Advice

Dog eat girl world: Readers respond to the case of the devout dog-dad boyfriend

A recent Wanda & Wayne advice column attempted to advise a woman trying her best to understand and expand her relationship with her pooch-obsessed boyfriend, “I’m dating a great guy, but his dog’s outsized role is cramping our relationship,” March 12.

Readers barked and howled their opinions. Not surprising, most responses were pro-dog; somewhat surprising, many supported the over-the-top dog owner; and most surprising, few backed the girlfriend who wanted some dog-free time with her boyfriend. This included a no-dog Hawaii trip. While Wanda and Wayne felt these were perfectly reasonable requests, the boyfriend didn’t want to trust his beloved pooch to a stranger’s care.

Many ignored that the girlfriend was asking for advice and instead sent their feedback directly to the boyfriend/doggie duo. The short-and-not-so-sweet “Dump her” was a common cry, while others’ advice was a tad more thoughtful. TSW said, “Adios, chica. Don’t let the dog door hit you in the ...” Johni C. added, “The dog hating chick needs to find a petless boyfriend. Please leave that wonderful dog loving guy alone so he can find a lady that loves dogs as much as he does.”

A reader named Sine A. commented, “The dog is clearly a central part of the boyfriend’s life. If the new girlfriend does not accept this, she needs to hit the road.” Lydia P. emailed, “People are either dog lovers or not. This woman will never accept the dog (or) understand the bond between the boyfriend and his dog. … Your advice should be to the boyfriend: tell him to run not walk away from this woman.”

Larry C. closed with, “I don’t see one issue here. Keep the dog. Drop the girl. I would take my dog on every vacation.”

A few folks were understanding of the girlfriend’s situation, though admitted this likely won’t work out. Jim D. wrote, “Girlfriend comes first. If this is not the case, break up. It will not last.” Heather T. added that the relationship “sounds like an essential mismatch of values and lifestyle. Pet people are happiest with other pet people.”

Katie R. had some sensible musings on the realities of traveling with pets: “I adore my pets. But i hate traveling with animals. On a vacation, I don’t want to be on a dog’s schedule. … Lots of people here hating on the gf. There’s good reason for not wanting to travel with animals. Doesn’t necessarily mean the person is mean or cold.” Along the same lines, Sandy S. jumped in with, “Even parents of human children take a vacation without their kids if they have someone safe to care for them! If you don’t want to be a threesome every minute, find a different boyfriend.”

And surely Sue B. spoke for many when she said, “I have a dog I dearly love but this guy’s taking it a bit far.”

J.H. provided advice for both parties: “I have a beautiful 1-year-old dog who I adore, but leave in a daycare or with others as necessary. … Yes, guy needs to learn how to leave his animal in the care of others. But is she going to be with someone long term and possibly live with someone who has an animal? Seems like a slippery slope and hopefully one she will seriously evaluate. Compromise is necessary in a relationship and maybe she will come to learn to love his pup.”

And finally, many readers pointed out a Maui-sized hole in dragging a dog to the islands for a short sojourn.

Dog-lover Will explained it well: “Going to Hawaii with a dog is a huge pain. You must time rabies shots just right; use a particular flea medication; coordinate with a clinic for ‘immediate release’ or your pet will spend up to four days on hold as paperwork is reviewed. … The costs before travel, flying the pet, processing fees upon arrival can run over $600. Get one thing wrong and your fur-child sits in a cage in quarantine while your vacation becomes an anxiety-fraught miserable experience.”

Kara A. agreed, writing, “Flying an animal *anywhere* can be quite traumatic to the pet. … Dog Guy is being selfish. It’s much better for his pup to become accustomed to a good service, a petsitter, or a friend.” I Love Hawaii and My Dog put a bow on it, writing, “I would not subject my pet to these requirements, nor wish to bear the significant cost.”

Wayne says:

Thank you! I was so passionate in writing my response, I cut out the part where I asked, ‘Who takes an Alaska dog to Hawaii anyway?’ Someone selfish, that’s who. After a long scary trip in the belly of a plane, the dog will likely stay in quarantine. Think the dog would prefer a cage in sweltering heat and a strange place or staying home with a sitter, at a friend’s place, or at a kennel with its pet buddies?

Wanda says:

Doggone it, Wayne is right. As were many of you with your insightful, impassioned comments. This situation goes to show that when it comes to dating, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. We’re faced with numerous conflicts, sometimes it’s best to just let sleeping dogs lie. Maybe we even think we’ve found the one, only to realize we’re barking up the wrong tree. As a side note, I sincerely apologize to the reader offended by my reference to “creepy cat people.” As for this couple, I wish them the best, but I am officially dog tired of this conversation and am going to let our reader Russel C. have the last word.

Russel C. offered some, umm, unique insight on testing the loyalties in this complicated relationship: “Lock your dog and your significant other in the hot trunk of a car for the day. When you let them out which one is happy to see you? Keep the dog.”

Are you an old dog trying dating new tricks? A young pup looking for a forever home? A dirty dog trying to find a bone? Or a hound dog, crying all the time over a fling gone bad? Get some clarity and philosophical scratches behind the ear by sending your romance woes and wonderings to Wanda and Wayne at wanda@adn.com.

Wayne and Wanda

Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at wanda@alaskadispatch.com.

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