Want a kid? Get a pet first. You’ve heard that one before—dip the toes before diving all in. So, unbeknownst to me, my ex presented me with a puppy for Christmas some years ago. We trained the pup, split medical bills, took turns spending nights with him (we didn’t live together at the time), left him at the “grandparents’” house when we’d take vacations—basically, treated him like our firstborn. And then…we broke up. Here comes the part they don’t tell you. There are no legalities in place for a pet (well, guess you can go there, but that’s just dirty). Who keeps the dog? Are there visitation rights? Do you still split the bills? And, most importantly, what happens when one (or both) of you meet someone new?

Seems silly, doesn’t it—I mean, we are just talking about a dog here. But, in this scenario, my then-beau came from a family who bred dogs, and for me, this was my first puppy, ever. Needless to say, we were both quite smitten and attached. We tried to “share custody”, but I think you all know how that ends. A break-up or a divorce, a child or a pet, once a new S.O. steps into the picture, complications arise. A dog no longer seems like a good enough reason to maintain an old relationship. So, if you want kids, maybe it’s  good idea to go ahead and get a dog first—just make sure your future plans include having a kid, together. No need to put a dog through separation anxiety.

As far as the practice, I mean, let’s be real, having a pet and having a kid—not the same. But, being able to share this responsibility, you get a peek into the role your man will play. Does he do his share of the walking, the cleaning and the wiping, or does he play fetch for a few minutes at the end of each day? Believe it or not, you’ve just glimpsed into the future—hope the 8-ball looks promising.

Plus, now that I am a pet owner, I am definitely a lot more prepared: sleepless nights, being worried sick, cleaning up poop and puke, maintaining a schedule around the dog (or, at least, around his bowel movements). For those who haven’t had the pleasures of owning a pet, hope this didn’t kill the desire. Along with the dirty work, I get the joys of knowing someone’s entire existence is solely dependent on me, and that I can make this creature happy simply by coming home every day. Now, that seems pretty close to the real deal…minus the 9-month wait and the torturous arrival process, that is.


Vicky fills the shoes of local Carrie Bradshaw in CandiDates, a blog about her own quest to explore the intricacies of relationships. Originally from Kiev, Ukraine, she has made Denver her home and playground. An editor and writer for 303 Magazine by day, Vicky spends her nights pursuing her passion of ballroom dance.