, Salem, MA


December 13, 2013

Ask Dog Lady: After breakup, will dog adjust to two homes?

Dear Dog Lady,

My boyfriend of seven years and I have split up. We have an English bulldog, Bunco, together. The dog turned 2 in November. My “ex” put down the money to purchase Bunco so technically the dog is his. We have agreed to share him equally since I am so attached. My question: Is it good for the dog to go back and forth? My ex is not home a lot and I was the main caregiver for Bunco. I just worry that he will be left alone too much and he will get depressed. This is why we have agreed to share. But, do you think he will adjust and be OK? I want what is best for him, but I also don’t want to give up seeing him.

A: Dogs are elastic creatures. They bend around circumstances. Dogs can love — and nap — indiscriminately. If your “ex” cares about Bunco as much as you do, put aside human emotions and try not to worry the dog will be depressed. Bunco will adjust.

Since you agree to share Bunco equally, you should step up to make sure the dog receives outings during the day to relieve himself and to exercise. Also, ensure Bunco has a comfortable den to hang out when alone. Insert yourself so you are still responsible for his well-being. This is what sharing a dog entails as both parties have an equal say in how the dog is tended. Make sure you agree to use the same veterinarian. Bunco will enjoy the benefits of friends, which you and your ex should remain for the sake of the bulldog.

Dear Dog Lady,

I have been an animal person all my life. I grew up with four different cats but have always wanted a dog. Now that I’m 29 and stable and in a place where I can devote enough time to a dog I’m wondering which of the following breeds would be the best suited to my conditions. I will be living in a one- or two-bedroom apartment with no yard per se but it will have an outdoor area. I’ll be able to walk/exercise the dog at least once a day if not more often. I’m willing to groom the dog once or twice a week. I want a mid-sized to large dog with a long, thick coat.

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