DEAR AMY: For the past two years my son (now age 9) has been asking for a dog. I’ve been saying no because while I like dogs, I prefer them in other people’s houses.
I didn’t want to take on the considerable expense and care for a dog.
Four months ago, I had a brain aneurysm. Thankfully, I am OK and recovering. However, during my recovery in the hospital I thought I was dying and that it would be a good idea for my son to have a dog to love in the event that I did die.
I was coming off anesthesia and on a lot of pain medication. Unfortunately, my husband took me at my word and got this dog. I was home recovering when that happened, so I wasn’t able to put a stop to it. Now I’m saddled with a dog I don’t want.
I am irritated, annoyed, and resentful. I work from home about 60 percent of the time, and so it falls on me to walk her twice a day. My husband/son do it the rest of the time.
I’m not happy about this. I would like to responsibly re-home her, but I don’t know how to discuss this with my son. He loves her and I’m afraid he’ll never forgive me. Can you help me with a suggestion on how to approach this – or cope?
DEAR NOT-WOOF: This is tricky because your health still seems shaky. But understand, too, that your near-death experience will have affected your son in profound and possibly traumatic ways. This dog may be important to him even beyond the normal child-dog devotion because of what your family has been through. This dog is not expendable. Giving it away now could have a profound impact on him.
I hope you can give this more time and explore common-sense ways to ease this burden for you. If there is a nearby kennel, doggy daycare, or experienced pet sitter, perhaps your husband could drop off the dog during the day for three or four days a week and you could pick her up at the end of your workday. This would give you privacy, and might give the dog important canine interaction. Hiring a dog-walker would also give you a break.
It sounds as if your husband and son are stepping up when they are home, which is great.
It is imperative that your husband work with you and support your efforts.