It is all too common: People fall in love, decide to take the next step and get a puppy—then it doesn’t work out between them. This scenario doesn’t apply just to divorce but to separations, other relationship breakups or a family member moving out. Your dog is emotionally attached to the life you all shared—he or she loves the family unit. The split can be devastatingfor the animal.
Currently, my dog is going through this—I’m moving out, and I have to leave him behind due to unforeseen circumstances. Realistically, I know he will be happier to stay in his current environment. There were a couple factors discussed before the final decision was made, all revolving around the questions below. Remember, each pet is unique and will suffer more or less than others might.
|Happy Dog. CC image courtesy of digital image fan on Flickr.|
1. Who would provide a better quality of life?
2. What is the age of the dog?
3. Who did the dog have a stronger relationship with?
4. Who was the dog’s primary caregiver?
5. Who has adequate space?
6. Which environment would mean for an easier transition?
These questions seem easy enough—but when emotions get involved, it is a different ball game. In our case, fortunately, we both agreed that even though my dog loves me to death, he loves my mom more. She has been there every day of his life for the past 11 years—he wasn’t going anywhere. We based our decision on the questions above, and after observing our dog’s behaviour came to the conclusion that would suit him the best. His age contributed the most to the decision: he is not young enough to be able to adapt easily, and with my mom being home all day, he has company with her.
A recent trend in divorce that includes pets is negotiating shared custody of the dog. The bond between a dog and owners is strong and cannot be broken. Sharing custody of a dog may be confusing and difficult and cause conflict, but if it makes the dog happy and the owners happy, then it is worth a try. It may work for you.
Remember: pets, like us, get depressed and lonely when separated from their home or special person.
—Lindsey Sjouwerman, Marketing Coordinator at Speedpro Imaging Durham