 10-12 years was too long for them. For a while they thought of adopting senior dogs because it would be more “short term” but they decided they couldn’t deal with the heartache of losing more dogs or the vet bills for an aging pet. They are happy enough visiting us or watching ours when we travel.
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  • 2plustrio2plustrio 362 replies7 threads Member
    I understand both points of view. Im with you though and I think the cons outweigh the pros.
    I suggest volunteering at a shelter walking dogs and helping to social them. Perhaps help a local dog rescue with raising money, etc.
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  • tx5athometx5athome 4029 replies5 threads Senior Member
    I am a dog person. I have had dogs all my life. I came to our relationship and marriage with a dog and I can not imagine life without a dog. As a dog owner, I am in better shape and I have made more friends. I think a dog is good for my husband as well. I will be honest, if my husband told me he didn't want any more dogs, I would be heartbroken.
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  • Leigh22Leigh22 1029 replies9 threads Senior Member
    @snowball - so sorry about your pup.
    I am one of those people who would feel lost without a dog. Although sometimes I wonder what a house without fur balls would be like!

    I for one wouldn’t just say no, especially if having a dog is so important to your spouse.

    Dog walkers are available for lunchtime walks. Also, adopting an adult dog, not senior but not a puppy, is a good way to go.

    I think taking the time to mourn and see how things shake out is the best solution.

    My H could easily not get another dog, but he knows that for me a dog brings such joy to my life.
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  • kbm770kbm770 115 replies2 threads Junior Member
    When the time comes, fostering a dog could be a great idea. Another possibility is to take in friends' dogs when they go out of town. We had friends who did this for years -- not as a business, just a series of favors. They didn't want to commit to full-time, year-round pet care, but they enjoyed having dogs around. We have enjoyed fostering, but caring for a dog when you know s/he is well behaved and potty trained, might take a little of the pressure off. And you could either do some favors for your friends or even earn some money while enjoying the company of a pup.
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  • OnwardOnward 2970 replies82 threads Senior Member
    I have no advise as I can't imagine life, even with all the complications, without a dog. We currently have a ten and a half year old who is slowing down. My H just told me that he really wants a retriever (current dog is mine- a spaniel). I really wasn't sure about it but then I thought, my H would do anything for me. So in July, we will have a puppy joining us. Life keeps changing. I am a little worried about the other dog as he loves his routines.
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  • jym626jym626 57695 replies3023 threads Senior Member
    So sorry about your pup, @snowball.

    We went through the same challenge when our dog died, but one of our s’s is allergic to dogs (though his wife loves dogs) and my other s loves dogs but his wife is asthmatically allergic to dogs (they’ve joked about swapping spouses so DS#1 and DS#2’s wife can get a dog). Well, we don’t need any reason to prevent them from visiting, so no dog for us.

    What we did for a while was petsit for friends/neighbors when they went out of town. That met the need for a “dog fix” for quite a while, and eventually we agreed that while we missed having a dog, we didn’t miss the hassle/responsibility of having a dog.

    I agree with others who said if your DH provided 100% of the care for the dog that would be one thing, but it kind of reminds me of kids begging for a dog, swearing they will take care of it, and then the responsibility landing on the parents. You deserve to have your lunch break, to run errands, to not have to vacuum up a bunch of dog fur or carry a dog up/down the stirs and take it out in inclement weather. Thats just not fair to you.

    You mentioned the golden rescue organizations. You/your DH don’t have to foster- you (he) can volunteer there and take those needy dogs out for exercise. I have a friend who comes over from across town to volunteer at the one on this side of town. YOur DH could easily volunteer there as well, and it would be a win-win opportunity.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited June 5
    Thread Title: When Spouses Disagree On Adopting A Dog

    Seems like the vote is tied at one-to one.

    Just need to find an interested third party willing to speak-up and make the tie breaking vote.
    edited June 5
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  • MomofJandLMomofJandL 2082 replies41 threads Senior Member
    My friends have an agreement that whoever cares the most wins, and whoever wins is responsible for implementing the decision.

    So if I kind of want to go to Paris, but DH really wants to go to Yellowstone, we go to Yellowstone and he makes all the arrangements.

    This is good in theory for a dog decision, but the implementation part lasts years, and only you know whether your spouse can/will uphold the deal that long.

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  • 1214mom1214mom 5283 replies195 threads Senior Member
    I think it’s really important for BOTH spouses to want a pet before it’s brought into the home.
    We recently (December) lost a cat, and at first when I brought up getting a new one, my husband was hesitant. My kids offered to “drop the kitten at our door,” but I said “no, we both really need to agree on this, because animals are a lot of work (not to mention the expense).
    I gotta say - I love the idea of taking care of other people’s dogs when they’re out of town. I think we could get our dog fix that way! (I’m a dog person, but have cats because we haven’t had the lifestyle to have dogs for many years).
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  • abasketabasket 21326 replies915 threads Senior Member
    For what it's worth, I think the idea of your H agreeing to pay for a dog walker 3 days a week or whatever is a really good negotiating point.
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3743 replies24 threads Senior Member
    edited June 5
    @snowball Be firm. I lost this battle and while I love our dog, I do not love the responsibility. I agree with suggestions above - have your husband volunteer at a shelter or you two can provide sitting for friends who have dogs when they travel (they will be SO very grateful to you)!
    edited June 5
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  • SybyllaSybylla 4931 replies59 threads Senior Member
    How much is your DH away? (normal times)
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  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 562 replies7 threads Member
    This is tough. I am a dog person and currently own a 4 1/2 month old Golden after swearing I was done with dogs, especially puppies. But my goodness he's cute and I do wonder what we would have been doing with ourselves these last few months!

    However, let's face it. The responsibility for pets generally falls on one person in the family. In my house, it's me, and it sounds like in yours, it's you. For that reason it seems fair for you to put your foot down about getting another if it's not something you want to take on. I have pushed back with my family on some things and for the most part we are all sharing the care since we're all home. But it does seem like everyone else goes about their lives as normal and I sometimes find myself planning my schedule around the dog.

    I would let a little time pass before making any decisions and enjoy a little extra freedom and a hair free home. I think working with a rescue and fostering is not a bad compromise if you are open to it. At least you're not committing to anything permanent and your husband gets his dog fix.

    So sorry to hear about your dog! Such a hard time for pet owners!
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