“Who Gets the Dog?” Guest post by Teri Case

Today’s writer is Teri Case, author of the novel, In the Doghouse: A Couple’s Breakup from Their Dog’s Point of View. Teri shares tips on how to decide who should take custody of the family dog after a breakup or divorce.

Experts say the most three stressful events in a human’s life are due to:

  1. Changes in a job
  2. Geography
  3. Or a relationship. When a relationship ends, a dog-loving human couple will need to make one the hardest, and most important, decisions: Who gets the dog?

As much as we wish it were possible, our dogs can’t talk, so we can’t ask them, “Which one of us do you want to live with?” We have to decide for them.

Who Gets Custody Of The Dog In A Divorce?

Here are five decision points to consider while planning your dog’s future.

Who has the financial resources?

We like to say that love is priceless, but the reality is, it takes money to give our dogs the happiest and healthiest lifestyle possible. Pooch parents who are parting ways need to decide which person is in the best financial position to pay for their dog’s healthy diet, veterinarian care, exercise, general care and training or stimulation such as DOGTV. Securing these resources will help your dog adjust to the change in his pack and daily life.

Add up your pet’s expenses for the past year, including check-ups, medical care ad shots, food, grooming, dog sitting if applicable, DOGTV, etc. Divide the amount by twelve months to determine a monthly budget and be honest about which of you can afford your dog.

Who has the most consistent or regular schedule?

Routine is essential for your dog’s mental and physical health, and your schedule feeds into his routine. From your dog knowing your exit cues when you leave the house for work to signs when you normally arrive at home, your dog has expectations. These signals drive their internal clock and help them determine when they will get to go to the bathroom, exercise, or eat.

Do you work eight-hour days or twelve-hour days? How much time will your dog be alone? DOGTV can help establish a routine and provide companionship to your dog while you’re away but being realistic about your pet’s typical day is a crucial component to his well-being.

Look at your schedules for the past month. How many hours a week did you work? Who was at home the most with your dog?

Who is the most active?

Which of you exercises your dog the most? Discuss how you spend your free time. Away from home? Sleeping? Playing video games? Watching TV? Or do you like to take walks, or be social at dog parks and more? Consider which of you will engage your dog the most.

Who has the best space or pet-friendly neighborhood?

Your dog is familiar with his environment from the furniture in your home to the neighborhood’s walks and dogs. If one of you will not be moving, consider keeping your dog in his familiar place. Regardless, factor in your dog’s average day and what kind of space he will live. If he has access to a backyard, for example, this would be a benefit. Or if an apartment is home, make sure the street or neighbor noises won’t alarm your dog. Furthermore, consider which of you has the most dog-friendly building or community.

Consider the two neighborhoods and answer the following:

  1. Which has the most sidewalks, trails, or dog parks?
  2. Is one place loud and distracting due to street noise or neighbors?
  3. Are you close to emergency facilities with loud noises?

To whom is your dog closest?

More than likely, your faithful companion relies on one of you more than the other for leadership. In your hearts, you both already know the answer. Don’t test your dog. Be adults and be honest. Put your dog’s happiness first, not yours.

Decision Time:

Take time and weigh everything. The custody of your beloved canine is an important decision—one that should be made with your head, not just your heart.

Moving On:

Set up visitation times that work for you both; everyone will benefit. Let bygones be bygones and offer to dog sit. There’s no one better to care for your dog than another human who loves him.

Subscribe to DOGTV.

DOGTV will quickly become a favorite part of your dog’s new routine. It will give him companionship and stimulation when you’re away, and DOGTV’s soothing white noise shields him from alarming sounds.

Finally, losing your dog is never easy. It’s a huge loss but knowing that you put his best interests and happiness first will help you all recover from this life-changing event. I promise.