The average dog can live for 8 to 11 years. The average relationship does not live for 8 to 11 years. And while that’s a grim state of affairs for romantics, it is a grimmer state of affairs for Schnauzers — which is why, according to the CEO of U.K. canine charity Dog Trust, we should all be signing “pre-pups.” We may not be able to guarantee our own lasting happiness, but we can guarantee that someone will keep Fido in frisbees and biscuits for life. Have we all learned nothing from the battle for Joey the Miniature Dachshund?
Given that Dog Trust says a quarter of couples think their dog would be the biggest issue for them if they split up, and a third would consider signing a legally binding dog-care agreement, a pre-pup makes sense. The Daily Mail reports that more and more couples are ending up in court over visitation rights and dog support payments, which is a pretty good reason to plan for the worst. Do you want to be the couple making public cases for your respective fitness to care for the family’s aging Irish Wolfhound? (Answer: you do not.)
Granted, a “pre-pup” is absurd. But a “pre-pup” is also legitimately important. Dogs, unlike sets of IKEA dishes, cannot be divided easily. Also unlike sets of IKEA dishes, dogs are expensive — one way or another, couples need to figure out who’s paying for squeaky balls and rawhide if the relationship goes south. You don’t even have to call it a “pre-pup.” You could keep your dignity and just call it “being responsible.”