But... my dog *has* a job. She loves me!
July 22, 2008 12:12 PM Subscribe
Man who was raised in a culture where animals are meant to be working on a farm and not kept for fun... dating a dog-lovin' woman who owns a face-licking puppy. Clearly not a long-term match perhaps, but how to ease the discomfort of either party, respect everyone's feelings, and bypass disagreements?
posted by miss lynnster to human relations (69 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My 12 pound dog is well trained, cute (to everyone but him), and very sweet. She's polite and under voice control. We're very attached, she goes almost everywhere with me. She sleeps at the foot of my bed, and I like her there. I love this dog and she LOVES people, including this man. She wants to say hello and play, and he just stares at her. Sometimes he'll pet her... but later he'll act like he deserved a medal for it. He says he doesn't like pets because they're a responsibility. I tell him, "my dog is MY responsibility though, it doesn't affect you. And you have two children so those are responsibilities too. Many good things in life are responsibilities."
I don't force my dog on him. But I'm not going to hide her, and I can't always control that she wants to say hello to him... she's naturally affectionate (normally not a bad thing). I tell him "I love my dog, sorry but ya gotta deal with it." His favorite argument is that he doesn't understand why people adopt dogs instead of giving a home to a child. Many conversations about pets end up at this argument... which isn't won by saying, "Well, I wanted a dog *because* I didn't WANT a child." I also tried once to compare it to him loving soccer and me hating it but watching it with him anyhow. He says that's a bad comparison.
I know and respect that this is all cultural. I was raised by people who felt that a home isn't complete without a dog curled up at your feet. He was raised in a country where dogs are vermin and animals that are owned by humans live outdoors and are there for a purpose. They're kept solely to have jobs. He resents it that American society implies if you don't love "useless" pets you are lacking compassion. I see his point, because that was my first reaction. But I also think he holds that social pressure against the animals more than actually disliking them... kind of an "Everyone says I have to do this so screw that, I'm not going to. Everyone thinks I have to like pets? Well, no! I HATE DOGS! So there!" It's a bit of a soapbox for him, and it gets tiring because I'm not telling him how to feel, but *I'm* not going to change when I own a dog I adore with all of my heart. He says "Well, I'm fine with you liking your dog. You can keep liking your dog." And then I get annoyed because... why would I need his approval.
As you can tell, it's the conversations about it that get on my nerves more than anything. Every time the topic comes up (even when he hasn't seen my dog for months) my head starts to hurt. I would like it to be a non-issue.
Lately I've just stopped inviting him over and just go to his place. But in the future he'll be visiting me in another city so that won't be an option. When he used to come over to my house, I'd crate my dog sometimes. Other times I'd let her loose and he'd tolerate her. But I saw that her personality started to change as did mine... she seemed kind of depressed because I wasn't giving her as much attention. She would slink away when she wanted to show him love and he didn't respond favorably (she's used to people on the street happily rubbing her belly), and when I'd try to crate her she started to cower and whimper like I was being mean. It's hard for me because in my mind, she's my baby (he winces when I say that) and frankly, it's HER house more than it is his. But dogs are dogs and people are people and I want to respect his issue. I'm allergic to cats but have learned to like my friends cats and respect that it's their home and not mine. I'm flexible like that, though. Not sure he is ready to think that way. Not sure how to make this situation totally comfortable for all people and puppies involved, or if I even can.
Any suggestions on how to keep this from being a repeated topic of conversation and stress? To be honest, if I have to choose between the two... the dog wins. But I would rather not have to go there. I'd like to appreciate the good parts of my relationship with him and adore my beloved puppy too, without the two clashing.
Sorry this is so long.