DEAR HARRIETTE: I want to adopt a dog with my boyfriend. I think it will be good preparation for a child. We are not going to have children soon, but a dog would be a nice addition for both of us.
My boyfriend tells me he’s not ready for the responsibility and he doesn't know how to take care of a dog because he's never had one. I have had dogs my whole life, and I know how to do it. I’m waiting for him to become ready for a dog, but I know I will become impatient if he keeps waiting. Should I talk to him about it again? -- Wanting a Dog, Milwaukee
DEAR WANTING A DOG: Pressuring your boyfriend into getting a dog is not the best way to begin this process, especially if your goal for having a dog is to lay the foundation for having a child. It is important that the two of you work together and get on the same page about your future. Talk about your goals and dreams, and plot your course. Perhaps a dog will figure into the picture, but there is no guarantee. Many people successfully have children without ever having pets.
Figure out what each of you is willing to do as it relates to building a family. Funny enough, if you ever do get a dog, you may find yourself shouldering the lion’s share of responsibility there -- at least sometimes. You have to decide what you are willing to do.