Three-ish years ago, I swiped right on a man because he was hugging a beautiful Golden Retriever in his Tinder profile photo. I was a recent graduate, naïve, and new to online dating, so I just assumed that the dog was his own because I couldn’t fathom why anyone would misrepresent themselves, in the same way that I worried about choosing photos that made myself look “too pretty” so that I could overdeliver in person. He was eager to grab a drink that night, so I obliged, assuming I’d get to meet his dog if I played my cards right.
“A person who has a dog is probably responsible enough to wake up early for walks before work, has a steady-enough income to afford to take care of another living being, and is understanding when you’d rather spoon with the dog.”
It wasn’t his dog. And he didn’t look like his profile photo. The conversation was going nowhere, and I decided that this would be our first and only date, and that the night could only end one of two ways, both of which involve never speaking to him ever again. Since then, I have been on many dates through Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, and Hinge involving men who borrowed dogs for their dating profile photos. I wrote about it in a previous issue of the Dog Park, in fact, after I started noticing this was not some quirky anomaly that I would write about in my memoir someday. It was very common, so much so that every other man-seeking-woman on the dating apps has a picture of himself with a dog. I started messaging, “Cute dog! Is it yours?!” I didn’t want to waste time. And usually, the dog was not his.
You get a very limited amount of information about a person on dating apps, which is why it’s important to confirm whether the dog in their profile photo is theirs. A person who has a dog is probably responsible enough to wake up early for walks before work, has a steady-enough income to afford to take care of another living being, and is understanding when you’d rather spoon with the dog. These are reasonable assumptions to make about a person who is pictured with a dog in their dating profile. It falls apart when the dog is not theirs!
Turns out I’m not the only single person trying to find someone who will find someone with whom to co-parent their dog. This week, Casey Lewis, co-founder of Clover and founder of Thank You Atoosa told A&A that she brings Bear, her pittie, to first dates. “[I]f I’m going on a first date, I like to go to a dog-friendly place,” she explained. “It makes dates far less daunting when you have your pit bull with you. It’s such a good distraction, too. And it alleviates a lot of awkwardness and it’s also just a good test: If you don’t like my dog, then you’re not going to love me.” Plus, Casey added, she was getting resentful of the time she was spending on bad dates. “I would think that I would rather be at home with Bear, just on the couch. It felt like a waste of our time,” she said. So, she started bringing Bear and suggesting dog-friendly bars to first dates. At the very least, she’d have a night out with her dog. And if the date was really bad, she had a great excuse to leave: Bear needs a walk, bye.
Casey agrees with me about the frustration of meeting men who pretend to have dogs on their dating profiles. “I’m like, ‘Oh, this person must be, at least, a good human if they have a dog,'” she said. “And a very bad human if they’re misrepresenting themselves as a dog owner.”
I recently received an email from a journalist at a radio show seeking to interview people who met their significant others at dog parks. You know, dog sniffs dog’s butt, the rest is happily ever after. But I didn’t know anyone with a dog meet-cute to share with this journalist. All I had were a bunch of women in their late 20s and early 30s trying to find romance with other dog owners online. Maybe we should be heading to the dog parks instead.
Got any dog parent romance success stories? Please share any advice you have for the rest of us. In the meantime, now that the weather is warmer and dogs can sit outside at restaurants in New York City, I’ll be taking Artemis, and only Artemis, to dinner.