Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My spouse and the animals

Sometimes I think we are at an impasse when it comes to having pets...and then we don't.

Let me back up a bit. My wife is a dog lover and I am a cat person. Few years ago when my older daughter was born, my wife let me know that our cats had to go. She was afraid of the baby getting taxoplasmosis despite my assurances that this wouldn't happen if we clean the cat litter regularly. She wouldn't hear me out.

We made a deal - in exchange of the cats going, she would not get another dog when her dog dies. Her dog died 6 months ago after living with her for 14 years. We got another dog 2 months ago. So how do I deal with that?

Yes, I felt negatively about my wife not keeping her part of the deal...but the girls WANT a dog. Never mind the fact that she was "encouraging" them to beg me for a dog. I knew I was creating an impasse by not going along with this.

She let me know that she was going to do this anyway and I let her know that I was still against this. The perceived impasse (in my mind, that is) was not an impasse after all - she had every intention of going through with adopting a dog. This did create some stress in our relationship...before, during, and after the adoption...and I resented the dog even though it was not the dog's fault.

However, the dog was not calm or respectful. Kept getting into things, chewed things up, ate things, playfully bite us (sometimes too hard), and all kinds of unwanted behavior patterns. I decided to take the high road and I rented a whole bunch of DVDs of The Dog Whisperer...and they really didn't bother to watch any episode of it.

Sighs. I have to instruct everyone on how to address the unwanted behavior patterns after I watch Cesar Milan every week. The problem is the dog focuses on me more than others when she wants to play...and how does she let me know? She barks at me or lunges for my hand. If only she would stay calm...

I do hope that the dog learns because I am willing to meet not only my wife halfway, but the dog too. We have this family dynamic relationship and I have to balance my resentment with patience and kindness.


Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I am actually a dog person also, but if my spouse just went out and got a cat after we had agreed that, that wasn't going to happen, I'd feel the same way as you.

I think that is disrespectfuk to a spouse but it happens all the time. I've heard of spouses getting new electronic equipment and cars and pets, etc. And it can create a big riff or give an excuse for the other half to use that against them.

So that is great that you are learning how to get past that resentment and learning how to cope.

Nice post!

TisforTonya said...

Not a cat person... or a dog person... heck, I'm hoping that I can still call myself a people person after raising my kids... I don't think it's really about the animals as much as it is about the respect... and maybe the dirty play of dragging the kids into it by having them beg...

Yay for you taking the high road and realizing that there is a way to make this work... good luck with the dog training!

DCHY said...

Shelle - thank you. I am working on myself and the dog is slowly getting better. Frustrates me at times when she reverts back to old ways.

T - you're right about the dirty play. I did let her know that I do not plan to be the person that de-poops the yard when it needs to be mowed. That's the price she has to pay. ;)

Shayna @ Texas Monkey said...

I'm very impressed with the way you are handling this and taking the high road. It says alot about your. I don't think it's whether you are a cat or dog person but the fact that ya'll had an agreement and not only has that agreement been broken but anything after hasn't been respected. Can I suggest the book Love and Respect? A man needs to be respected like a woman needs to be loved and unfortunately here you are not being respected.
But I will say that you are doing right by the dog by trying to train him and work with him, hope it works out for you.

heelsnstocking said...

I think that the whole family needs to take some responsibilty for their decission to have a pet dog and not leave you with the problem.

If it was me I would have to assert the problem back to them to deal with. Having pets are a great way for kids to learn responsibilty and I think your wife should lead from the front with you on this.


kyooty said...

I'd probably lose my mind if hubbie came home with a critter that we didn't agree on. Our Cat was a compromise, he wanted a RAT! I brought him home a cat!

DCHY said...

Shanya - the book is more for my wife than me, right? ;)

HNS - you're absolutely correct. She sometimes doesn't see beyond the now. Right now, I am home and I have the dog to care for when I didn't choose the dog. That's the "now".

Kyooty - I would welcome fish, rats, rabbits, etc. as long as that's not a dog. ;)

Genevieve said...

We've had cats and dogs over the years, currently 1 cat, 2 dogs, and I have mixed feelings about them all. I was always the cat lover, but the one we have now hates everything and everyone except our son. The dog we had years ago was brought in when I wasn't home, before I could have an opinion. But he was soooo cute and furry and hubby handled most of his needs. When that dog died it wasn't long before he wanted another little friend so I agreed. Then a couple years after that I rescued a dog who really needed a good home. They are both very loving animals and bring some nice things to our life and family but there are days when I want to open the door and let them GO!!! And at night, when we're fighting for our bed and blankets I really wish we didn't have them but then they look up at me with those big loving eyes, or snuggle close if I'm not feeling well, and then I know I'm in this for the long haul.

Good post! It's great you are trying to manage things with patience and kindness. Bravo!

Kate said...

Good job with trying to 'make it work', but it is not all your job to do that. Your wife brought the dog home, and maybe she can take the dog (along with a kid or two) to a obedience or socialization class.

I work at a vet's office and we see this a lot. Consistant training with all family members is the key.

I enjoyed your post. :)

Welcome to the Garden of Egan said...

A cat person definitely! Hubs not an animal person at all.
There is no agreement or pact. I get what I want. End of story.
I love cats!
The cats love my hubs.
I love watching him PRETEND to hate the cats.
I know better.
They leave their fur on his white shirts (he shouldn't lay them on the bed)

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Thank goodness for GOE for bringing to my attention that I said, "disrespectfuk" instead of "disrespectful"!!!

Holy cow! Talk about a freudian slip there!

I meant disrespectful! TYVM!

Florida Dom said...

I hope you and the rest of the family work this out.


DCHY said...

Genevieve - thanks for sharing your thoughts on that.

Kate - you are absolutely correct. I do not plan to do this all by myself. My wife is well-aware that she needs to be consistent as well. Glad you enjoyed the post.

Garden of Egan - you're terrible...and I love it. LOL

Shelle - I didn't say anything...just to see what happens. Hehe

Florida Dom - me too...me too.