November 15, 2009 4:22 PM   Subscribe

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.

(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!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (37 answers total)
Call the SPCA, they will come out and assess the situation and take the dog and fine him if it is that bad.

If you aren't willing to do that, find another place to live that will take a dog and tell him you want the dog back.
posted by TheBones at 4:25 PM on November 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

Take the dog away from him now. The prime concern here should be the dog's safety; whether or not you get to see her as often, or at all, is beside the point. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but the dog's well-being is your responsibility; I would have taken the dog away from him the moment I saw him hit her/throw her against the wall of the basement. And since you've already found a place for her -- that's where she ought to go.

If you're concerned about his reaction, don't go alone when you go to get the dog.
posted by OolooKitty at 4:38 PM on November 15, 2009 [14 favorites]

Steal the dog when no one is home*. Give it to the folks you set-up for adoption.

*I have NO sympathy for folks who abuse children or animals. I might be a bad person to answer this question for you.

That said, if your ex-bf is really that much a bully - he's probably not going to do anything to you once the dog is gone. He's all bark and no bite, so-to-speak.

If he was less violent, I would confront him and demand the dog. But since that isn't happening, just go get him asap when you know no on is there.

I think you might be making this more complicated than it needs to be.
posted by jbenben at 4:45 PM on November 15, 2009

Seconding Oolookitty. If you truly think your dog is in danger, do something about it. Get her out of there and take her to a no-kill shelter, if necessary. And yes, take backup with you. Then stop communicating with him because it seems that you still have an ongoing relationship with someone who's a little too cruel for comfort.

Do you really need him in your life?
posted by dzaz at 4:45 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

There are two things going on here: 1) animal cruelty, for which you should be able to make a police report and 2) domestic violence. Your dog is playing the role children often do in a DV situation: she is a vehicle for controlling you.

I really concur with those who have already said that you need to find a place to live where you can bring your dog. I also think you should consider protecting yourself from this very abusive person. It cannot hurt to give a ring to a local DV outfit and speak to an advocate.
posted by bearwife at 4:52 PM on November 15, 2009 [6 favorites]

And please consider easing up on yourself. Nothing you have done justifies or has caused your ex's behavior.
posted by bearwife at 4:53 PM on November 15, 2009

Seconding the SPCA. First of all, animal cruelty is illegal. Secondly, your ex is unpredictable and dangerous. One act of violence against this dog, or any animal, is one time too many. If he refuses to give you the dog, I'd be strongly tempted to just let myself into the basement, remove the dog from the premises, and bring her to this new home you have found while your ex is not around, and then refuse to give any details about where she is or even if you had any part in it. I don't know what the legality of that is, but since you are part owner, and he has abused the dog, I don't think he'd have much recourse. IANAL though, so start with your local SPCA/Humane Society.

Also, I'm not clear on whether your ex has been abusive to you, or how dangerous a situation you would be in if he is angered. I hope you take measures to keep yourself safe as well, and reach out for help from the proper authorities and agencies if you need it. Best of luck to you and your pooch.
posted by katemcd at 4:54 PM on November 15, 2009

Mod note: comments removed - you know the drill "shame on you" answers not okay , not ever. thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:56 PM on November 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

Your absolute first responsibility is to the dog's well-being. Period. Your desire to be able to see the dog again, while understandable, is such an extremely distant second that it's essentially irrelevant under the circumstances. Opting for the status quo -- i.e., not upsetting your abusive ex, thus running the risk of the dog being injured or killed (no matter how "good an influence" you hope the new gf might be) -- is not an option you can exercise in good conscience.

Here's what I think your plan should be.

Rehome the dog.

1. Contact a rescue group or a no-kill shelter to see if they will take the dog immediately.

2. If that's not possible, beg a friend or coworker to foster the dog until you can make permanent arrangements.

3. Consider contacting a moderator to say where you're located; it's possible that there's a mefite who will themselves be willing to take the dog, either as a foster or permanently.

4. Last resort: beg your landlord to let you foster the dog temporarily, explaining that it is an emergency and that you WILL rehome the dog by such-and-such date.

Reclaim the dog from your ex as soon as humanly possible.

