Dear Miriam,

There has been an issue at home recently that’s causing awful rows.

In the summer of 2020 we got a dog, a beautiful Golden Retriever from one of the animal sanctuaries.

Now, I’m not going to lie, she’s a bit mental. She would eat anything and also isn’t fond of other dogs. Fair enough, I will concede that she could be hard work, but we were all so fond of her. She has the most beautiful temperament and is so affectionate to humans.

I probably should say at this point that when we got the dog I was living at home because I was doing college remotely. Now I’m on campus, so I’ve moved back into to the city during the week, but I’m home every weekend.

One Friday recently I came home from college to find the dog gone.

I can’t explain to you Miriam how heartbroken I felt and I still feel. I know some people might think it’s ridiculous, but I can’t remember ever feeling upset like this.

It turns out my brother who lives and works on the farm convinced my parents to give the dog away. He had half mentioned it a few times, but I shot any suggestion down and never thought it would actually happen.

I went through the roof. I’m just about on speaking terms with my parents and my brother and I are not talking.

He said she was too much work for mam and dad and it was unfair of me to expect them to mind her while I was “swanning around pubs in the city”.

They’ve told me the dog has gone to a good home and I believe them, but I miss her so much and want her back. She’s microchipped in my name and at the beginning I was actually thinking of taking her back, but then they told me the new family had little children and I don’t know if I’d have the heart.

One Friday recently I came home from college to find the dog gone

I’m really confused as to what to do, should I take the dog back or not? And how do we avoid us all falling out as a family over this?

Heartbroken Girl

Dear Heartbroken Girl,

Thank you very much for your email. I want to let you know that I understand your pain and you are entitled to feel upset about this. The love we feel for our pets is real, so it is understandable you are heartbroken.

This one, I must say though, is tough.

Technically you are within your rights to take back the dog and in another situation I might tell you to do just that. However, you being in college and your parents being the primary caretakers of the dog, puts a different spin on things. In this instance, as you are not around full time, you might have to let the dog go, as much as it pains you to do so. Know that I don’t say this flippantly. I would be very upset if I were in your position. You are between a rock and a hard place.

That said, I would not let this go unaddressed.

Falling out with family is something we should all avoid at all costs. Familial relationships must be kept strong. Bear that in mind while executing the following.

I would definitely have a conversation with both your parents and your brother. I would tell them that you understand their difficulties in relation to the dog, but they should have had a proper conversation and consulted you on this.

Explain to them how upset you are and tell them in future you expect not to be bypassed in this manner.

If you can manage to have a constructive, non-confrontational conversation, it should strengthen your relationships, not damage them. Say what you have to say, make your point clearly and firmly, then leave it at that.

In the future you will have your own space where you will be able to keep pets, but until then hang in there and allow yourself to feel what you are feeling now.

Wishing you all the best,


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