Valentine’s Day – for many years those two words filled me with dread
Having spent most of my 20s and 30s single, it was a day of horror!
The gushing Facebook updates, the endless photos of flowers and teddy bears, I hated it.
Despite having a boyfriend now, I’m still not a huge fan. But I think our pets can play a part in helping us find love.
And that’s why I’m writing this because Daisy really did help in choosing the man for me – her human dad Tommy who has been in our lives for three and a half years.
So can our pets sniff out Mr or Ms Right? I spoke to Hilda Burke, a psychotherapist and couples counsellor to find out
Hilda has a rescue Greyhound, Madra, and said: “You want your dog to be comfortable with them and if they are, there’s more chance your relationship will develop.
“If someone gets on with your dog and your dog is precious to you then that person is going to be more attractive than someone who doesn’t.
“As dog owners, your pet is such a huge part of your life so if your partner doesn’t have time for them, that’s a difficult situation to manage.
“You can’t compartmentalise your relationship with your partner and pet into separate boxes because they are such an integral part of our lives.
“There has to at the very least be a tolerance for a relationship to develop. If a dog is generally friendly and warm around people and isn’t towards a new partner, that is going to make you wary.”
Having Daisy certainly helped me choose which guys I didn’t want to date including…..
The one who FAWNED over my friend’s Cockerpoo puppy but ignored Daisy.
I’d been seeing this guy when Daisy first came to live with me and was dog sitting my friend’s Cockerpoo. He made a huge fuss of him and didn’t pay Daisy the teeniest bit of attention!
I figured if he was going to favour a trendy dog over my scruffy little princess he wasn’t for me so stopped taking his calls.
The one dashed off at the mere sight of a poo bag!
I met one guy on a dating site and as part of the date I took Daisy and her old housemate Tommy out for a walk.
Of course, they both went for a poo and there was no way I could leave it but as soon as I went to pick it up, he looked at his phone, said he had a family emergency and vanished, never to be seen again!
The one who was allergic to dogs.
This was never going to end well. He came back after our date for a coffee and insisted Daisy stayed in the utility room. She woofed her head off and I told him it was best he left.
Being single as friends settled down and had families was hard
I wondered what was wrong and if I’d ever find happiness.
Luckily I had Daisy to keep me sane – and more self help books than you could shake a stick at – I’d highly recommend Dr Karin Anderson book, Single Is The New Black on Amazon.
Looking back now I realise the emotional resilience having a dog gave me. Hilda said: “Dog owners have a lot to offer. They’re kind, selfless and attuned to the needs of others.
“Life changes dramatically when you have a dog and you make sacrifices but you know they are worthwhile as your dog gives so much love back to you.
“It’s like having a child. The dog is there for life and if a partner isn’t committed to that then it’s most likely the relationship isn’t going to work.
“You can choose your partner but the dog is non-negotiable, so if it comes down to them or the dog, you choose the dependant being as they’re the one you’re responsible for.
“But the right partner will recognise these qualities and see them as a positive.”
Thankfully, that happened in the end
When Tommy came along he couldn’t have been more adoring of Daisy.
She snuggles up between us on the sofa and every time we go out he makes sure it’s somewhere dog friendly so she can join us.
He doesn’t think twice of putting us to bed together and sleeping in the spare room – Daisy doesn’t snore anywhere near as much as he does.
I remember coming home from work one day and seeing them walking down the road together, looking adoringly at each other and thinking ‘that’s my pawfect match!’
Research released by The Company of Animals this week found 63% of us love our dog as much as our partner which sure means this kind of behaviour is perfectly normal?
Now Daisy’s getting older and has her senior moments he’s so patient and gentle with her.
He comes with me to the vets and indulges me when I suggest crazy things in my bid to make her live forever and she absolutely adores him too.
So if you’re a pet pawrent and muddling through the dating world, put your trust in your furry friend as they might just help you find a match.
There’s a proverb, ’Love me, love my dog,’ which was said by St Bernard of Clairvaux, a French Monk, back in the 12th century
It means if you love someone you will love all that belong to them and accept them unconditionally despite their flaws.
So if your dog takes a shine to your date, and they give them the same unconditional love back, then they’re a keeper.
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