illustration of a man looking out a window at a woman in a hat and dress walking her little dog

The Lady with the Pet Dog

by Anton Chekhov

Start Free Trial

The Lady with the Pet Dog Summary

"The Lady with the Pet Dog" is a short story by Anton Checkhov in which Dmitry Gurov meets a lovely woman named Anna at a seaside hotel. Gurov falls in love with Anna, and they have an affair.

  • Alone on holiday, Gurov meets a gentlewoman named Anna.

  • Despite his contemptuous and sexist attitude toward all women, Gurov falls in love with Anna, and they have an affair. At the end of the summer, they part ways.

  • In Moscow, Gurov assumes that he'll forget about Anna. He doesn't, so he seeks her out and they eventually rekindle their love and find some happiness together. 


Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 529


Anton Chekhov's “The Lady with the Pet Dog” begins in Yalta, a resort city on the coast of the Black Sea, as the narrator, Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov, a married banker from Moscow, notices a new arrival on the promenade. He knows very little about her except that she is young and attractive and has yet to be seen without the company of a small white Pomeranian. From her appearance and mannerisms, Dmitri correctly assumes that she, too, is a solo traveler on vacation from a life and a marriage she finds unfulfilling. 

The bored older man is no stranger to infidelity, as he views his wife with disdain, finding her appearance displeasing and her manner distasteful. Although he and his wife have children, Dmitri feels unfulfilled in his marriage and suffers no guilt for his misdeeds. So, Dmitri approaches the younger woman, intending to begin yet another affair. 

Dmitri learns the woman's name: Anna Sergeyevna. He learns, too, that she is also in an unfulfilling marriage and feels chained to the unsuccessful older man she married on a youthful whim. However, once Anna begins an affair with Dmitri, she is troubled by complicated feelings. At once, she sees herself as a “fallen woman” and feels horribly guilty for her shameful and immoral actions. Yet, she is also troubled by the happiness she feels in Dmitri’s company, a man for whom she feels the love and desire her marriage lacks. 

Many nights into their liaison, a letter arrives from Anna’s husband, in which he begs her to return home with haste and aid him with his ailing vision. She calls the letter fate, and the lovers part with a bittersweet goodbye, certain that they will never see each other again. Dmitri writes off their affair as yet another dalliance, no different to those before and those to come, imagining that, in a month's time, he will no longer remember her name. 

Returning to Moscow and the familiar habits of his mundane life as a banker, father, and husband, Dmitri soon finds himself lingering in memories of Anna Sergeyevna and their time together in Yalta. Try as he might, he cannot shake the thought of her, so he travels to her city, stakes out her home, then contrives a way to run into her at the opening night of The Geisha. Dmitri spots her in the crowd; as he does, he is beset with unexpected feelings of love and admiration. When her husband steps away, Dmitri pursues Anna. His presence stuns her, but she cannot contain herself, telling him that she is deeply unhappy and promising to meet him in Moscow. 

Anna and Dmitri reprise their affair, and the young woman begins to regularly journey to Moscow, where their connection only strengthens. The mismatched lovers become deeply devoted to one another, and their affair, once incidental, evolves into a genuinely loving relationship. The story ends as the pair discusses the difficulty of continuing, yet neither is willing to end the affair. While they know that, in nineteenth-century Russia, making their relationship permanent will be difficult, they are determined to find a way to prove the permanence of their love. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access