The Internet abounds with helpful dating advice for those seeking love online, including this excellent article. Considering the fascinating factoid that one in five couples meet online, it’s odd that few sites stop to consider offering online dating tips to one key demographic: dog lovers. What steps can we take tofind rewarding romance with our fellow humans? (Here’s a hint: It involves more than investigating a potential partner’szodiac sign.)
Spoiled by our dogs’ unconditional love, we dog lovers have exacting standards when it comes to a humanmate. And often, potential partners who are dogless may be put off by the fact that we adore ourpets with such wild abandon – or that our significant other, the object of our most profound love,would be…adog.
Sadly, that wariness increases exponentially if a single person has more than one dog, as any multiple-pet owner has doubtless experienced in his or her lifetime.
Full disclosure: The phrase “You have how many dogs?”– uttered in tonesof shock and visible dismay -has beena frequent refrain in my personal dating history. (And since I have even more cats than dogs, I’ve also heard the “I could never date anyone with that many cats” line more times than I care to count.)
My anecdotal evidence is backed up by a world-class expert: Dr. Gilda Carle,author and Match.com columnist, who’s been called “the female Tony Robbins with a doctorate” by Bloomberg Media.
“When a person meets a potential partner with even one dog, s/he assumes the dog is the one love of that person’s life,” Dr. Carle says, “and s/he wouldn’t have anylove left overfor a human partner.” But contrary to popular misperception, dog lovers – and multiple dog lovers especially! – can be extremely desirable dating prospects.
However, timing is everything, as Dr. Carle points out: “We have to be mindful that we can’t go out on a date and say, ‘My name is Julia and I have five dogs.’ Instead, you want to say, ‘My name is Julia – now let’s get together and see what happens.’ Asthings evolve, you start talking about the other loved ones in your life. These days, everybody seems to have an additional party in his or her life, such as a stepchild or an ex.”
Or a dog. “You can look at a dog lover in one of two ways,” Dr. Carle says. “Wow, this person knows how to love,or this person is projecting onto the pet that which s/he can’t project ontoa human partner. But this second perspective is wrong, because people have pets and families, and one doesn’t upstage the other.”
In fact, Dr. Carle adds, times of crisis inthe dog owner’s life (such as when a petis ill andin need of emergency treatment) can prove just how very capable of loves/he is.”Caring and inconveniencing oneself for the love of another – that’s very important in today’s world of me-me-me, and it says a lot about the person.”
So, what does it say, exactly? “When somebody displays love, they are displaying how they want to be loved,” Dr. Carle explains. Lucky is the personwho’s loved by a dog owner with experience caring for a sick or injured pet, for thatgal or guywill benefit from tons of the very same TLC the dog lover lavished on his or her four-footed friend.
“A potential partnerneeds toget off his or her ego trip and understand that love can involve many objects of affection, people as well as pets,”Dr. Carle adds.” And the more capable a person is of loving different love objects in different ways, the more s/he exercises their ability to love – call it the love muscle!”
Incidentally, the expert is no stranger to dog care, having made her share of runs to the animal hospital with her own beloved German Shepherd, Sheppie, a.k.a. Shepherd Von Carle. Between dogs at the moment because of her hectic travel schedule,she enjoys visiting friends with dogs, and recalls a recent visit to California, where one of her friend’s four little Schnauzers, Buddy,bonded withDr. Carleso strongly that he stayed in her room with her rather than sleeping with the rest of his pack!
Of course, the holy grail of human relationships is something approximating the unconditional love that is the dog’s specialty. Is that even possible? “Absolutely,” concludes Dr. Carle. “In fact, humans can model the behavior of the animals that love them so much. So our pets give us an advanced degree in unconditional giving!”