DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Richard," and I are a mature couple who have been seeing each other for three years. I love him. My dog is the issue.
"Princess" is a 2-year-old rat terrier/mini-pinscher mix. She weighs 9 pounds and is spoiled. (I admit I'm a softy when it comes to discipline.) She barks at anyone and anything she sees. Her barks are shrill and can be annoying. But I live alone and feel she is protecting me.
Richard can no longer tolerate Princess' barking and has curbed his visits considerably. Except for this issue, he is my dream guy, and I feel lucky to have found him. I was married for more than 20 years to a controlling man, and I had to defer or compromise on everything. I will not compromise on this. I feel Richard should understand my attachment to Princess, especially when he's not around.
I miss him. Our dates are now only occasional. He thinks I prefer the dog over him, and that's not the case. Am I being selfish? Why can't I have them both? Is there a future for us, or have we reached an impasse? -- WON'T GIVE UP THE PUP, LAFAYETTE, LA.
DEAR WON'T GIVE UP: Loving one's dog is not being selfish. You could have them both if you would contact a dog trainer and start giving Princess a doggy education that includes boundaries. Incessant barking should not be allowed.
Perhaps once Richard sees that Princess no longer regards him as a hostile intruder, he will feel more welcome. But that could take some work on the part of all three of you, if he's still willing.