When it's you versus the dog: New book 'Stepdog' tackles the blending of families with pets

What to do when the man of your dreams comes with a nightmare dog? #Stepdog's Mireya Navarro has a few tips

You're not sure it's going to happen for you, but it does: You find the mate of your dreams. He has an enviable Pacific Palisades address and you both have top journalism jobs. So, can a galoopy mutt named Eddie — granted, one whose antics prompted the post office to put the house on a "do not deliver" list — really rain on your parade?

You bet. Full-on cyclone downpour, in fact.

In "Stepdog," Mireya Navarro offers a funny and honest — that is, not always flattering — tale of her journey to figure out where she fits in among husband, stepchildren and Eddie, the member of the family that seems to have the biggest personality. And often not a personality Navarro appreciates, with dog hair, pee on carpets, scratches on doors and more.

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She underestimated Eddie's place in the household: "It became apparent that a good chunk of my life would be squandered proving who was more alpha," she writes. At one point, she says, "I was ready to kick the dog to the moon. What a pill."

But was Eddie the problem?

It took some near tragedies and the advice of a pet shrink for Navarro to gain "clarity about all of our relationships." While she never questions the love between her and her husband, marriage, children and careers don't work without work. And, as she says, "never ever underestimate the dog."

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From all that she learned, Navarro includes a list of do's and don'ts; here are a few of them:

• Show you're not a competitor for food or affection; the dog, and the children, for that matter, should know right off the bat there will always be plenty of both for them, especially biscuits.

• Do downward-facing dog. Yoga helps.

• Give it time. Stepfamilies don't mesh easily. It sometimes takes dog years.

mary.macvean@latimes.com

twitter: @mmacvean

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