Everyone has a life before their significant other comes into the picture. Mine happens to involve a rotund white dog that’s been at my side for fourteen years who’s kept me attached to an ex-boyfriend.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Majestic, well-mannered, and smart are not words to describe my little chihuahua/pug, Siegfried. His list of defining characteristics is more like:
- So ugly he’s cute (to the right audience)
- Riddled with health problems—epilepsy, liver issues, arthritis, and diabetes to name a few
In spite of all of these difficult qualities, I love Siegfried so much it may be classified as unhealthy. I honestly can’t help it.
Even though he would rather fake a limp than go for a gentle walk, Siegfried takes up a lot of real estate in my heart. Always has, always will.
Siegfried: The Early Days
I found Sieg as a discounted pup in a pet store in a seedy area of Vancouver and felt sorry for him. I did what any irrational person would do and I grossly overpaid for damaged goods in the form of a canine. Sieg had my pity and I tasked myself with giving him a good life. That’s what you do when you have a bleeding heart.
You don’t need to say it: I had a major case of saviour syndrome when I was in my early twenties.
The time I brought Sieg home was also the point in my life where I thought women had the ability to change men and make their lives better too, so you can see where my thought process was at the time.
Now that I’m better at weighing decisions, I’m in the don’t shop, adopt camp. I’m still trying to get Dan to open up to the idea of fostering pups in the future—I’ll wear him down eventually. When our vacations involve visiting humane societies, like that time we were in Kauai, you know it’s only a matter of time before Dan gets on board as a fur baby foster parent.
How My Ex and I Started Sharing A Dog
Siegfried was my main man for a couple of years until my ex, Simon, came into the picture. Simon and I were together for a few years. During that time, Siegfried worked his brand of voodoo somehow causing Simon to fell in love with him in spite of a rocky start involving a deafening amount of barking.
To reiterate (in case you think I’m exaggerating for effect), Siegfried is not charming. The fact that he’s successfully roped a few people into loving him unconditionally only proves that he would have been a persuasive businessman if he had the inclination to do something productive with his life.
Following our breakup, Simon asked if he could have partial custody of the dog. I knew that Sieg really liked spending time with Simon, so it seemed fine to me. Who am I to break up a bromance? Cut to seven years later and we’re still sharing our dog. It would seem that an amicable breakup has a lasting effect on pet sharing.
How To Tell Your Husband About Your Dog’s Other Owner
When Dan became a fixture in my life, I had to tell him that Simon and I share Siegfried. A byproduct of this arrangement is that Simon has keys to my apartment. It’s not exactly fun news to share with your current boyfriend that your former boyfriend has keys to your place.
My husband is a very understanding man. He’s more reasonable than most and not at all the jealous type. We can all learn a lot from him.
Dan asked me how we share custody of the dog. Fair question. Sharing Sieg is actually pretty easy for the most part (with the occasional blow-up from time to time since miscommunications happen).
Here are the top questions I’m asked about dog sharing:
Why does my ex need keys to my apartment?
Simon is an entrepreneur, so his hours are his own. It’s been helpful on numerous occasions when I’ve been stuck at the office or wanted to go out after work to get him to go to my place and take the dog out so I don’t have to rush home.
How do we split custody?
Simon gets him two days a week and takes him when Dan and I go off on an adventure and are unable to bring Siegfried along. No need to kennel Sieg or try to line up additional pet sitters. Since Sieg takes all kinds of medication, it’s easier to leave his care between as few people as possible.
What about the expenses of the dog?
We also share the vet bills. As I mentioned, Siegfried is riddled with all kinds of medical issues that require several medications and frequent vet visits. I spend a fortune on that little mutt, but since Simon has a vested interest in the dog, he shares the cost of Siegfried’s care…so good news for my weeping bank account.
Isn’t it hard to create a situation where your ex-boyfriend is still part of your life?
Hey, I’m not saying it’s always a walk in the park. However, if you ever actually care for someone, you’ll still like them as a person even if things don’t work out romantically. I’m sure even if Sieg wasn’t part of the equation, Simon would still be my pal.
The Dog-Sharing System Works
Since we have an arrangement that has worked successfully for years before Dan became part of the family, Dan’s fine with maintaining the status quo. I’m not so sure I would have been quite as understanding, but what can I say? My husband is one cool cat.
Over the years, Dan and Simon have actually become pseudo-friends. They catch up and share a laugh when Simon comes to get the dog, Simon stores some of the items that don’t fit in our apartment, we water Simon’s plants when he’s out of town, and our kid will know him as Uncle Simon—because every family needs that weird uncle that isn’t actually related by blood. The system is a well-oiled machine.
It’s a strange family we’ve created, but it works for us. We get a lot of skeptical faces when we try to explain our arrangement to other folks, but we’re okay with that.
Family is what you make of it. Frankly, everyone should have an Uncle Simon.