Pets are part of the family. They enrich a relationship in so many ways; however, stress can ensue when there are communication meltdowns regarding our furry friends.
Each individual who owns a pet has different experiences. Some people treat a pet like a child; others would prefer their pet to sleep outside. Some people are incredibly meticulous in the caretaking of their beloved pet, while others are a bit laxer.
Sometimes couples jump into adopting a pet, only seeing the experience through rose-colored glasses. They may forget to talk about the distribution of duties from poop pick up to vacuuming pet fur, dog walks, brushing, and beyond. They may forget to consider what happens if their pet has to go to the hospital. What measures are they willing to go to to save their pet? Or not willing to go?
It also is essential to talk about training issues. Is the pet allowed on the couch? Or on the bed? Is it okay to give the pet-human food? What if the pet jumps up on a neighbor or friend? How do you discipline the pet?
Not discussing these critical topics ahead of time can lead to disagreements and unnecessary frustration. If you are thinking about getting a pet with your partner, stop, pause, discuss how you both envision providing for the pet. What will that look like? Discuss the positive and the negative aspects. Prepare yourselves as much as you can.
If you already have a pet or pets, it is never too late to begin the dialogue. Seek to understand one another. Be clear on expectations and boundaries.
A pet can be the most wonderful addition to a relationship. Caring for the pet and witnessing the pet in all its glory can be a fantastic shared experience. As a couple, you may feel a ton of pride in your pet and a ton of love. Pets are natural healers and can sense the distress and help calm the nervous system and ease any tension in the home. Pets can be hours of entertainment and fun.
Enjoy your furry four-legged family member, remember to communicate, communicate, communicate when it comes to how you raise your sweet companion.