1. Take a friend (or two) with you while you go get the dog. If you can do it while he's not there; great. If you can only do it while he is there, do not bargain with or try to convince your ex, nor take the bait if he argues/insults you/etc.; he is an abuser and will not discuss this in good faith. You do not owe him a conversation or consideration for his feelings, no matter how much he will try to manipulate you into believing otherwise.

2. If you genuinely feel you or the dog will be in physical danger, call the SPCA and ask if they will go get the dog.
posted by scody at 5:11 PM on November 15, 2009

I'm nthing the idea that you must rescue that dog, ASAP. However positive this new girl may be, I doubt she's going to 'fix' your ex within a month or so of a new relationship. He may be on good behaviour with her right now, but the ugly old abuser will rear his head again. After he kills the puppy, you will definitely never get to see it again.

You have a key. Save the dog. And then tell him it ran away while you were walking it. Make up a story about an angry drunk guy yelling at the park, scaring the dog which then bolted. I assume the dog is already scared of angry men...

And be careful, your ex sounds nasty. Just because he didn't hit you before, doesn't mean he isn't capable of it. He's proven his proclivity for violence.

I'd report him to the SPCA about the facebook cat throwing thing, irregardless...
posted by Sustainable Chiles at 5:12 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Get in touch with the SPCA, show them the cat picture and get the dog the hell out of there.

It really sucks and it's not much of an answer 'casue you have to gamble that she'll find a home through the SPCA, but at least that way she's got a fighting chance. The longer that dog stays with that lunatic, the more abuse she'll suffer and the less adoptable she'll be down the road.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 5:36 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

You need to find the dog a new home. You can't take her, your ex can't be trusted with her - I know that you're attached, but really, you have to do what's best for the dog.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:52 PM on November 15, 2009

follow-up from the OP
I guess my question "What should I do?" was a little vague. I do know that, even though it's a hard choice, I need to give her up. I'm looking for help or support in regards to the best way to do that, given my ex's behavior, things I should say to him, etc. I want to do this in a quick, easy, painless, drama-free, mature way. I think randomly taking her in the middle of the night would be good for my dog, but not so good for me.
posted by jessamyn at 6:56 PM on November 15, 2009

You owe it to the dog to get her out of there. Some ideas: ask the doggy day care place if they can help place her. Try posting on craigslist and indicate that you'd like to place her with someone nearby who will let you dog sit. Whatever you do pls don't leave dog with ex.
posted by bananafish at 7:02 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would just take the dog when he is at work. Avoid the confrontation. You can leave him a short note.
posted by bananafish at 7:06 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think randomly taking her in the middle of the night would be good for my dog, but not so good for me.

I think you need to do what is best for the dog -- a helpless creature who has no defenses, no options, no power of reason or emotional healing -- and then, after you've done that, deal with taking care of your own emotional fallout.

Of course, you should certainly take care to make sure you are physically safe at all times. But, honestly, you have got to (wo)man up here and set aside the idea that your feelings are at the center of the situation. They're not. The dog's safety is paramount. Your feelings come second. Your feelings are real, and you will certainly need to deal with them, and you can do that after you do what's best for the dog. I am not saying this in a scolding tone, but rather a gently firm tone: you got the dog into this mess. Now you get her out.

Yes, it will be hard. Yes, you're going to feel sad and hurt and guilty and confused. Yes, the situation sucks (and no, your ex's terrible behavior is not your fault or your responsibility). Yes, you have a lot of people's sympathy. No, you can't delay.
posted by scody at 7:09 PM on November 15, 2009

he was going to kill her

decision. time. now.
posted by axmikel at 7:24 PM on November 15, 2009

I think it sounds like your ex might be relieved to have you take the dog away.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:33 PM on November 15, 2009 [4 favorites]

Are there still "kennels"-- dog "boarding schools" like my grandparents used 30 years ago?

It's an option for housing the dog and being able to get it back when you find a home that'll allow you "visitation." A shelter won't let you adopt a dog that you dropped off will it?

