In the case of a couple from Spain, the battle over custody of their dog, Panda, wasn’t exactly a black and white issue. 

As reported by The Washington Post, a judge ruled that the couple was to share in puppy parenting duties after the woman filed the lawsuit. Our pets are much more than furry material items, and the court’s ruling confirmed such truth, citing the “love one might have toward their pet doesn’t exclude that the animal can also receive affection from other people.”

The couple had been together for 20 months, and they’ll now spend alternating months as “co-responsible” or “co-caretakers” of Panda. By using these labels, and not calling them “co-owners,” the dog isn’t merely an “object” or “shared property.”

Although a story as this isn’t an every day occurrence, it’s not the first time Spain’s legal system has granted the split custody of a dog. In 2019, a west highland terrier was granted the right to split the year with its human caretakers. 

While more and more couples realize their living arrangements would improve without the human in their life and with their fur baby, cases like this may become more common.