Anna arrives in Yalta and is known only as "the lady with the dog." She bumps into Gurov a few times before really meeting him one day when she takes a table next to his at lunch. We know immediately that she is a lady, married, bored, and modest.
While chatting with Gurov, Anna reveals some of her background. She was raised in Petersburg and now lives in "S." with her husband.
Anna and Gurov start spending more time together. One day he kisses her, and he takes her back to his hotel room.
After they have sex, Anna is distraught. She imagines that she is a fallen woman that Gurov will despise and never respect her. She tries to explain to him why she gave in to the affair: she married young and her husband is a "flunkey." She's curious and eager for a life she's not getting at home.
She and Gurov go to Oreanda. They admire the views until dawn, when they return to town.
Anna receives a note from her husband saying there's something wrong with his eyes and asking her to return home. She does. At the train station, when she parts with Gurov, she tells him they will never meet again.
Anna is at the theatre with her husband when Gurov shows up. She is horrified and quickly takes him out of the public eye. She wants to know why he's come to see her. She admits that she hasn't been able to stop thinking about him. She begs him to leave and promises she'll come see him in Moscow.
She does begin visiting Moscow. Whenever she is in town, she stays in a hotel and sends a messenger to Gurov.
One day, when Gurov comes to see her at the hotel, she is crying. He tries to comfort her. The two of them lament their ill-fated predicament, and try to come up with a way to be together despite their separate lives. They conclude that there is a long, difficult road up ahead, just beginning.