Also, nthing "go get the dog." Now.
posted by morganw at 9:02 PM on November 15, 2009

I normally wouldn't suggest this but if it makes you feel better, just bold faced lie to him. Tell him your aunt's next door neighbor has been looking for a new dog and loves to go jogging. Of course, in the time you have, use your own social networks (family, friends, co-workers, and a degree of separation away from each of them) to see if anyone is interested in a rescue dog - I imagine some people would appreciate adopting a dog with a known history. Research no-kill shelters, and even though she's mixed, if she has any identifiable breed characteristics she might be able to get into a breed-specific rescue. Good luck and I wish you the best in this tough situation.
posted by fermezporte at 9:13 PM on November 15, 2009

Sorry to disagree with some of the above answers, but your first priority should be your own safety, then the dogs.
posted by Taurid at 10:30 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

but your first priority should be your own safety, then the dogs.

No one has suggested that her own safety isn't a priority; it's why people have suggested that she go when he's not around, go with friends, or contact the SPCA if she has any reason to believe she would be in harm's way.
posted by scody at 10:33 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm looking for help or support in regards to the best way to do that, given my ex's behavior, things I should say to him, etc. I want to do this in a quick, easy, painless, drama-free, mature way.

You go take the dog. You find it another home.

When he asks for an explanation, you say, "I took her because you threw her against a wall and threatened to kill her. You will not see her again."

That's mature, it's straightforward, and it is drama-free.
posted by jayder at 10:47 PM on November 15, 2009 [5 favorites]

I agree with Taurid; this sounds like a dangerous situation, and your safety should come first.
Of course it's important to rescue the dog but your "absolute first responsibility" is making sure you aren't putting yourself in harm's way.

Scody's advice about bringing friends with you when you confront him is right on.
posted by exceptinsects at 11:08 PM on November 15, 2009

Despite the difficult present situation, you did a great thing for yourself by following your instincts and exiting a relationship with someone who, retrospect or not, is clearly an abuser. And you're continuing to do the right thing by cutting this person out of your life completely and by taking control back for yourself and for your dog.

From here on out, your ex has forfeited all of his rights to contact with you and contact with the dog. You're right to stay calm and mature and direct, but not out of ethical necessity towards your ex because he deserves nothing of the sort. Calm, mature, direct communication followed by a complete 100% cutoff while keeping your friends and family alert of the ongoing situation is key. Because he will look for another avenue of control and your friends and family need to know that they should not act as messengers for his sake or to share your personal information with him. For the sake of the adopting family, he should not know their contact information ever.

I think ultimately picking up the dog with one or more burly, levelheaded friends is a good idea. He doesn't deserve a face-to-face confrontation and you could go when you know for sure he's not home and leave a note with the key. Be prepared for the certainty that he will try to start drama once he realizes that his button for control is gone. Jayder's script is good because it is direct, describes events and is totally clear. Also add, "I will not talk with you again, either, because of the abuse I witnessed." Then follow through 100%. He deserves no extra explanation: Just one, single, very clear preplanned message. He will try to convince you that you're being unreasonable, and overreacting or he will make an excuse. You are not being unreasonable. He deserves no more information or interaction after that and to give him any extra interaction would just encourage him to try to look for more ways of controlling and getting a rise out of you.

One thing that I've learned on my journey and through training is that witnesses to abuse are also victims of abuse and require healing. Please do not rationalize yourself out of the resources that exist for staying safe and healing from violence. For instance, DV case workers (Try the local YWCA for starters) have a lot of experience with exactly this situation.
posted by Skwirl at 2:36 AM on November 16, 2009 [3 favorites]

It sounds like he's not the right owner for this dog. He doesn't have time for her AND he's abusive. I don't think that you're staying out of the situation and leaving things "status quo" will change or make better this situation. The dog's behavior is enraging him. If you cannot find a place to live that allows dogs, you must find a way to take that dog out of that situation per the many suggestions offered here. It's heartbreaking to think you might not see her again, but better she be alive and safe with someone else. Someone who is kind to animals and an appropriate animal owner wouldn't even consider doing the things you've described him doing, so I find it hard to believe that he'll reform and stop treating her badly just because another woman comes into the picture.
posted by FlyByDay at 3:16 AM on November 16, 2009

I agree with just about everything that has been said above. Save the dog, and protect yourself and the pup in the process. Safety in numbers, and all that.

But I'll also offer another perspective that I don't think anyone has really touched on.

Perhaps he is using the dog as a pawn to keep a connection to you. I've seen this happen several times, where some meaningful "item" from a time when a couple were together is kept by one party and used as a lever, or foot in the door, with the other... a reason to keep in contact. "Hey, the dog is sick... come over so we can discuss what we're gonna do about it, over dinner".

