New Boyfriend Hates My Dogs
Dear Dog Lady,
When I was 17, I broke up with a man whom I have missed for 30-some years. Last year, he contacted me. I now live at his house with my two small dogs. They used to be in my bed and on the sofa with me. When I moved here, I knew they were not going to be allowed in the house.
We live on 80 treed acres (coyotes in the area). I have managed to get the dogs into the basement for the night. We also have an outdoor kennel I use when I go out for the day. Other than that they can run free. My question is: Why do some people feel so strongly about where dogs belong? My boyfriend says he is never going to have a dog control his life. His mom did, he says. Actually, his mom loves dogs so I don’t understand this.
I really miss having my dogs available in the house and cuddling with me but it isn’t going to happen here. I am considering moving away from this man over my two dogs. Why on earth would I do this? Also, my dog Bruce doesn’t get on well with anyone who comes over (he’s only an angel to me). He barks and barks at my boyfriend’s little grandchildren and nearly anyone else so I have to put him in the basement kennel whenever anyone comes over. He is pretty good if I leash him; he is much better behaved then. I am contemplating giving Bruce away but I love him so much. This is a horrible predicament! Any suggestions? Can you shed any light on my dogs’ behaviour or mine, or my boyfriend’s?
—Chris, Redwater, AB
Chris, you sold your dogs short when you moved into your boyfriend’s
house. In the heat of desire for a long lost love to blossom anew, you
gave away much more than you thought at the time. You agreed to the
rules to keep your dogs out of his house without thinking of the
consequences. Dog Lady assumes you did so without much discussion with
your boyfriend. You were yearning for his embrace and forgetful of the
comfort from your dogs’ fuzzy behinds in the bed and on the sofa. You
now suffer the consequences. The dogs have become a roadblock you never
anticipated when you got that fateful phone call after 30-some years.
Your boyfriend obviously has psychological issues around dogs in the house. He mentions his mother. He vows dogs will never control his life the way they did hers. Wow, that’s deep. Does he feel mama loved her dogs more than him? We can only speculate in Freudian fashion. You say his mother really does love dogs so we get things from two perspectives. From your point of view, his mother bestows canine affection appropriately. Your boyfriend has a whole different mindset about this. Do you care to enter into therapy and sort this psychodrama through? It’s an option.
In the meantime, try to reason with the guy. Show him how little Bruce behaves when he is on the leash in the house. Tell him you’d be happy to keep Bruce tethered by your side when grandchildren are afoot. Ask him if your dogs might be allowed inside the house three days a week, as a compromise. Tell him you will be totally responsible for their behaviour. Assure him that you will never let two dogs come between the two of you. If he ever feels you’re giving more attention to the pets, you will be responsive to his complaint. Let your boyfriend know in real terms what’s in your head, because you seem miserable in this situation and ache for your dogs’ company.
If he’s still dead-set against allowing your dogs in the house, you will have to figure things out further. It may mean moving out and getting a place of your own nearby so you can still live close by but have the life with dogs you want. Always remember: you got yourself into this mess. And let’s hope you’ve learned a lesson—you will never sell your dogs short again.