"Will you do that if we have a child who has problems?" I shouted. "Will you just send them away?" Wisely, Dave didn't respond, but that night we slept in separate beds.
On one of my many trips to the vet, the doctor told me that Harriet had an attachment disorder. "Harriet becomes attached to one person and protects them from everything else. That's why she's biting your husband." I didn't understand. "Let's put it this way," the vet said, "if Harriet were a person you'd need a restraining order." When I got home, I knew it was time for Harriet to go. Animal Aphrodisiacs: Do Pets Help Us Date?
Harriet stayed with us for a year and, in the end, bit my husband five times. It's not one of my proudest moments of our marriage, mostly because it took me so long to see that while I was fixating on my need to be a good dog owner, I was being a terrible wife. Marriage is about little sacrifices—choosing to pick up a sock rather than wage World War III over it, giving a back rub for the fifth night in a row, saying goodbye to an adorable dog because if she were a person she'd be Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.
Still, I don't count the Year of Harriet as a loss. Dave and I both learned some valuable lessons about balance and our relationship. Often, I find myself getting so myopic on work, hobbies and my own issues, that I miss the fact that it's literally taking a bite out of my marriage. It's always a reminder to take a step back and not forget that I chose to share my life and my space with another person.
Also, I think we are fish people.