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Smoothing Out the Bumps
• Hire a dog walker to orchestrate the go-betweens.
• Schedule longer periods between swaps to keep transition-related stress to a minimum.
• If you also share custody of your child, consider putting your dog on the same schedule.
Pluses & Minuses
Like most things in life, pet sharing can have its ups and downs.
On the up side:
• When you leave town you know your dog is being taken care of by someone who genuinely loves them (and it’s free!).
• You can share expenses. (In my case, The Doone is due for her second knee surgery and, at $2,500 a pop, it’s nice to know I can split that with my ex.)
• Especially if you are single, it’s great to have backup you can trust when you need a break.
On the down side:
• You may have to interact with your ex more than you might like (and know details about his life you’d rather not).
• The coordination can be tricky, especially if the schedule is either too loose or too rigid.
• No matter how much you want to share, it might not be the best choice for your pet.
Planning Your Pets’ Future When Your Relationship Is in the Past
• Don’t let your pets become pawns in an emotional tug of war. Vow to do what is best for them.
• Avoid using email to resolve “hot button” issues. Emails generally escalate conflict.
• Choose a time and place to talk that is mutually convenient.
• Brainstorm instead of debate.
• Listen. Have a dialogue instead of two monologues.
• Stay focused on your pets’ wellbeing.
• Write down any agreements you reach, and make sure they are clear, specific and realistic.
• If communicating with each other is too difficult, consider hiring a skilled mediator.
Amelia Glynn, a San Francisco-based writer and editor, is the co-author of The Anti-Bride Planner and blogs for SFGate.com’s “Tails of the City.”
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