Divorce is hard on everyone including the family dog. My kids had been begging for a dog for years and my answer was always no. But after the divorce, my kids kept asking and in a weak moment I said yes. I wanted my boys to be happy and I thought a puppy would fix all the sadness and anger that came as a result of the fighting and Dad moving out. I was wrong. Now on top of missing Dad when they were with me they missed me and their dog when they traipsed across the island to Dad’s house.
Their dad lived in a one-bedroom high rise condo with no easy access to any green space at all. His building had a no dog policy so every other weekend and the standard holiday switch the dog suffered.
Poor Brutus was always sad when his boys left him with me because I was busy having to earn a living and do all the other mom things and that left our dog home alone more often than not. And so he barked. People complained. He chewed. He cost me a lot of money. At the time I just thought he was a bad dog but I can truly say we were not the right family for him because of all that was going on in our lives.
The decision to get a dog needs to be well thought out by everyone. A dog is not a consolation prize given to children when things go wrong. We’re not saying it’s not possible to have a dog in a divorce situation but it is more difficult.
Dogs need routine and consistency in their lives, so this is something to consider when getting a dog. Even if both parents have room, money, and time for a dog the dog’s schedule could change every week and that’s hard for both humans and dogs.
On the flip side, dogs can be an enormous support for children going through a parent’s divorce. We love helping families choose a dog for every situation but please remember that a dog is the only relative you get to choose. They are family and so make sure two homes will work for a new pet in both homes or that there’s someone in both places to be there for the dog when the child is not there.
But if you’re ready for a dog for any reason we’re here for you.