The Struggle of Dating a Pet Owner When You Hate Pets

by Darcie

When I first saw this photo, I didn’t know whether to swipe right or left. My thought process went something like this: He’s cute – swipe right. He owns a dog – swipe left.

I kid you not. I actually thought that.

As you may have recognized, the man in the photo is Logan. Thus you can deduce that I swiped right despite the fact that he does, in fact, have a dog, Piper, whom he probably loves more than me.

Due to demoralizing effect of online dating, I limited myself to one or two days of torture about every six months, and, as such, figured I should swipe right on someone whom I was attracted to.

We had a nice first date (briefly discussed here) and both agreed to a second date. Logan mentioned that his dog, Piper, needed her daily dose of exercise and vitamin D (don’t we all?!) and suggested that we walk from my house to a nearby restaurant.

When he got to my house with Piper and I let them inside, he released Piper from her collar and she took off running down the hall into my bedroom and threw herself with abandon onto my bed. I wasn’t pleased. Not with Piper because she’s a dog doing what dogs do: explore and shed. I felt irritation at Piper’s owner, who, in my view, was being disrespectful of my home by releasing Piper from her leash and letting her run wild without checking with me first.

Honestly, I was turned off.

I didn’t begrudge Logan at all for having a dog. In fact, I really enjoy dogs. What I don’t enjoy is the damage that untrained dogs have done to my belongings in the past. This was my first time meeting Piper, so I was completely unfamiliar with her behavioral tendencies and if she had a propensity for destructive pastimes.  

I also didn’t appreciate what I perceived as a lack of consideration for my home by Logan in assuming that I didn’t mind his dog roaming freely around my house. As anyone who is familiar with California real estate knows, purchasing a home is a noteworthy feat. My one thousand square foot Spanish-style bungalow might not seem like much, but, to me, it’s everything. It isn’t some rental with hand-me-down furniture. I purchased every piece of furniture in the place and take great pride in maintaining a beautiful space. It felt disrespectful that Logan didn’t seem to take that into account.

Sure, it would be reasonable to assume that Logan didn’t have a clue that I owned the house or that I didn’t grow up with dog and thus wasn’t keen on dog fur on my furniture. Conversely, he did grow up with dogs and was used to having them around, even cuddling up next to him on the couch or in bed. So, in essence, what was his norm was not mine.

In any case, with the assumption that he was not intending to disrespect me or my home, I set aside this inkling of annoyance, and Logan and I went on to enjoy a great date.

On a subsequent date at my house, Logan asked if he could bring Piper. I was conflicted.

Did I want to be the cool girl who said yes to this request but then secretly resented him for posing such an ask of me?

Or did I want to be honest with him that I didn’t know Piper and thus didn’t feel comfortable with her in my house?

Frankly, it was tough because it’s so tempting to want to be the cool girl in a burgeoning relationship.

But after recent years of personal growth, I decided that I was being the cool girl by being honest about how I felt.

I reasoned that as long as I was respectful about Logan’s love for his dog and desire to have her around, he should respect my decision not to have his dog in my house at our nascent stage of dating.

So I typed out a message, stating that I knew how important Piper is to him, but that I would like to get to know her more before I allowed her in my home.

Nerves tickled my stomach as I hit the send button.

He replied quickly, “No problem!”

I didn’t know if he meant it or not, but I chose to take his word at face value – again, a conscious decision not to “mindread” due to its low rate of accuracy.

A few dates later, he asked again. Politely, I said no and requested that he not ask me again and that I would let him know when I felt comfortable with Piper in my home. 

Eventually, the day came when I realized that Piper is 90 percent dream dog. She never barks, save for an occasional low grumble when the mailman comes by, she’s obedient, and she doesn’t chew on anything. Her only flaw is a penchant for copious shedding.

It’s such common knowledge that it’s virtually trite to say that relationships involve compromise. Would I prefer that Logan didn’t have a dog? Yes. Absolutely. But was I going to let it be a dealbreaker? No. Absolutely not.

So we compromised.

Piper is allowed in the house, but not on the furniture. Logan assumes all of the responsibility for her care, unless I explicitly agree otherwise.

Still, as much as I have come to love Piper, honestly it’s hard not to be frustrated or annoyed by the obligations she requires and inconveniences she sometimes causes. If we want to go out of town or even participate in a local, all-day activity, we have to find someone to watch Piper.

It’s a commitment to another living thing that I’m not willing to make aside from another human. It feels like an inconvenience, despite my enjoyment of animals. A furry companion would prevent me from engaging in selfish pursuits, like being in the driver’s seat of my own schedule rather than having to adapt my lifestyle to accommodate an animal.

Let me be clear: I’m not throwing shade at those who do.

I’ve heard people liken pet ownership to preparing for the life changes that come with parenthood. And I appreciate the comparison because I think there are, in fact, comparisons to be made. Both, undoubtedly, make you a less selfish person. But my perspective is that I’d rather be as selfish with my time as I want to be until the time I decide to have a child. Not before.

And yet, I am making the choice to adapt my life to Piper’s needs because Logan’s life is structured to accommodate Piper’s needs.

The things you do for the one you love.

Is it worth it?

I think so.

What are your thoughts? Have you had to make accommodations for your partner’s pets? How have you adapted to the situation? Has it ever been a dealbreaker for you? Leave a comment below!

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We take it you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept