'Stepdog': Dealing with a furry third wheel

'Stepdog' by Mireya Navarro
'Stepdog' by Mireya Navarro
Courtesy of Putnam

Three can be a crowd in any new relationship — especially when one of those has four paws.

That's the story behind "Stepdog," Mireya Navarro's memoir about the rough (ruff?) start to her relationship with her husband.

When they met, her husband Jim Sterngold already had Eddie, a large mutt. And Eddie wasn't ready for another person in the house.

"Dogs have their own personalities," Navarro said. "They're very capable of jealousy. [Eddie] was very loyal to my future husband, and he made it very clear that I was the intruder."

Navarro embarked on a mission to charm Eddie and mark her own territory in the house — with mixed results. Her memoir describes the hilarious lengths she went to to win over her furry nemesis.

"If I couldn't win over the dog, what kind of loser was I?" she asked herself.

On Wednesday, Navarro joined MPR News' Kerri Miller to discuss her step dog Eddie and the power of pets to change the dynamic of a relationship. Callers let Navarro know she's not alone: People shared stories of jealous ferrets, skittish greyhounds and a cat that just could not get along with a new boyfriend.

For Navarro and her husband, Eddie is still with them. "He's almost 15 years old. Only senility — on his part, not mine — has improved our relationship. I think he forgets he doesn't like me."

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