Settle This: Tony and Carla

Puppy Love Overload?

"My wife is obsessed with our dog, Thomas. Her whole world revolves around that dog," says Tony, who has been married to Carla for nine years. He says he and Carla had a good relationship before Thomas, their English bulldog, entered the picture two years ago, but now Thomas gets all the affection. "I get very jealous of the affection and the attention Carla gives Thomas. I don't believe that's right."


"Tony and I argue about Thomas, I would say, pretty much every morning of the week," Carla shares. "Tony does get mad that Thomas does have the run of the house. Tony would like to have more run of the house than the dog does."


Not only does Thomas take over the house, he takes over their bed. There are often nights when Tony goes to bed and Thomas is lying and drooling on his pillow. "I like to come to bed and throw an arm over her or a leg over to her, and she just pushes me right away, but she sleeps that way with Thomas all the time. I just don't understand why he can do it, and I can't," he says.


No expense is spared when it comes to Thomas. "We have spent thousands of dollars on Thomas' care," Carla says. She buys him jackets, sweaters and even hats. Their most recent purchase was a doggy bugg

y for Thomas, so Carla can push him on walks. "Tony thinks I go way overboard with my dog, Thomas, and he is absolutely wrong," Carla says. "Tony wishes he looked more like a bulldog and had hair and fur like Thomas, and maybe I'd pay more attention to him."


Tony wants Carla to change. "Carla has told me that if she had to make a choice between me and the dog, it would be the dog, and that's not right," he says.

Instead of greeting Dr. Phil, Carla greets her dog, who's watching from home. "Hi, Thomas! Hi, Thomas!" she says.


Dr. Phil reads statements that Carla has made about her dog. "You say, ‘I

love Thomas more than anything. Thomas is my number one priority,'" he says.

"Well, you saw him. How can you argue with that? He's gorgeous," Carla says.


"What's your thinking about this?" Dr. Phil asks Tony.

"I just want equal billing," he says. "I don't even come close."

"Does this seem odd to you at all?" Dr. Phil asks Carla.

"No," she says.

Carla lost her father, and it's her theory that he has been reincarnated in Thomas. "I named him after my dad, and he looks like my dad," she says.

"That creeps me out at several levels," Dr. Phil says, jokingly. "If you believe that this is your dad, you're kind of like snuggling and spooning and cooing with your dad."

"Oh, no. I never thought of it that way," Carla says.

"Tony, you are right," Dr. Phil tells him.


"I knew it," he says. "Don't be mistaken, Dr. Phil. I love Thomas too. He's a beautiful, loving dog, but as far as priorities go, Carla is my number one priority."

"Your number one priority is the dog, and his number one priority is you," Dr. Phil says to Carla.

Carla says that it's because Tony is gone all day. "I'm home, so Thomas has become my number one," she says.

"How do you get along with Tony?" Dr. Phil probes.

"We have a wonderful marriage. I love him dearly," Carla says.

Tony agrees that the only snag in his relationship with Carla is that she makes her pooch a priority.

"I just think that I'm right about this whole thing. I think that he needs to cut me some slack," Carla says. "He's a wonderful little dog, and I really enjoy him."

"You need to step up and raise the bar here," Dr. Phil tells Tony. "Dogs mark their territory, you need to mark yours!"