Dating and The Doggie Dilemma

Biscuit at 7I caught myself pouting this morning when my plans for a new couple I’d introduced were derailed by a pooch. Yes, a dog. And it’s totally not the dog’s fault. I love dogs. I have a dog (Biscuit… The Goofball, featured here) and can’t imagine life without a canine companion.

But as a professional matchmaker, I’m here to usher in and support relationships between humans, first and foremost, so I do get a little aggravated when I see that a human let a dog piss on love’s parade. So let’s learn from this love affair that … almost was and … might have been…

The Guy? He’s my gentleman client, Rob. He’s in his late fifties, super successful, adorable, he raised his kids, lives by the water and his life’s biggest mission at the moment is to find His Girl and to build a beautiful life together. He’s the kind of guy today’s selective single woman asks me to find for her. Fiercely loyal, super smart, a fantastic father, he’s a total crack up, playful and sexy, over the top generous – Right, he’s kinda “The It Guy” and a woman who’s serious about finding life-long love…well, she would be wise to consider him carefully and to gracefully maneuver her way onto his dance card. And I mean in a Come Hell or High Water kinda way. But … that’s not what happened.

The Girl? Cathy, beautiful, accomplished, savvy, sophisticated — she seemed to be excited to meet Rob, but as it turned out, she was a 40 minutes late for her first date with him (she had to go home after work to let the dog out.) But he liked her. He pursued her, they had a blast together, chemistry seemed to be building nicely. But working around her “dog situation” was becoming more and more of a nuisance for him, and so this morning Rob called it quits with Cathy. And the matchmaker pouts.

Rob said that her dog seemed to be always in the way. Cathy couldn’t (wouldn’t) pop over for dinner spontaneously after work, because of the dog. She said she would never be able to stay over at his place…because of the dog. She volunteered that she wouldn’t dare leave him for a weekend (squashing the idea he had to kidnap her for a Santa Barbara getaway.) And so Cathy lost the chance to be with this really good guy.

And now Rob’s asking me to introduce him only to women who don’t have dogs. UGH…. As that cuts out about half of the otherwise fine candidates I have available to me, for him, as SO MANY of today’s single women have a pooch at home. Lost opportunities all around. Unnecessary opportunities lost, is how I see it.

Here’s how one of my more resourceful clients manages this conundrum. Her name is Susan and she has two dogs at home. She’s got a full time job outside the house and has teenage kids to manage too. Still, she seemed to waltz effortlessly through the logistics of living and dating in Los Angeles, even with kids, even with dogs, and now she’s a year into a really lovely new relationship. I called her this morning to ask her how she managed to date so successfully, with all she has on her plate. How did she do it?

She said she lined up help. She delegated. She developed several solutions for walking and boarding her dogs, so that when opportunities and life’s challenges would pop up, as tends to happen, she’d be able to cover the dogs. There’s an older lady down the street who’s recently widowed, who relishes opportunities to take care of Susan’s dog. There’s a 13 year old boy who lives a few blocks away – the son of a guy Susan works with, who’s always happy to make a few bucks by feeding or walking her dog on a moment’s notice, and he dog-sits for her too…The Dog Owner got creative and resourceful, and so she ended up with her dogs AND her kids AND a great new man in her life too. DATING TIP: Flexibility and adaptability… qualities and skills we need in relationships of all kinds… practice being flexible and adaptable while you’re single and dating….it might just change everything….

Another of my clients, Michelle also maneuvered her way through this canine related challenge successfully. She’s never been a dog owner, and while dating she was inclined to favor men who didn’t have pets, as she said it’s one less obstacle to negotiate around. She’s a neat freak, averse to dog hair on her clothes and in her home, and she never really “got” the whole pet thing, she said. And then she met Gary, whose Australian Shepherd weaseled his way right into a place on her couch. How it happened? Slowly…. First she had to fall in love with the man, and then little by little she warmed up to the pooch, and now the three of them are sooo happy together.

Your Matchmaker’s Invitation – If you are a pet owner and you are also hoping to usher a human into your life, then don’t let your pet get in the way. Develop a variety of solutions for walking (and potentially boarding) your pet so you’ll have options and flexibility in a pinch, when life and love summon your attention. Developing your doggie support network is a great opportunity to build closer relationships with your neighbors, family members and friends – strengthening community, serving and being served by each other.

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