Q: My fiancee “Maddie” loves large plants and has a pet name for each one in her collection. But I want a real pet, like a Lab. Our landlord would allow a dog, too. Maddie thinks we should wait to get a dog until we can buy a house, and that a dog would tie us down because we are so busy. I think it would be the opposite, as many of our friends are getting dogs and it would be fun to have doggy play dates and hang out all together or go on hikes, something I would like to do more of, anyway.
A: Getting a dog is definitely a commitment and will change your life. I absolutely adore my own two Labradoodles! I’m not sure I could be without them!
It sounds like Maddie is not against having a dog, ever, so that is promising. For many reasons, though, be very patient with this. Be sure you are both on the same page with your ideas of your future. Support your life together, her love of plants, and your love of dogs by researching which plants, indoors or out, are safe for dogs. Share your interests and build goals together by collecting images and making a vision board of your future dream home, one with plenty of space for a beautiful garden and a pet dog.
If hiking or afternoon get-togethers are a new thing for you both, why not get this going before you get a dog. Research shows that having a dog can get people out of the house more often. And, indulge your own desire for a dog by borrowing friends’ dogs for a hike or house sitting. Research also shows that other people’s dogs also make great companions.
Meanwhile, plants also help create a happier, healthier home. Of course they’re not as good at warming your lap or being as entertaining as a dog or cat. But many plants can live for decades, and so can become, sort of, a valued part of the family, especially if you’re renting or have allergies to animal fur. Besides helping keep the air clean, houseplants have a calming, peaceful presence. And, like a pet dog or cat, plants can also boost your mood.
When the time is right for all of you, including your own future pet dog, it will all fall into place. Until then, embrace your fiancee and her plants.