Q: My girlfriend is crazy (maybe literally?) about her dog. "Amy" and I are both 32 and have talked seriously about marriage. I love Amy and she's the best thing that's ever happened to me.
Since the beginning I've known her dog is a big part of her life, and that's fine with me, though I've never had pets myself.
The thing is, I've started wondering about her priorities. The dog was diagnosed with incurable kidney disease. He is 10 and had a good life and I expected Amy would put him down. Instead she's spending insane amounts of money on "supportive care" and plans to keep him alive as long as his "quality of life" is good. She has to give him fluids every day, cook him special food and so on.
To me, all of this is just crazy for a dog who is going to die anyway.
It's gotten to the point where she has asked me to refrain from even talking to her about this and I wonder if this is a sign that she loves that dog more than me. Am I insensitive?
A: You're going to die anyway. Should anyone cook you special food?
Sure, it's money for a "lost" cause, and it's a reasonable discussion to have — for human health care, too. How much intervention is reasonable, for what effect on duration and quality of life?
On the other hand: The companionship provided by an animal is real. I expect anyone who has ever bonded with a dog understands Amy, even those who'd opt for euthanasia.
Plus: She has her priorities, you have yours. Compatibility requires respect for each other's priorities where they differ.
Finally, you've made this so binary. Where do you get the idea that if Amy loved you, she'd euthanize her dog?!
You had the option to say, "It's not my thing, but it's hers, so I respect that." It's not either-or. It's two individual sets of values you're both entitled to have — and to try to reconcile.
But you leapfrogged to calling her "crazy." Yikes.