So for dog owners who can’t bear to be kept apart from their beloved pooches, even for one date, the new trend in online dating is sites where how your dogs get along is just as important as how you get along with your date.
To find someone who won’t cringe in disgust if you enjoy a slobbery canine kiss, there’s US sites YouMustLoveDogsDating.com, with two million members, and PetsDating.com, which seems to put more emphasises on the dog’s qualities than the owner’s. And PetsPartnersandPals.co.uk and PetLoverDating.co.uk cater for dog lovers in the UK.
The founder of YouMustLoveDogsDating.com Kris Rotonda says: “Dogs on first dates are amazing icebreakers. You find out right off the bat how everyone in a relationship will fit in.”
When Joanie Pelzer, 47, signed up with a dog-friendly online dating service a few years ago, she was honest about her Chihuahua — he likes people more than other dogs, craves attention, steals food and can’t stand to ride in the backseat of a car.
Even a man who loved animals as much as she did couldn’t keep up with her dog’s quirks. On their first date, her Chihuahua, Hubbell, stole the man’s breakfast. They only had one more date.
“I still wonder if Hubbell didn’t have something to do with that,” said Pelzer.
Despite that setback, having a common interest such as pets can help the search for love.
“Having a theme that is … about one’s passion makes it feel like you are looking for a needle in a smaller and far more relevant and appealing haystack,” said Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a professor of marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
But other veterans of the dating-service industry say focusing on a canine connection only adds an extra hurdle to finding love.
“When you consider how challenging it already is to find someone who offers what you are seeking in a romantic partner, and who seeks what you are offering, and where there is also mutual chemistry, and the timing is right … you have to wonder who in their right mind would want to make it even more challenging by insisting on canine chemistry,” said Trish McDermott, who spent 10 years as the dating expert of Match.com.
“To squeeze doggie behavior under the first date microscope and to analyse every little wag, nip or bark as further commentary on compatibility is just another way to uncover the fatal flaw of an otherwise potential romance.”
But Pelzer’s plans to return to PetsDating.com, after some unpleasant run-ins with dates from other sites that don’t cater to animal lovers — once a man nudged her pooch off the couch.
“That was the last time we were together,” Pelzer said. “You don’t do that to my dog.”