Do you have a pressing problem, annoying anxiety or community conundrum? Jasminda Featherlight, our resident roving Agony Aunt, is here to help. Jasminda will be responding to questions from our FOUR News Of The Area papers on a rotating basis. Send your concerns to Jasminda care of firstname.lastname@example.org and include your title, initials and suburb.
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My boyfriend bought me a puppy for my birthday. I was about to break up with him, but the puppy is really cute and I don’t have the heart to do it now.
Miss KL, Medowie
Well, Miss KL, this is a conundrum on a number of levels. To start with, and I am being deadly serious here, you should never buy anyone a pet for a present. Pets are something that require careful consideration, adequate shelter and fencing, and a healthy bank account. It is not just the initial outlay, it is the ongoing maintenance: tick treatments, worming,
bathing and grooming, replacing the twelve chooks down the road that your dog decided to maul, relining the wall on your rental property after your dog (which is prohibited under your rental agreement) chewed a dog-shaped hole through it, and so on. Your boyfriend did a well-intentioned, but silly thing.
Next is the issue of being stuck with this guy because of a dog. Have you read Careful, He Might Hear You or watched Kramer vs Kramer? Your life could become just like that. I sincerely hope you have both written a prenuptial agreement (or in this case a prepuptial agreement). There are important things to consider when you inevitably part ways. Who will continue the puppy obedience sessions? Who will pay for the dog’s needs in winter (puppy coat, blanket, raincoat and so on)? Will you split custody 50/50, or will one of you have to pay dog support? What if you are deemed to be unfit parents?
What if, heaven forbid, the dog knocks up another dog and you are left with a litter of pit-bull-cross-poodle pups and you start to look like one of those families from The Jerry Springer Show?
Just like those first weeks with a new boyfriend, early days with a pup are full of slobbery kisses, cute photos, gourmet meals and walks along the beach. The long haul, however, is quite a different story. I hope you’re up for it, Miss KL. Pups, like boyfriends, can eventually grow into different beasts altogether.