1 May 2023

Dear reader: Help my boyfriend and me decide which dog to get rid of

| Zoe Cartwright
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three dogs

Three’s a crowd. Pingu, Poppy and Loki relax in their loungeroom. Photo: Zoe Cartwright.

My boyfriend and I own too many dogs, and we don’t know which one to get rid of.

Perhaps, dear reader, you can help us decide.

We own a small, two-bedroom flat. It has an unfenced metre-square patch of grass and dirt next to the front door, mostly taken up by a small lemon tree.

Into this flat, we have crammed three dogs.

I must be clear, these are not small dogs. We have Poppy, a rescue special. She was listed as a labrador mix but more resembles a miniature Ridgeback.

Weighing in at 30 kg, she has an attractive tan coat and soulful hazel eyes. She has no concept of personal space.

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Loki, an aged black and white Staffie. He’s recently reached 24 kg, much to the concern of the vet. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them he has to be bribed into vet visits with McDonald’s.

As he’s getting older, he needs more vet visits, hence more McDonalds, hence the ‘mystery’ weight gain.

And there’s Pingu, a 22 kg English Bull Terrier.

She is convinced the world exists to serve her as she is very busy keeping both Poppy and Loki under close supervision at all times.

The flat is pure chaos.

We do not sleep through the night. Ever. Apparently, children grow out of needing to sleep in your bed, but dogs do not.

Poppy kicks, Loki snores and Pingu always, always needs to wee at 3 am.

If any of them wake up, all three must get off the bed, get back onto the bed and do complex calculations about whether they can fit into the same spot they were fast asleep in not 10 minutes ago, before beginning the laborious process of actually lying down and getting comfortable.

Neither of us dares roll over in our sleep anymore. It’s not worth it.

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You might suggest we not let the dogs sleep on the bed. And I applaud that idea in theory, but honestly, when there are three of them, you learn to conserve your energy for important battles.

Like protecting the vacuum cleaner.

When it comes out, Poppy cries and hides in another room.

Loki valiantly attacks it as it moves across the carpet before going to comfort Poppy.

Pingu’s attacks on the vacuum cleaner were so dedicated she now has to be crated when it comes out. She snarls ferociously and destroys her teddy bear.

She’s always remorseful about the teddy bear, and it’s been sewn up more times than I can count.

The dogs must be taken into account in every decision.

We chose our lounge because it was big enough to comfortably fit both of us and all three of them.

Holidays are planned around how much money we have left after the most recent vet bill. With three of them, there’s always a vet bill.

Walks are on a complicated roster around our irregular work schedules because it is just too difficult to walk 80 kg of dog with three heads and 12 legs alone.

We usually leave parties early so they don’t pine.

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Lest you worry, gentle reader, the dogs themselves are quite content.

They have never pined – we always come home to find them contentedly dozing up on the lounge.

They go for long walks morning and evening before cuddling up with their humans at night.

They have a steady supply of toys, treats, and a healthy diet (sans the chicken nuggets).

My boyfriend Ben had Poppy and Pingu when we met, and I had had Loki for a decade at that point.

One of the first things we connected over was how absolutely, completely, absurdly spoilt our dogs were.

One of the first things I loved about him was the kindness I saw on his face when he looked at his dogs because I knew that he knew that dogs are too good for us.

They forgive us when we are impatient when we yell, when we expect them to endlessly adapt to our inexplicable human lives.

They trust us with their biggest fears, like the vet and the vacuum.

They don’t want any more than we all want – to be cuddled, spoken to in a kind voice, fed nice food and taken on interesting outings with the people we love, and not be left alone for too long, please.

My boyfriend and I own too many dogs, and we can’t spare a single one.

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This article was written by someone who truly loves and understands their dogs – as someone who has truly loved and understood a dog would know. ❤️

Andrew McNeill1:25 pm 01 May 23

Flumery story. If truth in content why so many attack dogs, hope yr boyfriend was useful dump the human.

Clearly you and your boyfriend need to reprioritise. While any pet is important for our mental well being, they shouldn’t rule our lives, like your three dogs do.

Don’t feed them Maccas as this will lead to further vet bills.

Wait until you have kids, if you plan to have them!

Daniela Chiarella12:57 am 01 May 23

Please do not get rid of any of your three dogs. They love you and their life with you. They need you. Life is to short. You might want to consider moving. Good luck.

Oh these poor animals! Shunted from home to pound because of ignorant and ill-considerate owners. The stress they must suffer!

Well Zoe you have certainly written up your pets so well and lovingly. On a cold and bleak day I have read through your article several times.

After careful and considerable consideration, taking in your concern and need to find a good home, and someone who will give great support to the chosen , I have reached the difficult conclusion …. the Boyfriend has to go.

Oh what a dreadful situation! Honestly, I would sell the unit and buy a larger yard unit-house elsewhere, even if further out from yr current location. I gave up my dream job in London bcz my cat could not come with me. You cannot desert a loved one this way. Few ppl are that cold.
Please seriously moving.🙏🏻🙏🏻🍀

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