My crushing custody over the battle for our fur-baby:  They thought a pet would bring them closer. Instead it became a bitter weapon when they split. KATIE GLASS reveals the reality of going through a ‘dog divorce’

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  • Katie Glass reveals how she got a dog with her finances as a ‘Millennial cliché’ because they weren’t ready to get married, buy a house, or have kids at 34 and 29.
  • But last year she split with her partner of six years – their Labradoodle stuck
  • She is now fighting with her ex for custody of their ‘fur baby’ – a ‘dog divorce lawyer’ who is worth £1500

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When I ended my relationship with my fiancé during the first lockdown last year, after six years of being together, I knew there was no going back.

By the time we called it a day, the gap between us had grown so vast that we could never speak again if it weren’t for a soft, lovely bridge between us that I couldn’t live without. And so, after embarking on a potential marriage — relieved to leave before lawyers involved — I found myself negotiating something tougher than our break-up: a dog divorce.

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Getting a dog with your partner in your 30s is a millennial cliché, but that’s what we did. Nick was 29, I was 34. were unwilling to have children, were unable to buy their own house (we shared a London flat) and were hesitant to get married. Yet getting a dog together seemed like the right next step. We were together for three years and were not engaged yet.

‘It’ll be nice when we have kids,’ I told my friends, unaware of how prophetic it was: that in the end the dog would teach us not only what it’s like to have a fur baby together, but that How to do Let’s talk about his custody after we separate.

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I had never had a dog before we got our black Labradoodle Stringerbelle, but as I took him home in 2015, his soft belly wobbling and his wet nose tucked into mine, I was instantly smitten.

Katie Glass reveals how she got a dog with her finances as a ‘Millennial cliché’ because they weren’t ready to get married, buy a house, or have kids at 34 and 29.

She seemed to surround my boyfriend and my love – playful and sweet, a beautiful black bear with soft bunny ears and squashy fat paws. We named him after Idris Elba’s character in our favorite TV show and crime drama The Wire, Stringer Bell because I wanted something cute and Nick wanted something gangster.

I scoured Stringerbelle, filling the garden with strange toys as if I had started a crche: a small pink slide, a brightly colored ball pool, and endless soft animals and games that I specifically searched for ’cause she is clever, like his mother’ I told the blindfolded friends.

And I looked at Stringerbelle, the bustling places I was once a regular (trendy bars, theaters, The Tot) in favor of dog-friendly destinations (butchers, parks, pets at home).

We spent most of the day together, she would be next to me on the couch while I wrote, taking long afternoon walks together and long afternoon naps. If I had realized when she was the size of a teddy-bear that she would be over 4 feet, I wouldn’t have started letting her sleep on my bed or carrying her on the escalator because I worried her tail would get stuck , which I did when she turned 25 kg.

But I’ve never had a dog before. I didn’t know how big she would get. I didn’t even know that she would steal my heart and tell me about unconditional love.

I predicted correctly that having a dog with my boyfriend prepared us for parenthood. Raising him, we realized how different we were. When he became a strict canine disciplinarian in my eyes, I revealed myself to be a boundary-free hippie parent who let my kids loose.

Last year KKT Glass split with her partner of six years - their Labradoodle stuck in the middle

Last year KKT Glass split with her partner of six years – their Labradoodle stuck in the middle

His strict dogfight clashed with my laid-back attitude. She’s the kind of person who thinks a dog can sleep downstairs in the kitchen, whereas I’m a dog-mom who likes to order off the menu for my little princess. He watched training videos of TV dog whisperer Cesar Milan, I took him to doga (dog-yoga) classes. I worried about how it would be with our kids. He had the same concern about me.

The day I decided to leave Nick, I was puzzled what to do with the Stringerbell. As I packed up the VW van we’d bought together—which the three of us had spent a lot of special vacations in—driving to the seaside where we hugged while the Stringerbells were splashing in the waves, I was struck by my own. Had to hold back the tears.

I went with a pain in my stomach to give Stringerbell one last hug. I was desperate to have him, but knew it would lead to terrible rows.

And I worried that trying to watch Stringerbelle would mean I would never be able to break free from my old relationship.

I would have seen divorced friends with children argue with their ex over custody, seen the pain it caused them, not to mention the legal costs.

Some admitted to me that sometimes they would look at their children and remind them of their failed relationship. I worried with Stringerbelle that this would be what it was – that seeing her would remind me of the family that the three of us were.

Katie says: The day I decided to leave Nick, I was puzzled about what to do with Stringerbell.  As I packed up the VW van we'd bought together—the three of us who had spent a lot of special vacation driving by the ocean where we hugged while the Stringerbells scattered in the waves, I felt my tears. had to hold back

Katie says: The day I decided to leave Nick, I was puzzled about what to do with Stringerbell. As I packed up the VW van we’d bought together—the three of us who had spent a lot of special vacation driving by the ocean where we hugged while the Stringerbells scattered in the waves, I felt my tears. had to hold back

I was confused about the legal status. Speaking to a canine divorce attorney (yes, they really do exist!) called Randall Buckley from Richard Nelson LLP, he explained that courts view pets as property—like Mary Stringerbell on a wide-screen TV. was not more important.

He says: ‘There are currently no welfare ideas, but with the introduction of laws about pet-napping’ [pet abduction is set to become a criminal offence with up to seven years in jail] which can change.

‘There are different laws if you’re married or single,’ says Randall. If I had gotten married, things would have been better. ‘At the conclusion of the marriage the division of property is based on what a judge deems fit. Unmarried couples…

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