March 22, 2023

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Mostly cloudy skies. Slight chance of a rain shower. High around 65F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph..
Partly cloudy skies. Low 44F. Winds NNW at 10 to 15 mph.
Updated: September 22, 2022 @ 11:26 am

Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski is the founder and director of the Washington Health System Teen Outreach. She responds to 6–8 questions from young people daily and has written ‘Ask Mary Jo’ since 2005.
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Q. So my boyfriend got a puppy and I swear all he does is play with it, brush it, take it on walks, and take care of it. He talks to that dog more than he talks to me. – 17-year-old
Mary Jo’s Response: Relationships are complicated.
Is it possible for a healthy relationship to make room for a pet? Certainly. It sounds as if you feel left out, though.
Talk with your boyfriend. Share what you told me with kindness, acknowledging his fascination with his new pet. It’s OK to say you feel left out. It may also be time to evaluate your relationship with him.
Good luck.
Q. I’m a dog person and my new girlfriend is a cat person. Can we make it work?
Mary’s Jo Response: Sure. Healthy relationships should be able to handle change. Your pets may not be happy together at first, but gently introducing them to each other and respecting their individual needs and space should work.
I know people can have strong preferences for a type of pet, but those who love animals are often able to adjust. If not, perhaps this relationship is not as strong as you hope.
Q. I want a dog so bad. I’ve asked for one every birthday that I can remember. Then, I ask for one every Christmas. I just get excuses from my dad. He says dogs are expensive (I’ll use my own money to pay for the dog – I cut lawns in the summer and shovel driveways in the winter). Dad says dogs are a lot of trouble. (I’ll take care of it completely.) He says dogs make a mess. (I’ll train it well and be responsible to clean up after it.)
I think my dad just doesn’t like dogs. It’s just the two of us since my mom left and dad often is quiet. He keeps to himself. I think a dog would give me companionship. My 16th birthday is soon. – 15-year-old
Mary Jo’s Response: You sound discouraged and lonely. You also sound as if you’ve figured out some great answers to your dad’s reasons for not getting a dog. If he truly does not like dogs, though, this will be a hard sale.
Have you told him what you told me? Companionship is important.
Could you make an agreement with your dad? If you follow through with your promises, you can get and keep a dog.
I would not want you to adopt an animal and not care for it, so you should be sincere about your agreement and do this right. You seem reliable and diligent.
I hope you get your dog.
Have a question? Send it to Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski’s email
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