My dogs are and always will be my first priority. But there are times when I crave the companionship of my fellow humans. Specifically, those of the male persuasion. There, I said it. It might be nice to have a boyfriend.
Never mind the criteria set forth in the song “Matchmaker” from “Fiddler on the Roof”: “For Papa, make him a scholar/ For Mama, make him rich as a king/ For me, well, I wouldn’t holler/ If he were as handsome as anything.” Education, money, looks … whatever. The guy has to value dogs as much as I do.
Or, at the very least, he has to value me enough to 1) show kindness and respect to my dogs and all animals, and 2) let me carry on my rescue work without judgment or interference. This is not as hard as it sounds. All a guy really has to do is stand by and offer strong, silent, moral support.
But the older I get and the more I see, I’m having to face a hard fact. Finding that man will be about as easy as finding a Unicorn. I thought I came close to finding him a couple of times, but no cigar. (Actually, there was, briefly, one contender with an addiction to havanas. But that’s another story.)
When you have a romantic heart – and if you’re a Dogster, chances are you do – it’s easy to develop a crush; much harder to make a real connection. A while back, I enjoyed a lively email correspondence with a fellow dog author, a tall, dark, handsome guy on the West Coast whose work I respect a lot. In an email thanking me for something I’d written that referenced him, this oft-divorced man said, to show his appreciation, “I will never marry you!”
Ha. Such is chivalry in modern times. I wonder how many other gals he promised to never marry? I seriously wish I hadn’t read so much medieval literature in college; it appears to have ruined me for life.
So imagine my surprise when, Friday, in the midst of arranging to save a dog named Buttercup, pictured above, who’d been caught in a humane dog trap and brought to the City of New Britain dog pound by Animal Control Officer James Russo (check out the shelter’s adorable adoptables here), the lovely woman I was working with abruptly switched into Yenta mode.
Sounding like the modern-day equivalent of the matchmaking maven in “Fiddler,” she said she’d be transporting Buttercup to me with a friend of hers who’s single and handsome and a Taurus, like me. (The zodiac happens to be one of the few things I still believe in. I’ve never dated a fellow Taurean before, but Taurus-Taurus is supposed to be a good astrological match.)
The guy called, and we had a pleasant conversation. He said he was quite busy, but promised to arrive at the pound early Sunday morning to pick up Buttercup and drive her to Manhattan in his vintage Mercedes convertible. (That’s very Taurus, by the way: Doing everything, even dog transport, in style.)
He told me about his divorce, his (grown) children, his not-so-great luck with dating since his split from his wife. He was not annoying at all; he seemed very nice. He even liked my kind of K9 – the big, beautiful kind: Dobermans, Boxers, German Shepherds. Loading a pit bull he’d never met into his treasured vintage automobile would be no problem, he said. He was even bringing a quilt – not just to protect his car, but to ensure a comfortable ride for her.
He asked for a photo of me; I obliged by sending him my Facebook profile shot (he’s not on Facebook). He text-messaged a photo of himself as he looked that moment: Wearing black jeans, a black shirt, and patterned tie. He was tall, dark, and – yes – handsome.
If you think all this is starting to sound like a Harlequin romance, well, I confess, so did I. My reporter’s curiosity was piqued, to say the least: In this social network era, is it even possible to meet someone off Facebook?
True to his word, yesterday morning Taurus man called from the road. The dog was safe, sound, and happy, he reported. He put the phone to Buttercup’s ear and told her, “Say Hi to your new Mommy!” He’d stopped at McDonald’s to buy two hamburgers just for her – “no onions, no bun – that’s how I always ordered them for my dogs. She loved ’em!”
I frowned and bit my tongue. I was too grateful to him for transporting this sweet dog; so what if she’d have mad diarrhea later? I marched out to the supermarket and stocked up on canned pumpkin to firm up Buttercup’s stool.
“I’ve walked her twice but she hasn’t done anything,” he said.
“Oh, don’t worry,” I replied, “she will later!”
At 1:32 p.m. a black Mercedes came to a stop near my apartment, with a lovely white-and-brown pit bull sitting pretty in the leather-upholstered passenger seat, sweetly batting her white eyelashes. Out stepped her driver, as tall and handsome as he appeared in his photo. He gave me a warm hug; he was wearing a lot of cologne (that’s a Taurus thing too). “Let’s go for a ride!” he said, so I got in the car and parked Buttercup on my lap.
She was obviously quite attached to him already.
(To be continued)