Within the last few decades, our love of pets has gotten stronger than ever. Our dogs and cats (and rabbits and lizards) are our children, and their health and happiness are of utmost importance.
That’s why more and more hotel chains have become pet friendly — they know it’s not a real vacation without our pups by our sides.
That said, it’s really hard to figure out whose side to be on in this story. From Reddit’s “Am I the A**hole?” forum comes a story from user SociopathSometimes, a 24-year-old woman with a 33-year-old wife. She states that her wife had never had a dog in her life but initially felt happy about their decision to get one when the opportunity came up.
Eventually, though, the wife gave an ultimatum, and the woman chose her dog over her wife’s comfort.
“I met a super sweet pit at a local shelter and called my wife,” the original poster (OP) said. “She met him and agreed that he was sweet, and asked me if I could handle him and make sure he behaved. I’ve always trained my own dogs, and agreed that I could. We brought him home the next day.” Initially, it seems like a match was made. It’s a magical moment when you go to the shelter and fall in love.
Unfortunately, things quickly took a turn. While the dog remained sweet, the OP’s wife realized she wasn’t a big fan. However, all dogs require a lot of adjustment.
“I was responsible for his feeding, walks, and training, as I was freelancing at the time,” the OP said. “One day my wife came home to find him on the couch with me, and was very upset. He was not allowed on the furniture! She’d not said anything about it, and I’d never cared, but she did. So I agreed.”
That, in itself, shows that the two didn’t really talk about logistics prior to getting the dog. It’s a big decision that everyone in the household needs to discuss. However, the OP’s wife continued to find things she was unhappy with when it came to their shelter pup.
“Wife started to dislike the dog,” the OP wrote. “She said he smelled (I thought he was fine), he licked her (we trained that out), and he ran in the house (while playing). I tried explaining that she had to adjust her expectations, but she retorted that he was her first dog, so how could she have known? Good point, I thought, so I agreed to work on it.”
As expected, the OP and the dog started getting along quite well. “Dog and I are very bonded,” she said. “Wife complains that he’s ‘my dog.’ I tell her that’s because I interact with him most. She was frustrated and said I had steamrolled my way into having a dog because ~I~ wanted one. I agreed that I had really wanted a dog and thought to myself maybe I had been dragging her along for the ride when we picked him.” However, she couldn’t help but remember that her wife was on board upon meeting the dog. So this wasn’t all on her.
The wife had had cats before, but cats and dogs require different work. In general, dogs are more needy and require humans to help with entertainment and exercise. Cats, while still a big responsibility, tend to be a little easier. They’re compassionate and loving, but they don’t mind spending time by themselves. So it’s possible that the wife was just overwhelmed by the big change of having a dog.
However, it also seems as if she’s taking it out on the OP. It’s irresponsible to adopt a dog and not take care of it or attempt to bond with it, so it’s unclear as to whether or not the wife was jealous of the dog or just venting her frustration about the relationship on a separate issue. It seems like the wife truly took a turn.
“I think she’s being very unfair,” the OP said. “That’s the final straw for my wife. I tell her she’s acting jealous and she loses it. She’s very unhappy about having this dog. She says every day with him is constant stress for her. It’s been stressful for me too, feeling all that resentment from her.”
But then it boils down to an ultimatum. “She tells me to choose,” OP wrote. “Does the dog go or do I make her live with the stress? I love my wife and I can see how much this hurts her. I can’t deny that she’s in real discomfort. But I can’t agree with rehoming MY dog.”
She then admitted that even if she chose her wife, she’d still have lasting resentment that would affect their marriage. “I have chosen her discomfort over my own happiness,” she said. “But she tells me, rather caustically, that she gets it.” So is she in the wrong for making her choice to put the dog over her wife’s feelings?
The internet was mostly split. “If you don’t like dogs than living with one is really tough,” said Redditor SledgeH4mmer. “It’s basically like someone who hates kids being married to someone with young children. The wife didn’t realize she would hate living with a dog. They should have re-homed it sooner.”
Redditor ChimericalTrainer reminded people that while a majority of people love dogs, not everyone does. “I’m really puzzled by all the folks who seemingly can’t imagine disliking dogs and the stress of living with one if you do,” they wrote. “Even people who like dogs agree that they’re a lot of work! If you dislike them, that ‘a lot of work’ is going to be resented very quickly, whether it’s a lot of work that you’re doing or a lot of work that your partner is doing.”
They continued by saying that not all dogs are a joy to be around for long spans of time. “I agreed to watch my sister’s dog for an extended period of time & he was amazing,” they said. “But then I made the mistake of agreeing to watch someone else’s dog for a very short period of time & by the time that dog was gone, I hated it.”
Others felt that maybe it wasn’t necessarily the dog that was the issue. It could have been the age gap. “Not to be pedantic, but OP was 22 when she and her wife (who was 31 at the time) got the dog,” said wren24. “I’m guessing the age difference between them is a huge part of their issues. It definitely isn’t just about the dog.”
No matter what, this is a situation that you can’t compromise on. And it seems a lot tougher when you’re in it. If a dog is like your child, giving him up will be something that you’ll probably regret forever. It seems like the best way to solve this dispute is through counseling. While the dog will stay, the OP can try to find ways to make sure he doesn’t interact all that much with her wife.
Just let this story remind you that dogs should be a “forever” decision, and both of you will need to put in the time and research to make sure it’s the right choice for you.