Considering a post-breakup pet? How about, not?

How many times have you heard, “I just broke up with so and so, so why don’t I go and get myself a dog?” It’s an odd proposition, considering if you wanted someone to ignore you, not pay rent and leave crap all over your floor, you’d have been better off staying with your ex.

Plus, this whole thing about women giving up on relationships in favor of cats, floppy hats and talking to their pets in public (and in plural, “Ooh, we likey this sweater!”) – is just not interesting.

Dropping money on new clothes and stuffing face with sushi and consolation margaritas? Great. Immediately jumping into a new commitment with a speechless, defenseless, high-maintenance creature, without first working through whatever went down in that relationship (I’m still talking about pets here.) Not so much.

Dogs have to be walked several times a day, from dusk to dawn. Cats, though more independent, still require training, vet visits and nourishment, not Mexican food leftovers.

Even a house bunny needs a daily serving of hay, for regularity. A medium-sized dog will run up a tab of over $1,500 the first year, not counting boarding and medical costs. Pets complicate getaways and long nights out, make you sneeze and pull at your inflamed eyelids in that seductive “Come hither!” way, and may even jeopardize a lease.

And what do you get in return? Cuddles? Not always. Sure, some animals purr and wag their tails, or flip on their backs to have their bellies rubbed. But a goldfish won’t do it (unless it’s dead). A hamster won’t greet you by the door after work. Even a rabbit will pound its feet to be released from your gratuitous embrace – they only seem huggable, but their answer is no and they mean it.

In the end, a pet is just a pet, however furry or lovable. It won’t laugh at your jokes, compliment your cooking, leave the light on, or go to a performance art show with you, even if you dress it up in designer pet clothes. So instead of a post-breakup animal, consider investing in a real human being to be taken out on long walks, treated to fancy meals and sweet-talked to: yourself.

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4 thoughts on “Considering a post-breakup pet? How about, not?

  1. James says:

    I just read this and I totally agree. I actually dated someone who bought a dog to help deal with her a past breakup. After a while, it became obvious that her dog was more emotionally important to her than I was ever going to be. So, I broke it off. The irony is that she bought the dog to help her get over a bad relationship, but it actually prevented her from having a good meaningful relationship.

    • Thanks for your comment, James. It sounds like you made the right decision. Pets are wonderful companions, but “transference” can become tricky if Fido is there for all the wrong reasons!

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