Here’s a treat (a milkbone, to be specific):
DEAR ABBY: I love dogs, but they’re ruining my marriage. “Ivan” and I have been together 12 years, married for five. Six years ago, he had to put his aged, sickly pointer, “Sergeant,” to sleep.
Two years ago, I began suggesting that we get another dog. I felt Ivan had mourned Sergeant long enough, and it was time for another. We found a lovely King Charles spaniel that we named Lili. We spent a lot of fun time with her that spring and summer, then thought a playmate might be good company for her during the day while we were at work. We found Branford, another spaniel.
At night we’d put both dogs in the kitchen, tell them goodnight, put up a gate and go to bed. But Branford would cry. I told Ivan he’d stop eventually, but Ivan couldn’t just leave him, so he began bringing the two dogs into our bedroom and allowing them to sleep at the foot of our bed. I have pleaded with Ivan to return them downstairs, but he won’t consider it.
Guess where they’re sleeping today? IN the bed. Guess where I’m sleeping? On the couch downstairs.
We haven’t been out on a date since the dogs arrived. We don’t go out with friends because we must be back by 10 p.m. — the dogs’ bedtime, and Ivan’s, too, of course. He is oblivious to me from the time he goes to bed with the dogs. We haven’t had sex in a year.
Everything is about the dogs. He even prepares their meals from scratch each day — boiled chicken with rice, peas and carrots. He says: “I told you I get attached to dogs. You said you wanted them; this is what you have to deal with.” I am at my breaking point. Help! — ONLY HIS WIFE IN WILMINGTON
Yikes. I know people like this, but they aren’t married….
It makes me feel bad for the dogs. Don’t they just want to be left alone? I mean, loved and played with, but not, like, tucked into their silken sheets at 10 p.m. each night?
My question is…how does this state come about? Is it likely that people who are like this with their dogs were alone (with their dogs) for many years? Are they lonely? Are they using the dogs as child-replacement? Did a dog save their life once? Have they witnessed more than the usual amount of animal mistreatment and abuse, and want to make up for it (all on their own two dogs)?
My parents’ dog sleeps on their bed…but only because they’re both OK with it–sure, there’s the unpleasant moment when you wake up at 5 a.m. and the dog’s foot is in your stomach and butt is in your face. But neither of them has moved to the couch yet…if they did, you can bet that the dog would be booted in an instant. Rather, he’d be booted before it came to that.
If this guy doesn’t step up and re-train these dogs (which he doesn’t seem apt to do), they’ll get the wrong idea about whose head of the house (probably have already) and turn against Wife if she tries to re-kindle the marriage. I’m not real optimistic for these folks.