Lola Rolls
Advice on Life from a Former Sideshow Fat Lady

Puppy Love

Posted By on Monday, June 29th, 2020

Dear Lola,

My boyfriend and I don’t spend enough time together. We’ve both been pretty isolated and live in an area where the coronavirus is largely under control, so we feel comfortable being together. The pandemic isn’t the problem. It’s his standard poodle. He never comes to my apartment because his dog doesn’t like to be left alone, or so he says. If I go to his place, first we have to walk the dog and then play with dog and then give the dog her dinner and then take her out again. It never ends, and the weekends are even worse. We’re not travelling any time soon under current circumstances, but I’m starting wonder if he would even be willing to take a vacation with me unless the dog can come too.

I’m thinking of giving him an ultimatum — either me or the dog.  A couple of my friends have told me it would be cruel to expect him to give up a pet. Who’s right?

–Love Is a Bitch


Dear Love,

Ultimatums are nearly always a terrible idea, so I’m going to advise against that.

Your friends are correct that it would be very unkind and self-defeating to ask your boyfriend to get rid of his pet.

Forget about the dog for a minute and consider whether you really want to be in a relationship with your boyfriend under any circumstances. You don’t mention anything good or likable about him in your letter. How certain are you that you would enjoy being with him if there were no dog competing for his attention? Based on your description, he likewise doesn’t seem to be very invested in the relationship.

Taking into account your annoyance and his indifference, as well as a fundamental incompatibility regarding people-and-pet relationships, breaking up seems like a pretty good course of action.

If you aren’t inclined to do that or maybe aren’t ready for such a drastic step, then you, your boyfriend, and his dog need to find a way for everyone to get at least part of what they are looking for. What do you want and need in exact terms? Is it to go out at night with your boyfriend instead of staying home and catering to his dog? To go on a vacation with him? To spend time in your own apartment with him?

Those sound like reasonable requests, but you must also accept that his dog does need to be fed and walked a couple of times a day and, that care, which requires planning and expense, must be arranged if  your boyfriend travels without her.


Barbara Boehm Miller
Fiction Writer and Creator of the Character, Lola Rolls

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