When this man is concerned that he made the wrong choice about his dad's dog, he asks Reddit:
My dad died of heart failure about two years ago. His long term domestic partner called to tell me he was on the way to the hospital but was certainly deceased. Her health was poor and she died the same day, which I didn’t learn until much later when she was unreachable.
I couldn’t get into the house and had to force the door. The dog was obviously orphaned. A cockapoo, small, easy, mild, 9 years old, no problems. I took the liberty of bringing her home.
My wife was a little shy of furious but very very angry. She said I should have asked her, that “it’s my house too!” I wouldn’t contradict that, but under the circumstances I was certain that she would understand.
I was very hurt by her insensitivity. Obviously I was somewhat stunned by grief and I couldn’t imagine anything other than adopting the dog myself. We own our home and already have two cats. As I said, she’s a low maintenance dog.
My wife persists to refuse to walk the dog saying “she’s not my dog”. Occasionally she uses this incident to demonstrate how I’m a bully in the relationship. I have a hard time seeing in objectively. I’m over the grief and I just want some thoughts, so let me know.
Clarification: it’s not really about expecting my wife to do dog chores. I just wanted to have an example of the strange dynamic. Like in two years she has never walked the dog. Not once.
I have been bold enough to suggest it on occasion, such as when we had evening plans and she was already home but I was going to need to come home versus meeting up, or if I wasn’t feeling great.
I’ve been surprised when she holds that boundary. I’m guessing she would walk her if I was incapacitated (she’d be pissed though). She doesn’t actually despise the dog. She chooses to give her treats and things. It’s not really about me expecting my wife to take care of the dog.
Truly, still feel I had no excuse not to take the dog. It was a duty I welcomed. My wife didn’t want it but that wasn’t a suitable reason to defy my conscience. I’m majority YTA so far. I’m certainly not impartial. So be it. I wanted the dog then also I couldn’t imagine being the son who send the dog to strangers or the humane society. Most of the comments have been kind enough. Thanks.
ESH should you have talked to wife? Yes but grief. Should she be behaving like this when you just lost your dad? Absolutely not. How insensitive and cruel. ** I missed that this is two years later.
No - you can’t expect your wife to care for a dog she never wanted. In the beginning while you were grieving occasionally - yes. Beyond that? No. To come around to? No you can’t expect her to suddenly want an animal she never wanted.
Wife doesn’t sound like a dog person and you’re an AH for forcing them around each other. It is your dog and your responsibility to take care of.
As someone who was in the same situation, it is also very hard to rehome an older pet. I bent over backwards to ensure the care of my grandparents’ cat and dog, because I could not stand the idea of their beloved companions being put down in a shelter or treated poorly by a stranger. NTA.
OP is NTA for taking in a family members dog, especially one that's small and quiet. A big, loud, obnoxious dog is a lot more of an ask, but OP's dog sounds like one of those chill lap puppers.
OP's Wife is NTA for not participating in dog care. Small and quiet or not, a dog is as much responsibility as a child. She clearly was opposed to the dog and set a clear boundary as to how much she is willing to interact with it.
OP is TA / YTA for expecting wife to care for the dog beyond, maybe, making sure it doesn't starve/thirst/suffer if he's incapacitated (although, OP should have plans in place for these instances). I think any reasonable person would at least do the bare minimum of animal care even if they didn't like the animal all that much.