ASK AMY

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Life - Email Amy: [email protected] dick­in­son.com

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?

Not-Woof

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.

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