I discussed this subject over a year ago on one of the German Shepherd Dog lists that I belong to. I thought I’d bring it up again for those who didn’t see it and for my readers who don’t belong to these e-mail lists.
So you meet the love of your life and he/she has everything that you are looking for in a potential partner except one thing……he doesn’t like dogs. Oh it’s not that he doesn’t like them, he just doesn’t want to live with them. He’s of that old school thinking that a dog is just a dog. He doesn’t feel like you do that the dog is part of your family and you could never see living your life without one of them to share it with. Can you sway him over to your way of thinking about your canine friends? If you did talk him into accepting a dog, will he be happy with the arrangement or will it cause problems in your relationship?
Let’s face it, not everyone wants a dog kissing them, pawing at them, jumping on them and leaving their hair all over everything that they come into contact with. It takes a very special kind of person to share their life with a dog. Perhaps he never owned a dog in his life. Maybe his mother was a “cleanliness freak” and would faint having a dog come into her house to mess it up. Maybe he just believes that a dog is an animal and is expected to live outside, but not in the house that he dwells in. It doesn’t make him wrong and you right. It’s just the different ways that we were brought up.
Perhaps you’re saying to yourself that you could never be with someone who didn’t share your love of animals and especially of your dog. You’re of the thought……love me, love my dog. Well we don’t choose who we fall in love with. You have chemistry with this person and you want to be with him. When you’re in a new relationship, sometime sacrifices and adjustments have to be made. Love is about making compromises to make one another happy. Having one dog will be adjustment enough for the non-pet lover. But what about those of us who have more than one dog? How will the new “love of your life” cope with that? Well you’re probably saying that you had your dogs first and if he wants to be with you, then he’s going to have accept your dogs. If he has a hard time with this, do you let him walk out of your life or do you make some adjustments? Someone is going to lose here. The dogs or your love interest.
I know of people who are in these types of relationships. One of them lives, loves and breathes dogs. The other “tolerates” it because of his partner’s commitment to her animals. Is he happy with this arrangement? Probably not, but because he loves her and wants to make her happy, he accepts it. The real problems start when the one who loves the dogs expects her partner to share in the work and upkeep of taking care of dogs. Little by little she may ask him to help feed them, pick up after them, bring them in, etc. This is where the animosity can set in. You may have talked him into living with your animals, but he didn’t sign up to take care of them. If both people can accept one another’s limitations and work with one another so you are both happy, then this arrangement can work out. He may never share your love for them, but he can grow to accept them and that can lead to a happy environment to co-exist in.
No one would want to be put in a situation where they would have to choose between the human type of love and the love they feel for their dog. Ideally it would be best to marry someone who loved animals like you do, but that’s in an ideal world. It doesn’t always work out that way. The best thing to do is to be honest right up front in the beginning of a new relationship. This way there are no surprises later. This is when one can choose to walk away if they can’t accept animals in their lives. All you animal lovers are probably saying you wouldn’t want to be with someone who didn’t share your love of animals anyway.
Let’s take this one step further. So you find someone who although never had a dog will accept your dog/dogs and it seems like you found a match made in Heaven! There’s just one other little thing that you need to tell this “angelic” soul mate. You breed your dogs. There will be puppies and the associated smell that comes with them. You have a stud dog and bitches will be coming to stay at your house. You might have to drive to the airport a few times a month to pick up the pretty ladies. You’re going to need him to help you breed the two dogs. This might just prove too much for the non-dog lover. You just might be pushing it with that kind of request.
You need to let him know that there is a thing called dog shows and you like going to them very much. Sometimes there’s more than one show on a week-end. Then there’s that really big show in the fall called the National Specialty show and it will normally run for about a week. You got to let him know that this is how you spend your vacation money. He needs to know that there will be dog runs and dog houses displayed across his backyard. His beautiful green lawn will now be decorated with little yellow patches here and there just to add a little interest. It’s probably a good idea to let him know that “Rocky” likes to share your bed and will be quite upset relinquishing it to him.
So if “Mister Wonderful” can accept you not smelling of that sexy little designer fragrance he loved when you first met him for the “doggie” aroma that assaults his nostrils now, then he’s a keeper. If he can accept you wearing sweat pants a lot more than those tight jeans he turned around and followed you into the supermarket for, then he loves you just the way you are. He might not love the dogs (not the way that you do), but because he loves you, the dogs are now a part of BOTH of your lives. And because you love him, you may find that you too will make sacrifices and compromises to keep peace and harmony in your relationship.
My rating: dog lover with a non-dog lover: (2 -3)