Those of us going through a separation, or who’ve been through one, know the heartbreak it causes when beloved pets are involved. Bonds with our pets run deep—we may even consider them as our children—and the grief and guilt associated with such changes is tremendous. He’ll miss me so much. She’ll think I’ve abandoned her. He wonders when I’m coming home and why I’m not there anymore.
The problem is a tough one, and there are no ideal solutions. Here are a few thoughts:
Establish boundaries. How often can I realistically visit my dog? How much financial responsibility am I in a position to accept? Be clear about what you want within yourself first before trying to talk it over.
Decide whether to ask for more than you want and back off if necessary, or whether to start small and add on. Discuss your desired arrangement with those affected. Try to stay calm and remember that situations evolve.
Talk over your concerns with a pet loving friend, a hotline, or a support group. Isolation breeds grief and guilt. I'll have more on resources coming up; check back.
Have you ever grieved the loss of a pet due to a relationship breakup or divorce? Have you ever stayed in a toxic relationship because of a pet? Have you ever had a pet caught in the middle of a domestic situation? If you’ve dealt with this issue, leave a note about your experience. Your pain, fears, suggestions, and solutions can help a fellow pet lover who’s going through something similar.