Getting a dog as a couple can be a really exciting moment in a relationship. You get to go on dog park dates, have a third couch-cuddling companion, and a semi-legitimate excuse for canceling plans last minute. Life couldn't be better! But in the event of a breakup, giving up or keeping your beloved pup only fuels more heartbreak. Whether you parent a puppy all on your own or push yourself to finally delete all the dog selfies from your phone, there's a chance to grow from the experience. Here, four women reflect on their breakups when a shared pet was in the mix:
“My boyfriend and I at the time adopted an adorable two-month old Jack Russell Terrier-mix. At that point we had been together for only about a year – safe to say it was way too early to take on what is basically having a child together. I ended up keeping the dog after the breakup – he was actually a birthday gift from my boyfriend, so he was always technically mine. Being the sole caretaker was definitely the biggest adjustment – I knew I was responsible before, but this totally turned it around for me.
Once, we actually had a ‘visit’ with my ex. I needed to drop something off that he had left behind at our old place, and offered to bring the dog so he could see him. He was so excited to see my ex, and vice versa. It was tough to realize that without this failed relationship, I wouldn’t have my dog. I guess if you can walk away with at least something positive out of the relationship, it’s not the worst thing in the world. My take-away just so happened to have four legs, a tail, and a surplus of love.
Whenever I have new guys over to my place for the first time, and they meet my dog, sometimes they ask how I got him. Just last week, I mistakenly mentioned that he was a gift. He asked who it was from, and I was so nervous to get into it, I just said 'Oh, a friend.' I’m sure he didn’t buy it, but I definitely wasn’t ready to tell the whole story of my ex."