Dividing Fluffy and Fido

13 May

Breaking up is hard to do – emotions and stress levels run high and change is inevitable. But what happens when both parties in a broken relationship want to keep Fluffy or Fido?

dividing-the-dogI’ve always said that you can mediate just about any dispute … but most people don’t think about pet custody and visitation plans. Usually, dog bark cases at community mediation centers come to mind when thinking about disputes involving animals.

I read an article about a mediator in the San Francisco are who helps couples work out joint pet custody.  He discusses the following question with parties: “What can you both do to help your pet through this transition and also meet your needs to be a part of your pet’s life?”  It changes the dynamic from polarization and tension to focusing on the beloved pet.

Why use a pet mediator? Because judges often consider pets property like a car or a desk. In some states, the judge may order expensive pets like horses to be sold. Can you imagine?

In mediation, couples can discuss their own needs and reality test any alternatives proposed (i.e. a work travel schedule may make it difficult to have the pet during the week).  And the parties can arrive at a solution that will work for both of them … and Fluffy or Fido.

The San Fran pet mediator likes to meet the pet or at least see a photo. I think I would like that kind of work!









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