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My wife wants to have a pet at home against my will

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male company worker in my 50s. Recently, my wife, who also works, says she wants to have a small pet, such as a small dog or rabbit, at home. I’m not happy about it.

Our condominium’s residents are allowed to have pets. Our son in junior high school also says he wants to have a pet.

My concern is that my wife and I have never had pets, even before we got married. It’s easy to start keeping a pet. But we will probably not be able to bear the responsibility for its life day after day. We must not give it up, even if we find it unbearable.

Also, I have a lot of things I want to do, such as read books, whenever I have free time when I don’t have to work or do housework. I don’t mean I want to withdraw into my shell or refuse to have time with my wife.

My wife works diligently, does housework and raises our son. I’m grateful for her efforts. But I can’t compromise on this matter. I would even feel like running away from home if she insists on this.

Y, Kanagawa Prefecture

Dear Mr. Y:

Running away from home is the last thing you need. If you did that, it would look like you are being kicked out by a pet dog or rabbit. It is somewhat miserable.

I’ve been moved by your sincere idea about pets. Having a pet means “bearing the responsibility for its life day after day” and we “must not give it up.” You are totally right. Some people neglect this matter, often causing social problems. I want all people with pets to read your letter.

However, I feel you don’t have to think too strictly about this matter. In my opinion, you should just make a rule.

First, you should clearly explain your philosophy of having a pet to your family. Then you should ask them if they are really prepared to do it properly. If they are serious, you should say: “Those who want to have a pet must take care of it. Let’s make it our family rule.”

I may sound too meticulous, but you may add this: “A person who does not want to have a pet is not obliged to take care of it. But that person must not obstruct others from having a pet.”

I suggest you reinforce your statement by saying to your wife: “I’m grateful to you. I love you, too. So I’ve decided to do this.”

Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist

(from March 19, 2017, issue)Speech

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