I recently went through the painful task of putting my dog down.

In all honesty, the lead-up to the event, and the days that followed, were the worst, whereas the actual euthanasia itself was the moment I felt peace and relief.

The drives to and from the vet were horrible. Vincent, my wiener dog, was 15.5 years old. He was an ornery jerk his whole life, but I loved him immensely. Not many people loved my dog.

My husband and I got together when Vincent was four years old and my husband’s border collie, Dash, was five.  Neither of us started dating each other with any pre-discussed requirements that we would have to like each others’ dogs. In those early days of dating, we needed to see if we liked each other first.

Over time, when it was evident we were planning a future together, we blended our families and our dogs. Vincent bullied Dash from that day on. We both cried when each other made the difficult decision to let our dogs go. We grew to love each other’s dogs, but certainly not in the same way that we loved our own.  

I get a kick out of how many people put “Must Love Dogs” in their dating profiles.  The word “must” sounds pretty demanding.  Unless you are dating a veterinarian or a volunteer from the SPCA, there’s no guarantees.

Some people may love animals, but be allergic. Some people may be afraid of dogs and you will need patience in that introduction. Rather than inviting your date for dinner and having your dog in a smaller indoor space, perhaps a walk with the pooch would be a nice start.

In your profile, perhaps saying you like hiking with your dog, or that you love animals, is all that needs to be said. In time, if this is someone with whom you have great chemistry and get along incredibly well, I am guessing your dog won’t be a dealbreaker.

(Unless Rufus has to sleep with you, which I covered in a previous column.) 

I have a client who wasn’t fond of cats and met someone with a furry feline. After a few dates, they really hit it off and have made it work. He still doesn’t like cats, but he puts up with the feline as he really likes his partner. The cat is 16 years old, so it would be silly to think one would pass up on someone great based on an old cat that keeps to himself.

Pets are a huge part of many people’s families. For some people, they are their family.

The first few dates in getting to know someone doesn’t usually include family. It takes a while before meeting kids, parents, siblings, etc. So, forcing someone to kiss and hug your dog might be a bit too much to ask.   

If you are single, happy and have a dog, you are certainly in demand. Contact me by email at holmes@wheretheheartis.ca.