Everyone knows that pets are good for your health. They can make you feel a sense of well-being. And petting your favorite furry friend can even lower your blood pressure. Recent research out of the National Institutes of Health concluded that owning a pet can decrease loneliness, especially for those who live alone. But dogs and cats aren’t only good companions. Your dog can get you dates, at least according to a recent U.K. study. 5% of dog owners met someone and dated them according to their findings, and 1.5% of these people are still dating or together. What makes a better introduction than two pet owners whose dogs like each other? Pet owners love their pets, and it’s certainly a good avenue of conversation, a way to break the ice. After all, you know that you both have a love of animals in common. Enter two dating websites for pet lovers, PetPeopleMeet.com and DateMyPet.com. One woman outlined her experience meeting and falling in love with a dog rescuer she met on the former site. Many people wish their relationships with human mates were as easy and loving as it was with their pets. Dr. Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP picked up on this and penned an article entitled, “Can Pets Improve your Relationship?” Dr. Phillips elucidates an interesting phenomenon. She states that the characteristics we often seek in a mate are the same that we already have with our feisty feline or precocious pooch.
Still, pets can help bring a relationship together or it can tear it apart. Sometimes the pets get jealous for instance. Or they cause trouble when the couple is sharing a bed. These issues can be solved with a simple trip to the vet and some surfing online to find ways to counteract this behavior. But it’s important to note that often our pets are like a family member. So when dating, it’s important to find someone that say likes dogs if you are a dog owner, or at least is willing to tolerate them and be kind. Our pets in a way are a reflection and extension of us. But beyond that if you look at your pets as emotional baggage you’ll feel bad about yourself and make them feel bad, for no reason at all. Instead, you should look for someone who appreciates your pets as much as you do. Don’t get rid of your dog to suit a boyfriend or a girlfriend. That is way too big a sacrifice. You will harbor anger and resentment toward this person. It isn’t an equal partnership from the beginning. And think of the poor dog or cat. Certainly your pet can be an asset in finding a date. But the trick is finding someone who can appreciate your pet long term, can see it as an asset, and have it bring you closer together rather than driving you farther apart. To learn more about the special relationship people have with their pets, read the insight of P. Elizabeth Anderson in her book, The Powerful Bond between People and Pets: Our Boundless Connections to Companion Animals.