Question: I’ve been exclusively dating a divorced man in his early 30s for several months now. Things are good for the most part, however, I’m unsure about how I should feel about a particular piece of “baggage” that he has – a co-owned dog. The dog lives with the ex, but she drops it off bi-weekly for an afternoon or overnight so he can have time with it. We’ve talked about it, and he doesn’t think the bi-weekly schedule is “frequent,” but I do. He seems to really care deeply for the dog, so I don’t press the issue. His apartment doesn’t allow pets, which is why he doesn’t have theirs or will buy a new one. He’s also 100% over his ex, and even if she wanted to reconcile, he claimed he would not be interested. According to him, their relationship only consists of text messages about dog pickup coordination, and that’s it. He seems fairly trustworthy in all other areas.
So my question is, do you think this situation is ridiculous, a red flag, and that I should walk? I’m somewhat bothered by it, but have dealt with it…I’m just conflicted because of that nagging feeling that I’m being an overly-trusting idiot.
I think the red flag would be if he wanted nothing to do with the dog. Anybody who could just walk away or otherwise abandon an animal is suspect in my book.
There’s a cat that resides in one of the apartments in the building behind me. Every afternoon and night that cat can be heard meowing and hissing and growling. At first I thought it was an alley cat that prowled the space between two buildings looking for food. As a cat owner, I know the difference between a joyful meow and a cry for help due to fear or pain, and all I hear is the latter. The noise was so frequent and bothered me so much that during another round of the feline’s caterwauling, I went up and down 83rd Street listening trying to determine the cat’s exact location. It took some time, but I figured out the two brownstones that were connected by the narrow alley. First, I called The Center for Pet Control. The came up and took a loom around and didn’t find a cat. Then my friend J. got a friend of hers involved who works for a rescue group. No cat. One afternoon a few months later I waited on the stoop of one of the buildings until someone was leaving, then walked right in and did some investigating. I passed one resident and asked him about the cat. He said he heard it, too.
“Yeah, it really sounds awful,” he said with a shrug. Cool, bro.
“Can you let me into the basement so I can get out to that alley?” I asked.
Obviously, the guy had valid reason to be suspicious of my request. He turned me down, saying he had to rush to an appointment. I then took things into my own hands, opening one of the windows in the stairwell and poking my head out so I could see into the alley. No cat. I took the super’s number from a sign on the wall and called him. He did some investigating and learned the cat wasn’t in the alley, but was perched on the windowsill inside one of the apartments. The cat’s owner travels frequently, sometimes leaving the cat alone for days at a time. I’m not sure what angered me more: the thought of an abandoned cat or the the thought of dozens of people hearing what I heard and doing nothing to try and help that animal. Fun fact: I projected a shit ton of my own abandonment issues on that cat. The thought of it being in that apartment alone, its food bowl over turned as the super had said, sitting at that window waiting for its owner to return absolutely wrecked me. To this day, that cat still wails and hisses, and every single time I hear it I feel like someone is stabbing a knife through my heart. Yes, somewhere deep inside my psyche, I am that abandoned cat.
The point of that sweet little tale is to say that anybody who just leaves an animal to fend for itself or who does not step in when they think the animal is feeling threatened is a bad person. Period. At least in my book. They have failed the animal they promised to care for an protect.
I can’t find fault with a man or woman who wishes to maintain a relationship with an animal to which they’ve grown attached over several years. I think what your guy is doing is admirable. He clearly loves the dog and doesn’t want it to think he turned his back on the canine. I’ve read profiles from men who explicitly state they don’t like dogs or cats. Buh bye. Nope. You have no heart. While I’m hesitant to date guys who own dogs because of the scheduling conflicts and time constraints involved, I do think it speaks highly of someone if they own a pet.
There are no warning signs here other than you’re guy is a compassionate person who takes his relationships – even ones with animals – seriously. Deal with your insecurity and don’t you dare take it out on that dog.