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Lonely Hearts and Dog Rescuers, Part Two

Lastweek, I told you about meeting a new shelter dog and a new man. Several of you have asked for an update, so here we...

Julia Szabo  |  May 23rd 2011


Lastweek, I told you about meeting a new shelter dog and a new man. Several of you have asked for an update, so here we go.

K9 Buttercup and I settled in for a ride in Taurus man’s convertible. It was raining out, sothe top was up. He took some photographs of Buttercup and me with his Canon digital camera, and asked directions to a nice place to eat. We drove about half a mile, arriving at my suggested destination: A swanky vegetarian restaurant.

He parked in the only space available, a few yards from the restaurant. (Buttercup’s a great car dog, by the way- I can see many road trips inthis sweet dog’sfuture.) He rolled down the window a couple of inches on each side, just as I woulddo, to make surethe dogwould have air. But he was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to seeButtercup from the restaurant I’d suggested, so he suggested that wedine instead at thechic brasserieconveniently located right next to the car. It was brunch time so the place was crowded. But there wasone availablewindow table that offered a full view of Buttercup.This way, he said, he could step outto make sure she’d be OK during our lunch.

I liked this guy’s style. Wouldn’t you?

He had to be at an appointment intwo and a half hours,allowing fora half-hour drive to get there, so we ordered lunch without delay. He had a burger and frites; I had a salad and asparagus with creamy sauce. Conversation was easy and relaxed, just as it had been on the phone. I had somefries; he had some asparagus.

Revealing a great dogside manner, he did indeed step outside topet Buttercup and let her know we’d be back soon. She smiled and wagged at him. I’ve had dogs panic at being left alone; thankfully, Buttercup wasn’t one of those dogs, so she didn’t wreck his car interior.

We shared a fluffy lemon cheesecake for dessert. Time flew by as he asked more about me and told me more about himself, especially his love of dancing (he goes outseveral times a week). He also enjoys traveling.

I can’t dance, I confessed, and my large family of dogs turns any attempt at short- or long-distance travel into a military maneuver. He wasn’tput offby anything I thought to say. Give him an hour, he said, and he’d have me dancing! He’d help me arrange accommodations for my dogs! His confidence and kindness were refreshing to say the least.He’s a mensch. Plus,he has blue eyes.When herose to visit the men’s room, he smiled and lightly touched my hair as he passed.

Obviously, there was chemistry here. And something much harder to come by: Trust.

After lunch, we returned to his car, and he drove me back uptown. He’d wanted to take Buttercup for a walk in the park, but he was running out of time. Maybe this was just lunch, but it waspretty close toapicture-perfect date: Lunch and a dog rescue. I told hima friend of mine would beperforming with her jazz combo in a couple of days; did he want to come back to Manhattan and go with me?

He’d love to, he said,but he was concerned aboutgetting back home after the gig. Thatmeant a lotof driving – two hours each way -so he wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy a drink during the set. Pause. He’d have to see if he could stay overnight with a friend or family member in New York. Pause.He’d haveto get back to me.

Pause.

Talk about awkward. It was clear that he was angling for an invitation to stay with me. So why did I hesitate and clam up? For the simple reason that I didn’t want to mess things up by offering that he stay at my place. When myceiling fell in, my sofa got wrecked. The only place for a guest to sleep is my bed. (Of course, I could sleep on the floor with my dogs – that’s how cozy our Crypton dog beds are. But that might be someweird crazy-dog-lady stuff. Even I’m not that wacky.)

Taurus manwould be no ordinary house guest. It was clear to me – and probably to any casual observer,our waiter included – that ifthis guystayed the night at my place, I wouldn’t be sleeping on the floor with my dogs.I’d be too busy sleeping (or not sleeping) with him. Two Tauruses in the same bed?Consult anyastrology authority:For our famously sensual sign, a bed is less a place to rest than a playground.

My mind raced: Would that be the first date or the second? It wouldn’t matter which date it would be, my brain yammered back: If I slept with him too soon,I’d never hear from him again. And I very much wanted to hear from him again.

So I said nothing.

I’m an extremely talkative person; hadTaurus manbeen anyone else, I would have regaled him with the tale of the ceiling and the sofa, how my catsgot covered in plaster dust and went into hiding,and how my sweet foster Chihuahua bravely dozed through the disaster. For me to say nothing in a situation like thistook tongue-bitingresolve I never thought I had.

We stepped outside and walked to the car. The rain had stopped, so Taurus man put the top down. As the sun peeked through the clouds, he said something about the challenge of a “long distance relationship.”

He pulled over to let me and Buttercup out, then stepped outof the carto take a fewparting shotsof me andher with his Canon. Buttercup kept trying to leap back into his car. He showed me the photos – that’s my favorite one, above. Heseemed disappointed, but gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

He drove away with a smile and a wave. “I’ll call you tomorrow,” he said.

(To be continued)