My Mom Sent Me a Photo of My Dogs on the Front Porch — Is My Reaction Justified?

I’ve been married to Tom for three years now. Before we got married, I already had my two dogs, Max and Bella. They’re like my children, and Tom knows this. I always thought he felt the same way about them.

A month ago, I had a two-week work trip coming up. “Don’t worry,” Tom said, “I’ll take care of Max and Bella. You go and do your best at work.” I felt relieved.

The day I left, I gave Max and Bella big hugs. “Be good for Tom,” I told them. Tom smiled. “They’ll be fine,” he said. I got into the taxi and waved goodbye.

Once I got to the hotel and settled in, I heard my phone buzz. It was a text from my mom.

“Is everything okay with Max and Bella?” she asked. I frowned, feeling confused. “What do you mean?” I replied.

“They were tied up on the front porch,” she wrote back. My heart sank. I immediately asked her to send a picture. The image she sent made my heart race. There were Max and Bella, tied up outside. They looked so sad.

I called Tom right away. He answered on the third ring. “Hey, what’s up?” he said, sounding cheerful.

“Tom, why are Max and Bella tied up outside?” I tried to keep my voice calm, but it was hard.

“Oh, that,” he said. “I just thought they needed some fresh air.”

“For how long?” I asked, my anger rising.

“Just for a little bit,” he said. “I’ll bring them back inside soon.”

I didn’t know what to say. I felt so many emotions all at once. “Please, Tom, bring them inside now,” I said.

“Okay, okay,” he replied. “I’ll do it right now.”

I hung up and tried to focus on work, but it was impossible. My mind kept going back to the image of my dogs tied up. I worried about them constantly.

The next day, I called Tom again. “How are Max and Bella?” I asked.

“They’re fine,” he said. “Don’t worry so much.”

“Can you send me a picture?” I asked.

“Sure,” he said. A few minutes later, he sent a picture of Max and Bella inside the house. They looked okay, but I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was wrong.

Over the next few days, I kept checking in. “Tom, are the dogs okay?” I would ask.

“Yes, they’re fine,” he always said, but he sounded annoyed.

One evening, my mom called me. “I went by the house again,” she said. “I didn’t see the dogs outside, but the house looked a bit messy.”

“Messy?” I asked, worried.

“Yes,” she replied. “Clothes everywhere, dishes in the sink.”

I sighed. “Thanks for letting me know, Mom.”

A little while before my trip ended, I called Tom again to check in. “Tom, I’m coming home in a week,” I said.

“Great,” he replied, sounding tired.

“How are the dogs?” I asked again.

“Fine,” he said. “They’re fine.”

We spoke for a minute or so and I hung up. The second I put the phone down, I decided to ask my mom to swing by my house and check in on everything.

“Of course, honey. I’ll stop by tomorrow and send you a photo of the place. I still have the spare key.”

The very next day, she sent me the photo. I was furious. Tom had tied them up in the front garden again! I asked my mother to untie my dogs and take them with her.

“Take them to your place, Mom. I can’t trust Tom right now.” She agreed and took Max and Bella to her house.

I decided to cut my trip short. I couldn’t focus on work knowing my dogs were treated like that. I rushed home, my mind racing. When I got there, I tried to act normal. I walked up to my husband, who was lounging on the couch.

“Hey, Tom,” I said, my voice trembling slightly.

When he saw me, his eyes widened. “Emma? You’re back early.”

“Yeah, work finished up sooner than I thought,” I said, forcing a smile. “Where are Max and Bella?”

He hesitated. “Uh, they’re outside.”

I took a deep breath. “No, they’re not. Mom has them. Why did you leave them tied up out there??”

Tom shifted uncomfortably. “I… I thought it would be good for them to be outside.”

“All day? And night?” I snapped.

He sighed. “Emma, you’re overreacting.”

“Overreacting? Tom, they’re like my kids! How could you treat them like that?” My voice was rising now, my anger bubbling to the surface.

“You’re always putting those dogs before me,” he said, standing up. “It’s like they matter more than I do.”

I stared at him, incredulous. “They matter just as much. And you know that.”

He threw his hands up. “I can’t do this. If you care so much about them, maybe you should be married to them instead of me.”

I felt a cold feeling wash over me. “Maybe there isn’t space for you in my life.”

That night, I packed a bag and went to my mom’s house. Max and Bella were so happy to see me, and I felt a sense of relief being with them. I knew I had a lot to think about.

The next day, I called a lawyer. I couldn’t stay in a marriage where my dogs were mistreated and my feelings were dismissed. It wasn’t just about the dogs, though they were a huge part of it. It was about respect and love, things that seemed to be missing.

When I got back to the house, Tom was waiting. “Where have you been?” he asked, his tone accusatory.

“With my mom,” I replied. “With Max and Bella.”

He scoffed. “So that’s it? You’re just going to leave?”

“I’m filing for divorce, Tom,” I said firmly. “I can’t do this anymore.”

“You’re serious,” he said, his face paling.

“Yes. And I need you to leave. This house was mine before we got married. You need to find somewhere else to stay.”

He looked stunned. “You can’t be serious.”

“I am,” I said. “I want you out by the end of the week.”

He didn’t argue. He just nodded and went upstairs to start packing.

A few days later, he was gone. The house was quiet, and I felt a mix of sadness and relief. I sat on the couch, Max and Bella on either side of me.

“Did I do the right thing?” I wondered aloud, looking at my dogs. They seemed happy and content to be with me.

I knew the answer deep down. Yes, I had done the right thing. No one who truly loved me would treat my dogs like that. Tom’s behavior was a sign of deeper issues.

So here I am, alone but not really alone. I have Max and Bella, and that’s enough for now. The future feels uncertain, but I know I made the right choice for all of us.

Was my decision to leave Tom justified? After seeing how he treated my dogs, I believe it was. They are my family, and anyone who can’t accept that doesn’t belong in my life.

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