As a single woman living in Los Angeles, I am a member of a few online/app-based dating sites. I refuse to tell you how many, as I fear it will make me look a bit desperate. I am also a part of a loving community of friends and family members who have a number of opinions about my dating, or lack thereof, life. Besides the length of my hair – it’s short, and I love it, but many do not – the visibility of my dog in the dating profiles causes that loving community the most angst. When I announce that I’ve joined a dating site, the first question they ask is, “How many pictures is Riggins in?”
Riggins is my dog, and I love him dearly. I love him more than 99 percent of the people that talk to me during the day. AND I love him more than any dude that comes into my life. Okay, maybe not “more than,” but “equal to,” and to be THAT guy, you have to be someone very special. Considering the men looking to date women my very young and vibrant age (I turned 41 the day I’m writing this), I think it’s pretty safe to say that I love Riggins more than I would 99.99 percent of the online-dating dudes out there. To the question of, “How many pictures is Riggins in?” my response is a very measured and honest, “Not all of them.” I just don’t go on to say, “Most of them,” because those people need to mind their own business! Friends and family should be happy that the ONLY dog pictured in my profile is Riggins. My profession as a dog sitter gives me access to tons of lovable pups. I could, if I wanted, have my profile full of dog selfies!
I’d like to say that most of my dating profile pictures include Riggins because I have few pictures that don’t, but in reality I want to include him. He is my baby boy, and it is for the best that a potential date knows that right out of the gate. If he isn’t okay with me putting my black-and-white mutt first, before almost every human being on this planet, including myself, then he should just move along! Riggins has more love than any man I’ve ever met online. In fact, Riggins has been madly in love with every man I’ve ever dated. He is a much easier sell than I am. The honest truth is that Riggins is a romantic. He has been known to fall in love at first sight, saddling up to some dude at the dog park and refusing to leave his new buddy’s side.
I once dated a guy who tried really hard to hide his true feelings for my sweet pup, but Riggins’ over-excited exuberance started to get on the guy’s nerves. One night, while watching TV, he screamed, “Why does he always have to be on top of me?” My response: “Well … because he is a cuddle bug and he loves you. If you aren’t cool with that, I suggest you move along and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” Some people may say that I should train Riggins to behave himself and not wear his heart on his sleeve, lounging leisurely over the lap of guests. I DEFINITELY love Riggins more than those people. Those people are buzzkills with no knowledge of the joy felt when a large and happy dog plops the front half of his body on your lap and pants softly. That’s the feeling of pure love, comfort, and home. If a man can’t appreciate that, then I don’t want to date him and he DEFINITELY doesn’t want to date me!
I do try to hide my super-crazy dog-loving personality during the first date. It’s one of my personal dating rules, along with that the first date needs to be short and include alcohol. I have to admit, if the date isn’t going well, I go “full dog crazy” on the dude. After being bored to death about the aerodynamics of a specific brand of cycling shorts (you’d be amazed how many single men ages 30 to 50 are amateur cyclists), getting lectured on the fact that we all really live in the Matrix (it happened once), or being talked to like a dog, head petting and all (that happened too), I pull out my phone, “Do you want to see pictures of my dog. I have a ton. It may take awhile.”
I figure if I’m going to live through a bad date, I might as well get all my dog crazy out on the person. It’s a guaranteed hand shake and “nice to meet you” exit versus him exclaiming, “We are such a match. I just know we are a match. I can’t wait to take you to my cabin in Big Bear.” (Yup. That was actually said to me once.) When it comes to dating me, there is no question about it, a man must love dogs and more specifically must love my dog. It’s best that we all accept that from the beginning, because if a man were to ask me to choose, he would not be happy with my choice!
What about you? Do you only date fellow dog lovers? Let us know in the comments.
Read more by Wendy Newell:
About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A Dog Sitter. After years of stress, she decided to leave the world of “always be closing” to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy’s new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poo, sacrificing her bed, and other fur-filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area, where they live together in a cozy, happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.