No, seriously, dogs are not really loyal. If they were, my partner would have been unable to steal the love and loyalty of the dog I raised from a tiny puppy (with virtually no input from him). As it were, he has done so. Gracie lives for him; she only tolerates me.
How was this accomplished?
After all, bonds made in during the puppy months (seven weeks to seven months) should be fairly enduring, right? It isn't like I left the country. I spend quality time with Gracie ever single day. I give her praise, treats, and guidance. And she absolutely loved me when she was little. From the moment I brought her home (I lived alone then), she never wanted me out of her sight.
That was then, as my partner is fond of saying.
After he moved in, his easy work schedule allowed him time with her that I just couldn't have. He would get home three and half hours before me some days. And he would spend the lion's share of that time with the dog-daughter. That's how he was able to usurp her loyalty, and I never even realized before it was too late. And even if I had realized, what would I have been able to do? Nothing. Unless I quit my job (not happening!), I would have been powerless to stop this.
So instead of having the devotion of a German Shepherd, I have a dog that likes me well enough, but really considers me...eh, just a friend, while thinking of my partner as her lord and master.
Don't get me wrong. I wanted a family dog for us for when he moved in. I wanted that a lot. BUT I also wanted to be included in that family, not just from my partner's perspective, but from Gracie's as well. I clearly do not have that.
So...dog loyalty...I'm pretty much calling this one a myth. They're loyal to whoever is convenient at that moment. It's no more complicated or mystical than that. And I have a very fickle and disloyal dog.
For the kicker: my partner blames me and won't accept any responsibility for doing this.
Getting another dog would not fix this; he would just take that one too. I think about it, even though I don't want another dog - I want MY dog back.