dating with dogs

“It’s Not Just Puppy Love” by Nicole Moore


Diane Lane’s character in the 2005 American classic Must Love Dogs and I have quite a bit in common. Not only are we both into John Cusack, we seek out romantic partners who, you guessed it, must love dogs.

I have been dog obsessed since I can remember. My prize possession as a child was a 500-page Dog Encyclopedia that I would haul to and from school each day. I grew up with poodles and have dedicated much of my home decor to items in their likeness. My extremely realistic goal is to be like Lisa Vanderpump, living in a mansion full of highly fashionable dogs. So it never made sense for me to settle for someone who doesn’t share my same level of puppy love.

My first serious boyfriend tolerated dogs, at best. He seemed a bit annoyed and uncomfortable by my parents’ poodles’ presence, refusing to cuddle with them, turning his head when they tried to lick him. I’ll chalk it up to the fact he never had a dog before and simply was unaware they are beautiful, baby angels.

In college, a guy, who I initially thought was fun and cool, ghosted me after our first date. It ended up being for the best. I later saw him at a party, drunk, screaming at a quivering dog in the corner of the room. Don’t worry, the dog was soon scooped up by its owner and my ghoster was kicked out of the house.

Another person I briefly dated looked equal parts horrified and forlorn when he found out I was a dog person. He had four cats and an apparent deep-rooted grudge against dogs and dog-lovers alike. I believe the moment he became aware I was a friend of dogs, he decided we weren’t right for each other. Within a week or so, he gave me the “we’re better off as friends” talk. Again, it worked out. My cat allergies were really killing me during those few months of hanging out.  

Now, after years of dating, I can honestly say I have met my match of dog-obsessiveness with my current boyfriend of the past four years. When we first began to date, we would go to the local dog shelter to play with the pups almost every other day. Workers at the shelter ended up thinking we were volunteers and tried to give us various tasks. He took an immediate liking to my parents’ poodles and is very understanding when I still get upset over how much I miss them. (They’re still alive; they just live a state away.) When we were long distance we continually sent each other dog pictures and videos. Now every Saturday and Sunday, we take our maltese-yorkie mix, Ruby to the dog park. It’s definitely more for our benefit than hers; she’s not terribly fond of other dogs. At the moment, my dog-loving boyfriend is sitting beside me wearing a T-shirt with three Labradors on it, cradling Ruby. I am the happiest I’ve been.