It’s a Dog’s Life: The Unforeseen Consequences of Divorce

Karen BigmanDivorce Process, Moving forward

#petdivorce #divorce

Last weekend I had the joy of seeing my wonderful dog. Re-homing little Romeo was one of the unforeseen consequences of my divorce. With both my children out of the house, as a single mother to a high-anxiety animal, it was next to impossible to restart my life post-divorce living with him.

I never owned a dog before Romeo came into our home 10 years ago. I was always a little overprotective and became overwhelmingly so with my dog. One of us developed separation anxiety!

When left alone, Romeo left lots of ‘presents’ around the house. When crating was suggested by one of the many trainers we hired, I was game. Thinking it would calm him to stay in a confined space, we were told that dogs don’t typically ‘take care of business’ in their beds. Unfortunately, Romeo didn’t get that memo!

When my ex-husband and I separated, my life became very tumultuous and his less certain. Big Brother moved out west and Big Sister went away to college. I moved four times in two years which was way too much for this little pooch. My heart broke every time I came home. His barks aggravated the new neighbors, the floor around his crate was wet with saliva from his barking-kind of like tears. I couldn’t bear to see him like that, I felt incredible angst when I left him alone and my life came down to going out for the minimal amount of time. Although my ex was willing to bear some responsibility, because of my work situation (I work from home) and the distance to his house from mine, he spent most of the time with me.

I could never have imagined that this little animal would be one of the biggest casualties of our divorce. It became apparent that I would have to find a new home for Romeo. My heart was broken in so many places but I knew that I had to consider what was best for him as much as what was best for me.

There is a Yiddish expression “bashert”, “meant to be.” While I agonized over finding the right placement for Romeo, my ex-husband happened to meet an elderly couple from a nearby town looking to adopt a dog. I knew they came into his life and mine for a reason. Because they lived close by, we would be able to visit with him on occasion. The couple was retired and had all the time in the world to spend with him. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.

Two years later, he’s doing great. I miss him terribly but I’m comforted to know that when he does come to visit, I get a doggy-kiss attack-he hasn’t forgotten me. Divorce puts us in circumstances we can never imagine in advance. People tell you that ‘things will get better’, ‘it takes time’, all sorts of expressions to help you cope. The truth is, the experience of having gone through the pain makes the joy of overcoming it even better.