Dating Services for Dogs and Their Owners

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!!!"

A variety of pet-themed dating Web sites 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 Web sites helps to avoid a common experience in which you meet a special someone, only to discover that person is allergic to -- or just doesn’t like -- dogs.

It often comes down to a choice: my dog or my date. "In the majority of cases, people choose their pets," says Robert Yau, who founded DateMyPet.com five years ago with his Samoyed, Hershey.

Dog-themed Social Networking Sites
Joining a Web site that features profiles of a person with his or her dog helps screen out the dog averse and assists those looking to use a common interest to date or just meet other dog aficionados.

But as with meeting any strangers, it's important to be cautious. Experts advise that you guard personal information and go to a public place for initial get-togethers.

Networking Success
"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 Web site 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.
  • Pet Passions This free online dating and social networking site 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 own 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). The site can be used 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.

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."

by Elizabeth Wasserman