We are a strange breed, us Dog People. It is it true. We wake up earlier than you, we go to bed later. We spend countless hours actually talking to a little furry body that cannot articulate their thoughts back to us. We buy them toys when they haven't asked for them and we are always trying to make sure they are safe, happy and cared for. Yes, its kind of like having children, without the "I hate you mom" talk back.
It's not that we don't like children. Many of us dog people just really like our dogs. None of them are perfect mind you. But dog people understand each other. We know that someone's dog has personality problems, or throw up problems, or peeing anxiety or food aggression. We don't judge them for the way their life revolves around their dog and helping them with their behavior problems, but instead embrace them and try to help out as best we can.
This causes a separation between dog people and non dog people. Non dog people do not understand why you can't just leave your dog alone all day. It's just one day! Why are you feeling guilty crazy dog person?! Yes, they all say this. They want to know why you're spending the day with your dog park friends on a Saturday afternoon when you could be drinking with your very single, very fun friends, non dog friends.
But my dog people provide an outlet for me that my non dog friends don't. I suppose its why people with children seek out other breeders to sympathize with. We share our dog pictures, our obedience class woes and our little behavioral victories.
I think it also makes a difference when dating. Dog Owner daters understand if you want to run home and let your dog out for a little bit before the movie, they get spending saturday afternoon hiking so that your dog will be worn out and you can go out saturday night guilt free. They get that you might want to spend a thursday night cuddled up with your dog watching a movie. They get that your dog's adorable snoring is endearing.
Non dog owner dating is different. No one is worried about sleepover arrangements and if the dog can come by. Non dog owner dating means spontaneous weekends in wine country and laguna. Dog owner dating means, you have to plan for a sitter or boarding. It's clearly not as sexy, but having someone who understands your dog owner lifestyle is key to dating in the dog owner circles.
I have known several relationships that have not worked out because of "dog owner" vs "non dog owner" dilemmas. "Elle" always wanted her dog to sleep over with her at her guy's place, but "Jake" was not a fan. Because she lived in Burbank and he lived in Weho, it was not convenient for either of their work schedules . When I interviewed Jake about this dilemma he confessed that he really liked Elle, but ultimately it was him or the dog and he had to let her go.
Scheduling is important even within the non dog owner world. My friend "Chris" confessed to me that he couldn't make it work out with a girl because their schedules were so different. She was a 7am Yogi and he wanted to have a more unstructured morning since his life is so structured elsewhere. Throw a dog in that mix and it would be even more complicated.
So I think that either the person you start dating should have a dog, or they must be very dog-friendly if you're a dog owner. Otherwise, the dog will become a huge point of contention. Women sometimes alter our lives when we start dating someone new. We leave the dog a few nights at home when we REALLY don't want to, we say that its not a big deal to leave her in a kennel multiple weekends just so you can enjoy your new beau's company, but once the newness wears off, your partner will be stunned to learn your routine is completely different than he has been experiencing.
It's important to "train" your new beau and emphasize the importance of your dog in your lifestyle. Yes, you wake up really early and take your dog to the park everyday if this is a deal breaker, then better you know now than later. But be careful of altering your life style for a new relationship when ultimately, you'll want to go back to your ways and your partner will be left with the uncomfortable task of getting use to you and your dog, all over again.
Need help finding a dog person? If you're an online dater (which I am not...please see: My Adventures in Online Dating )
Try these sites:
Dog Friendly Dating Sites