Dear Amy: The dog I had for over 10 years recently had to be euthanized.
I loved my dog, but owning a pet often made me feel guilty. I often felt I had to choose between being with our dog or being a good mother to my children.
I realize that I was not ready to own a pet when I first got one. I made many mistakes that I still regret today.
My husband also loved our dog, but I thought what he loved most was having a dog – any dog. I had this dog before we got married (over ten years ago), and I think I presented myself as a dog, when in fact I was just “that dog”.
He brought up getting another dog for his birthday in a few months and looked up local animal shelters. He said he didn’t like living in a house without a dog.
Amy, I loved my little dog, and if I could have him back, healthy and happy, I would. But honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever want another dog, because of the guilt that comes with it.
I believe that if I said I don’t want any more dogs, I would be asking him to make a big lifestyle change, and maybe even change who he is as a person.
Just thinking about getting another dog stresses me out, and thinking about telling him stresses me out.
– Without dog
Dear Dogless: My recent adoption of the world’s cutest terrier has given me personal insight into what you’re describing. The guilt of not being able to make every day The Best Dog Day Ever is intense, and this legendary unconditional canine love can actually make the burden of guilt heavier.
You entered the marriage with a dog in your hand/paw, but I wonder if the dynamic would be different if this time around your husband adopted the dog and took primary responsibility for its feeding, care, exercise and its entertainment.
Children eventually leave the home, while your dog’s needs increase over time. A dog’s health and happiness is entirely up to you until the end. And the ending, as you know, can be heartbreaking.
If you were the surrogate parent, you might feel the burden differently. And understand that the rookie mistakes you made last time (and still feel guilty for) wouldn’t be a factor now.
I hope you will have the courage to be completely frank with your husband about this and that you will both take enough time to think about it carefully.
If your husband is very into this, he might want to adopt a dog for a few weeks to test the waters for both of you.
Dear Amy: I only met my biological father twice, both times briefly, when he came to visit me.
About two years ago, I texted his wife to ask about her. She never answered.
My mother never told me about him or talked about him.
I don’t know anything about myself other than where I was born.
I often wonder who I am, my biological father’s other children, and health information. I am now 77 years old. Am I wrong to want to know these things?
How could I find the answers to these questions?
Dear Lost: You are not wrong to want to know more about your family heritage!
If you know your birth father’s last name and place of birth, you might want to do some genealogy research. Ask your reference librarian at your local library for ways to get started.
You should also consider a home DNA test. When you register on a site and submit a DNA sample, you will then be matched with other people who share your DNA, if they are also registered. This could potentially connect you not only with possible siblings, but also aunts, uncles, and cousins.
I would also suggest sending a letter and/or making a phone call, rather than texting your biological father’s wife. I guess she is older than you and many older people don’t use texting to communicate.
Dear Amy: The conversation in your column about strong food aversions brought me back. My father forced me to eat potatoes. I literally sat in front of a pile of cold mashed potatoes after everyone left the table.
I finally ate them. Then I rejected them.
– No potatoes for me
Dear No Spuds: Mission very well accomplished.
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