If I Get Divorced, I Get to Keep the Dog, Right? by Don Sinkov

{3:00 minutes to read} Pets play a very important role in our lives. In my life I have a dog. I don’t own a dog, I have a dog and the dog has me. No one really owns a living creature. We live with them and have a relationship with them, and that relationship is very special to us. To pet owners, pets are like children and we grow very attached to them.

With a divorcing couple, it is not that unusual to create an agreement where both parties have visitation rights with their pets. It’s good for the divorcing couple and good for their pets. After all, we are divorcing the other spouse; we are not divorcing our pets.

Non pet owners may have difficulty understanding the importance of not interrupting the everyday contact with your beloved pet. It matters little if the pet is: a cat, a dog, a parrot, a gerbil, a hamster, or even a horse. Pet owners who have had a long relationship with their pets do not want that relationship interrupted by the divorce.

Did you ever watch the show “Pit Bulls and Parolees.” (No kidding, that’s a real TV show on Animal Planet – see your cable guide for listings.) Many pets have been very effective in therapy, because people relate to them on a different level. Pet owners can show love to their pets and get love in return.

Research has shown that autistic children who were given a pet at a young age seemed to develop better social skills. Still other research has shown how social behaviors in children who have autism temporarily improve after even a short play period with a live animal such as a guinea pig (versus a toy). There are also many successful horse-therapy programs for children with autism.

Children with autism may especially benefit from interacting with dogs, which can provide unconditional, nonjudgmental love and companionship,” says Gretchen Carlisle. (Dr. Carlisle is a research fellow with the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine.)

In many ways, it seems to be a lot easier to maintain a relationship with a pet than with a person. You get a lot out of it, and the pet doesn’t ask for that much in return. Having a pet and recognizing how important their role can be in your life is a good thing.

Don Sinkov

Don Sinkov
Your Divorce Mediator
Westchester County, NY
Putnam County, NY
Phone: (914) 588-6258
eMail: Info@YourDivorceMediator.com