Are You Or Your Dog Lonely?
Arlene and Frank met in 2007 through the online dating service DateMyPet.com. They not only fell in love with each other, but they also fell for each other’s dogs. “He met my little dog, Batman (who HATES everyone new) … and Batman instantly sat on his lap and gave him kisses,” wrote Arlene, who didn’t use her last name, on the Web site. “Our dogs get along famously together, most importantly, SO DO WE!!!”
Stacia and Daniel Folloder met through JDate.com, an online dating service that connects Jewish singles. From the start, it was clear that their dogs, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix and a chocolate Labrador, would play a significant role in their romance. The Houston couple, who were married in November, spent their second date at a dog park.
“Our dogs hit it off just as well as we had,” says Stacia Folloder. “And if one of us had not been a dog lover, I’m not sure it would have worked.”
Love Me, Love My Dog
When it comes to romance, dog lovers often hope to find someone who loves dogs as well. According to eHarmony, an online relationship community that matches users based on comprehensive questionnaires, a love of dogs carries real weight for many eHarmony users.
“Pet ownership is not factored into eHarmony’s compatibility matching system,” says eHarmony spokeswoman Whitney Standring-Trueblood. “However, there is an area in the profile called ‘Something to Talk About’ that lets you see things you may have in common with a match, your shared interests in culture, food, sports, hobbies, and entertainment. One of the common interests is pet ownership.” Forty-five percent of eHarmony users select dogs and cats as pets they have or like, and 22 percent select dogs alone.
Dog-Themed Social Networking Sites
A shared love of dogs is so critical for some singles that the number of online dating communities designed exclusively for dog lovers or pet owners is growing. Sites such as DateMyPet.com often offer tips about both pets and dating. Sites such as Leashes and Lovers provide an online community for dog owners to create homepages for themselves and/or their dogs to connect for doggie playdates, human dates, and more.
A variety of pet-themed dating Websites and social networks have launched in the last few years on the premise that pet owners share a special something that they seek in a spouse, or even in a good friend. The pet focus of these Websites helps to avoid a common experience in which you meet a special someone, only to discover that person is allergic to or doesn’t like dogs.
Joining a Web site that features profiles of a person with their dog helps screen out the dog averse and assist those looking to use a common interest to date or meet other dog lovers.
But as with meeting any strangers, it’s essential to be cautious. Experts advise that you guard personal information and go to a public place for initial get-togethers.
The Dog Lover’s Online Dating Profile
Jennifer Glen, a current JDate member who also happens to work for the community’s parent company, is head over heels in love with her dogs Abby and Bella. She frequently posts photos of her furry friends on her dogs’ blog at AbbyBella.blogspot.com.
However, explains Glen, “I don’t necessarily need someone as crazy about dogs as I am.” She’s looking for someone who will accept that her dogs play a central role in her everyday life. Although her potential mate needn’t be dog-obsessed, not liking dogs is indeed a deal-breaker, says Glen.
How Do I Find Another Dog Owner?
“If you put into your profile that you have a French Bulldog, and you find someone else with a French Bulldog, schedule a meeting when you take the dogs out for a walk,” suggests Michael Carter, president of PetPassions.com, a pet-themed dating, and social networking site. Also, try adding some humor to your profile and postings.
Here is a rundown on a few pet-themed dating and/or networking Web sites:
The Right Breed
This Website features instant messaging, chat rooms, topic forums, streaming video from webcams, and an online magazine on pets and dating. Singles can search for prospective partners by region, age, animals, and dog breed. The service is free for the first 60 days. After that, it’s $14.99 per month.
This free online dating and social networking site was launched in 2004. It features photo personals; blogging; email; and text, audio, and video chat. Inside, the site is segmented so that dog lovers can stick with their breed, and fish lovers and horse lovers can mingle among themselves.
Must Love Pets
Members use personals, chat, matchmaking services, forums, and photo galleries to get to know other dog lovers. You can meet dog fans from around the country or just those in your neighborhood. Basic membership, with which you can create a profile and post pictures of you and your pet, is free. If you want to contact other members, you can sign up for a premium membership with a one-time fee of $44.95.
Date My Pet
Members fill out two profiles — one for themselves and one for their dog(s). People can use the site for romance or friendship. It also has suggestions for “pet dates,” which are meetings or activities that involve your dog. The basic membership is free and allows you to post a profile; with the next level of membership, which costs $15 per month, you can initiate contact or a chat with another member.
Fall for the Man – and the Dog
Finding a match online is a bit like playing detective. Daters look for clues in potential matches’ profiles. “When I saw Daniel’s profile online, I did notice he had a dog in his picture, and that was one of my first questions: Does he have a dog, and what kind?” says Stacia Folloder. “I liked that he had pictures of his family and his dog.”
The Folloders met on JDate in April 2010 and married in November 2011. Sharing their love with their dogs enriches their lives together. These days, they love going to the dog park together to watch the dogs play and swim. “We take them with us wherever they are allowed to go,” says Stacia Folloder.
Couples need to find common interests for relationships to work. For the Folloders, their love for dogs is that bond. “Our love for our dogs is something we share and something we both love about each other,” she says. “I am very happy to say that all four of us are the best of friends.”
Signs Your Dog Is Lonely
You may not be the only one in your household who’s lonely this Valentine’s Day. If you see signs of lethargy, depression, or boredom in Rover, maybe it’s time to introduce your dog to some new friends. You may consider whether you are ready to adopt another furry companion from a shelter. Or maybe you can satisfy your and your pup’s need for socializing with a walk around the neighborhood or a trip to the dog park. “Dog parks are great places to meet people,” says Yau. “Being dog people, the first thing you usually talk about is dogs.”