Today I got to thinking about the way my ex treated my disabled dog.
I have a shelter chihuahua who has a bunch of congenital issues (one of my vets thinks it’s something to do with her coat type). She’s always been deaf and has trouble seeing unless something is directly in front of her or the place is brightly lit.
Sometimes, she’s really startled and starts yelping frantically if she sees someone far away at night. Or if someone rapidly walks up from behind her. That immediately changes when she gets a proper look at the person, tho. That’s when her tail wags so fast her butt dances, she happy spins & etc etc.
My ex would get so uncharacteristically angry over this. One of the first things he said when he saw my dog was “God, I hate chihuahuas”.
He used to say she was disrespectful (?) when she’d yelp and that she probably wasn’t even deaf, just pretending to avoid following orders (even though he was present during several vet visits dealing with her eyes and deafness).
Ex liked to randomly poke her face and flank. He’d flick her ears over and over to try to annoy her cus “A proper dog needs to be ok with anything a human does without getting angry.” She never snapped at him. My dog would usually turn her head away then and ignore him. He’d take it as evidence that “See? She’s already getting pissed. All chihuahuas are like that”. You’d think chihuahuas murdered his mom or smth from the sheer disdain he had.
I’ll always regret not dumping him the moment he ranted about how much he hates chihuahuas. I was an idiot all “He doesn’t know friendly chihuahuas yet. My girl will win him over with her friendliness.” And she did try.
Coquine attempted many times to initiate cuddles or play time, bringing him her toys or placing her face against his leg. She would go through her repertoire of tricks, unprompted. He’d ignore it in favor of ear flicking thing and/or tugging her tail cus “This is how I play with my cats. Real dogs like this too.”
Yeah, no, that wasn’t it at all. My poor dog probably had no idea what she’d done wrong for this one human to insist on antagonizing her.
I later realized my ex’s behaviour with animals in general was a symptom. Abusiveness isn’t always a huge display of blatant violence. It can be things like going out of your way to punish your SO’s pet for daring to exist.
Will sound unbelievable but he hid it well! He was a volunteer at a school for special needs kids and had a really laid back front that was always a great first impression and made him well liked.
His true colors showed the closer one got to him, though. For me it started around two years later.
I also eventually found out I wasn’t the only one who saw some seriously ugly sides of him. Ex-friends of his were shook when they saw that his calm and laid back public persona was so different from his actual self.
I’m so glad you realize and know now.
I went through a similar experience with an ‘ex’ (I literally refer to him as a roommate that’s how much I hate him and he’s been blocked for years now and counting). He adopted this dog from the shelter while we were ‘together’ and we both cared for her even though she was his dog.
I never considered it abuse because I was like… I mean.. he cares about the dog… but in hindsight, I freaking wish I said something…. I wish I spoke up, told him off, and left. I wish I was confident and educated and instantly knew right from wrong instead of debating and being unsure.
When we broke up, he said he doesn’t want her and that he’s also not rehoming/ surrendering her and it was on me to deal with her… fast forward: she lives happily with my parents in their big house and backyard.
Ugh yeah, I really feel you. Especially about wishing you knew immediately right from wrong, that’s exactly how it was.
I can’t help but kick myself mentally for letting my ex mistreat my dog but I also understand it’s hard to do much when you’re doubting your own reasoning and judgement.
I remember not being able to articulate what felt off about my ex’s actions beyond “He’s so…. mean?? With my dog. No, he doesn’t hit her and yes, she’s deaf so even if he yelled it wouldn’t do a thing…. but he’s seriously mean.” I felt ridiculous trying to explain and like I was probably the crazy one.
I’m so glad to hear the pup now lives happily with your family! Every dog deserves worlds better than that selfish ass roommate and I’m happy she went to a great and loving home. Many head pats her way!
I think it was more of a weird control thing. He’d get all happy when I’d cuddle with cats and stuff because those were his preferred animal and therefore had his approval.
Like, it was ok for me to spend time with animals he liked but if I happened to love animals he didn’t approve of? That’s when things would turn weird and ugly.