I used to live with my dog and (now) ex-boyfriend. I moved out. Dog now lives with him. I live in apartment that doesn't allow dogs. Ex is abusive to dog. She can't stay with me, she can't stay with him, even though he wants to keep her. If I find her a new home, she'll be safe, but I won't get to see her again and my ex might retaliate against me. If I leave her there, I'll get to see her more often, but my ex could flip out and hurt her. I'm not sure how to do what I need to do.
posted by anonymous to human relations (37 answers total)
(I'm asking this anonymously, so I'm trying to include as many details as I can)
Ex-boyfriend and I lived together, had a dog. Two months ago, I moved out to an apartment that doesn't allow dogs, so the dog stayed with him. I still watched the dog on the weekends because he works long weekend shifts. The ex has a backyard, but it's not fenced-in, so she stays in a kennel in the basement when he's gone. I have a key to the basement, but not his actual house. So, when I watch her, I let her out, feed her, take her on walks and sometimes sneak her up to my apartment for 3-4 hours each Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes, I'd pay for her to stay at a doggie-daycare facility if I need a break. She's a high-energy mixed breed, so she needs lots of attention.
The ex used to keep her on a leash in the basement so that she could move around, but about two weeks ago, the dog got loose and tore up a bunch of stuff. My ex's response was to throw her out of the house in the middle of the night (he lives near a very busy street, the dog could've been killed). He sent me a text-message (at one in the morning) saying "I've had it with this dog. Come get her or I'm going to let her loose all night". I got the message the next morning, and raced to his place, half expecting the dog to be dead. Fortunately, she wasn't. He showed me the damage she did. He then proceeded to grab her, yell at her, throw her against the wall, and told me that she couldn't live there anymore and that he was going to kill her if she continued to be destructive.
This was not the first time he's been abusive to her. Normally, he's fine, but if she doesn't act the way he wants her to, there have been times that he's hit her or just dropped the leash and walked away from her when he took her for walks. And! There's a picture of him throwing a cat on facebook (with accompanying "OMGLULZ! I threw a cat" comments). His hand is around the cat's neck and the cat is upside down, in the air.
I immediately started looking for a new home for my puppy. It was a heart-breaking process, because I knew that it meant that I probably wouldn't see her again, at least as not as much as I do now. But I wanted her to be safe and happy. I finally found a place for her, last week, and when I told him (via text message), he said that he'd changed his mind and that he (and his new girlfriend) wanted to keep her.
I sent him a very pissed-off message about how I was worried about her safety and how angry I was at him.
To his credit, he asked me if I wanted to talk about all of this in person. I'd rather not see him ever again, but we need to get this taken care of. I want my dog to be safe, but I'm afraid of stirring up shit with the ex.
I'm just really scared that he'll do something drastic, like change the locks on the basement and make sure I never see her again or turn all of his mutual friends against me, saying that I'm just trying to hurt him.
I don't know what the best course of action is in this situation.
The best thing for all parties involved is to get the dog a new home, that way I don't have to worry about what will happen to her the next time she does something wrong. And then I'd never have to see my ex again. (Yes!) But then that means directly confronting my ex, and I don't know how that will turn out. Clearly, he has anger issues. He never hit me when we were together, but I was very frequently afraid of his anger. He's very reactionary; if someone hurts him, he's going to hurt them back.
I wish I could take the dog myself, but as I mentioned before, I can't have dogs at my apartment (I did look for apartments that did allow dogs, but they were out of my price range, or in bad parts of town. Also, I moved out of my ex's place before we officially broke up, so I wasn't worried about the dog part, I just assumed she'd stay there). I work 6 days a week and I don't have the time nor the energy to give her the attention and exercise she needs. As it is, I'm wearing myself out trying to spend several hours a day with her on the weekends. Plus, it's getting colder now. We can't take 2 hour walks for much longer.
Then there's the status quo, leave her where she is, avoid upsetting the ex, and get to see the dog more often. It seems that the ex's new girlfriend is a positive force in his life and she's been a good caregiver to the dog so far, from what little I've seen.
I don't know what to do. Or, I guess I do know what to do, I just don't know the best way to go about doing it.
If/when I go talk to him, what's the best way to approach him? How do I even start the conversation other than "AAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGG!"?
Suggestions, pep talks, and all other forms of help are desperately needed. Thanks!