Rescue the dog, and follow one of the good suggestions above. Then cut the guy out of your life completely. He sounds like bad news, frankly.
posted by Diag at 4:14 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

I know it's been said, but please, please, please get the dog out of this situation. Your boyfriend should not have control of this dog. You need to stir up shit to make this happen, unavoidablely. Does the person who said they would take the dog still want her? Call them and make sure.

Please don't be worried about upsetting your ex, or whether he can turn your mutual friends against you - if this is true, they are not your friends and it's a moot point. Go tomorrow, if possible, with a big friend to whom you have told the history and who is a dog lover.

Don't meet with your ex in person to talk about it. Don't keep texting back and forth. That's giving him control over an animal that he threw against a wall.

You've seen him do this. You have no idea what he does when you aren't around, and your dog can't tell you. This trumps your emotional pain, which I understand is real and valid. Your boyfriend gets mad that you took the dog? Tough shit. Is he going to call the cops? I doubt it. You have enough ammo to keep him at bay. Leave him a short note that you found the dog a good home with someone who wants her and can take of her, and then cut off contact for good. It's hard, but possible.
posted by amicamentis at 7:26 AM on November 16, 2009

Get the dog out and then cease all communication with this guy. Get the dog in a safe manner (while he's not home and with friends accompanying you), report the Facebook picture to the police/SPCA, and then never speak to him again. Block his number and his email address. Aside from the fact that he's a vile human being who is abusing animals, he's a vile human being who will remain in your life as long as you have this dog in common. I know you'll miss the dog, but as long as one of you has her, you'll never be rid of this guy. And you need to be rid of him.

I'm sorry you're going through this--what a miserable thing to have to deal with.
posted by Mavri at 8:03 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'm looking for help or support in regards to the best way to do that, given my ex's behavior, things I should say to him, etc.

Say nothing in advance. Do not call, text, email, or otherwise warn him. Do not give him opportunity or ammunition to create drama. Just get a trustworthy friend or two to go with you, use your key to get the dog while the ex isn't home, and leave the key. If you feel a need to explain, leave a note with the key telling him, "[Dog] has a new home where she will be safe. I could not in good conscience leave her with you after seeing you abuse her. Here is your key." Then do not respond to any efforts he makes to contact you. You've given him his key and all the information he needs to know. You're done.

I want to do this in a quick, easy, painless, drama-free, mature way. I think randomly taking her in the middle of the night would be good for my dog, but not so good for me.

Taking her when you have the best chance of ensuring both your personal safety and hers, as well as the best chance of a successful re-homing is the quickest, easiest, least dramatic, most mature approach to the situation. Engaging with your dog-abusing, girlfriend-scaring ex in discussion or negotiation about it is likely to either stir up drama or significantly reduce your odds of getting her out of that situation and into a safe one. He will not engage in good faith and with the dog's best interests at heart. There are times to negotiate and times to act. This is a time to act.
posted by notashroom at 12:23 PM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think randomly taking her in the middle of the night would be good for my dog, but not so good for me.

What are you looking to get out of this? I don't see why it would be so bad for you to avoid seeing your ex and have him think the dog ran away. It seems to me it would be worse for your feelings and personal safety to have to discuss this with him.

Consider how you will feel if he hurts or kills the dog because you are wanting to keep up your visiting time.
posted by yohko at 12:56 PM on November 16, 2009

Just an idea. This might work out being best for everyone. I'm trying to have you save the dog and not put your safety in jeopardy at the same time. So if you could get your ex-boyfriend to willingly place the dog in your hands, it might be best. First off, figure out how much saving the dog means to you. I now your probably saying plenty, but I'm talking money wise. Figure that out and then contact this scumbag, but be on your very best behavior. You should have a good idea of how this guy thinks since your his ex. I'm talking about how to get on his good side, and I use the word "good" loosely. Have a money amount in mind and maybe offer to buy the dog. Don't tell him your highest amount, and definitely don't tell him your trying to save the dog from him. Don't mention any abuse or why your doing this. Make up some story that a friend would love to have the dog or something he'll believe. Like I said, you should know something about how his mind works and what is best to say (and NOT to say). I'd set up a meeting between you and him and have someone there with you. Make sure you meet in a place with others ( public) and offer to buy the dog. You could have him bring the dog with him and make sure you have the cash. Strictly cash. He might just agree after you talk to him and if he sees a chance to get some fast cash. I think it might be something to think about. I know its not the perfect solution, but it may be a solution. Sometimes the only way to fix something is plan B, C or even G or H.
One last thing, if you do offer him money, start out offering him less and maybe work up. Make out like your giving him your last dollar. Maybe if the other person or persons your with hold some of money and you have to "borrow" it from them. Oh yeah, and try to get a receipt ( signed) if you can. Have this made out ahead of time.
It would turn my stomach offering money to a a-hole like this, but if it works.....

