How A Dog Almost Ruined My Marriage


Who knew a 10 pound mini-dachshund could wreck a chair, a couch, a throw rug and a marriage?

When I took Harriet for a walk, men would stop and shout at us, ladies would slow down their cars for a closer look, then wink and drive away. They were all looking at Harriet. Harriet was ten pounds of short-haired, mini-dachshund adorable. Once, a whole lawn crew stopped and wanted to pet her. She shrank back from their eager hands and growled. "Oh the cute ones are always feisty," said one of the men. He leaned down and winked. Harriet barred her fangs and lunged. By now, I was used to this. I quickly yanked the leash and Harriet's growl gurgled in her little throat. "Geez lady, be nice," one of the men said. I had just saved him from 10 pounds of mini-dachshund fury, and he was taking her side. Everyone loved Harriet, but love was precisely the problem. 5 Things Pets Can Teach Us About Relationships

Harriet was a gift from my parents.They found Harriet abandoned at the doggie hotel where they board their dog and immediately fell in love. When they called me, I said yes without even giving it a second thought, but Dave said no. I was starting school and wouldn't have time for a dog, he argued. Plus, we were saving money for home renovations on our 80-year-old home. This wasn't the time for a dog. I fought back. That Thanksgiving, we boarded the plane back home with a Pink polka-dotted dog carrier, Harriet was stowed inside.  


On the plane, a priest sitting in the seat across the aisle peered into the carrier. He began to tell me how he'd grown up with a dachshund, who had died tragically in a car accident, forever scarring the priest, who still longed to have a dog. "But of course, in the ministry it's not possible. Can I pet her?"

Of course, I said yes. The priest stuck his hand inside the carrier and let out a yell. "Goddammit! She bit me!"

"I'm so sorry," I said. "Maybe she's nervous." Harriet growled at the priest the entire trip home. This should have been my first warning.

At home, Harriet barked all night, every night, for the next week. Finally, we let her kennel come into our room. We didn't have cable, so we had a friend record The Dog Whisperer on his DVR and watched 10 episodes in a row. None of the tricks worked. She licked our hands when we made her submit and growled when we let her go. "I can fix her," I told Dave. "She just needs love."

I got her to stop barking all night. This was my only victory and it was short lived. Four months into dog ownership, Harriet was pooping and peeing on the floor and in her kennel. Also, she bit Dave. Pet Jealousy And How To Deal With It

To his credit, Dave didn't get upset the first time Harriet bit him, or the second time, but by the third time he'd lost his cool. "The dog hates me," he said. "I can't live in a house where I'm afraid of a 10-pound, growling burrito!"

I cried. 

Six months into dog ownership, Harriet had ruined a couch, a chair, a throw rug and my marriage with her poop-eat-it-and-vomit-it-back-up routine. The house smelled of poop and my husband refused to let her out of the kennel if it was just the two of them at home. Harriet bit him again, and Dave insisted that she be sent to a shelter.

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