Husband and dogs

I have loved animals my whole life. I was very open about this with my husband beofre marrige. I had a cat when we got married and would’ve taken the dog, but it was a family dog and my parents and brother wouldn’t let me. 🙂 My husband grew up with pets and never voiced any opposition to this. Over our almost 22 years of marriage, every time we’ve got a dog, it has been a huge battle. My husband never wants them and I do. When our lab died of old age in 2010 my husband was strongly opposed to getting another dog. He finally relented if I agreed to a small breed. I prefer big dogs, but seeing this was the only way he’d give in, I compromised. We actually ended up with 2 toy poodles that we’ve had almost 8 years. The problem is we live in a canyon bordering forest and we also have a cabin in the mountains and spend a ton of time there as well. One of our dogs was carried off and dropped by a bald eagle in our front yard (not the cabin) a few years ago and fortunately lived, but lost an eye. The other dog did fine for almost 8 years until last week when a coyote or mountain lion got her. It was too dark to see what it was, but my daughter and I were out there and heard it all and tried to save the dog unsuccessfully. I had just had knee surgery and could barely walk and couldn’t get to her. My husband almost immediately started in on how we are not getting another dog (I haven’t even asked yet) and for me not to even ask. This adds to my heartbreak even more. Yes I still have 1 dog left, but he can’t go on walks or hike with me and I do that a lot by myself. My other dog did this with me and now she’s gone. I have a lot of health challenges (lupus and lots of joint issues) and having a dog helps me get out and walk and hike and provides a huge amount of emotional support for me. My husband has said in the past I don’t need a dog to do these things and to just do it without one. Tonight the kids mentioned getting another dog after we heal and my husband immediately shut them down. I am seriously so angry by this and knowing I’m emotionally fragile from losing my dog and a recent knee surgery and wouldn’t be able to stay calm, I kept my mouth shut until I could have a calm, rationale conversation. This is where I have left it for now. This is a huge feat for me. Not only am I fighting an uphill battle about a dog, but I need a big dog that isn’t bait while I’m hiking or even gardening in my own yard. The problem is if he tells me no, I’m inclined to do it anyway and this will not go over well. I may need a lawyer. That may be an exaggeration, but not much. He will be furious and it will be awful. All thoughts, but judging by his past responses and recent threats, very likely. I am lost on what to do or how to approach it with him when I am calm. I’m struggling with the model especially since I have so many thoughts about all this.

C: Husband says we can’t get another dog.
T: I love dogs and they help me with anxiety and emotional support so much. I want a dog to help motivate me to walk and hike regularly and so I feel safer walking and hiking alone (easy nearby hikes). If he loved me and I was important enough to him, he’d have no issue with a dog knowing how important it is to me. He likes to win and just stands his ground until he feels like he wins. I’ve won most of the dog battles and he is determined to win this one. Why is it a battle at all? He married me knowing this.
Feeling: Despair
Action: Hold everything in becoming more of an emotional wreck, constantly trying to figure out how to talk to him about this rationally. Avoid him.
Result: Very dark feelings for him with lack of connection and feeling so sad that I have to pick a dog or him.

I want to get the dog regardless of what he says. This is the model I’ve come up with if I do that.

C: Husband says we can’t get another dog.
T: I am an adult and I can get a dog if I want to.
F: I’m struggling here….I will feel peaceful and content about getting the dog, but sad and scared of what it will mean for my marriage (and kids) if I ignore my husband’s “demands” that we aren’t getting another dog.
A: Walking and hiking, feeling safe with my dog at my side (I was doing this before tearing my ACL with my dog that just died, just didn’t feel safe because she was so small).
R: Improving health and a great way to rebuild my body and spirit after having a bad knee injury and surgery to both knees since last June. I’ll show up as a better wife and mother.

Is a dog worth my marrige? No….I have 4 kids and I don’t want to break up their home. But, I’m tired of feeling like we are always on different pages and that I have to go to battle with him or just roll over and let him have his way. He likes to debate and criticize most things in life. It’s exhausting. I usually just let him have his way, and try to manage my own thoughts and expectations around it, but I dont want to this time. Help!