Good luck.
posted by Taurid at 4:09 PM on November 17, 2009

follow-up from the OP
Well, everything has gone to hell. I went over last week, just to watch the dog, and I foolishly engaged him in conversation. He said that the dog was his, 100% (the papers are in his name, even though we split all of the costs) and that she wasn't my dog or our dog. He accused me of breaking into his apartment, he told me to give back the basement key and leave or he'd call the police. I should've let him call the police, but I was hysterical and crying at that point. I've returned the key and I haven't been back since. I've emailed the local no-kill shelter and have been playing phone tag with them, but they haven't gotten back to me. I talked to someone from animal control, and they think I have a good case. I'm so scared right now. I'm really afraid that he's going to retaliate against me if I do anything to save this dog. I wonder if it's worth it anymore. Please, please help me. I have a throw-away account:
posted by jessamyn at 8:40 AM on November 24, 2009

You ignored the vast majority of the advice you received and made the situation worse. I'm not sure what kind of further help you hope to receive here. You could try to google for local DV resources, a hotline or something, to try to find someone to talk to. I really really hope you follow through and get this dog out of there. It sounds like animal control may be the best bet, but you'll probably have to be proactive and push them to act.
posted by Mavri at 10:07 AM on November 24, 2009

I'm so scared right now. I'm really afraid that he's going to retaliate against me if I do anything to save this dog. I wonder if it's worth it anymore.

It sounds like you still have your head up your ass. What in the hell do you think he could possibly do to you? Turn your friends against you? Make you feel bad about yourself? Force you to stand up to him? The horrors!

You completely ignored everything that anyone said here. People said, "go when he's not there", and you went when he was there even though you know when he has to work. People said, "take a friend" and you went alone, ending up hysterical, giving up your key and any power you had to save the dog. People said, "Get that dog out of there", and you went just to hang out with the dog.

You're right. That was foolish. I hope those last few minutes of conversation with your ex were worth your dog's life.

So, now what? You're playing phone tag with a shelter. If it were me, I would call the police after first documenting every act of abuse I have witnessed. I wouldn't get my hopes up, though, unless you have a mighty sympathetic ear on the other line.
posted by amicamentis at 1:35 PM on November 24, 2009

I'm dismayed to hear that you ignored all the good advice in this thread. You've got very few options left, unfortunately. The only thing I would suggest at this point is to go in person to either animal control to see how you can get the ball rolling ASAP, since you say someone there said you have a "good case." Do it tomorrow, before the long holiday weekend starts.

Then, if I may be so bold, I would suggest that you think long, hard, and honestly about why, despite all the advice to the contrary, the one choice you made was not to behave urgently with regard to the dog's safety, but rather to continue to string out the drama with your ex -- because that's what your actions seem to have been about, even if it's not evident to you. My hunch, having been in strung-out relationships before (though never one that involved these exact circumstances), is that you were hoping on some level to have the satisfaction of getting the last word with him or in wringing an apology from him, or some other way of getting "closure" from him. If that's the case, I will tell you this: getting closure from someone else is, generally speaking, bullshit. Other people don't "give us" closure. When closure happens -- and it doesn't, not always -- it happens because we grant it to ourselves through our own actions and by moving forward on our own terms.

So take action. Go to animal control and ask them specifically what needs to be done from here on out to save the dog. If you actually believe yourself to be in danger from your ex, contact the police and/or your local women's crisis hotline. And by all means, cease all contact with your ex.
posted by scody at 4:32 PM on November 24, 2009

whoops, sorry, should have been "go in person to either the shelter you've contacted and/or animal control..."
posted by scody at 4:42 PM on November 24, 2009

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