Wood's book is full of interesting little tidbits. For instance, I loved finding out about the top three date-bait breeds:
- Golden retriever.
- Any scruffy terrier mix.
(The three least useful: pit bull, rottweiler, and any sort of yapping little dog.)
Even though Puccini isn't a top-three breed, my problem changed very quickly from how to meet a guy to how to keep a guy. Some of you will know what I'm talking about. The rest will catch on when I tell you that I sleep with my dog. In my defense, I will say only this: I have never met an Italian greyhound owner who doesn't. I'm not saying it's right, or admirable, but the fact remains: Puccini shares my bed.
Not surprisingly, many guys don't get it. And even those who don't make it to that point can have trouble with the role Puccini plays in my life. I'll never forget the first time I made out with a guy in my apartment. From behind the doggie gate in the kitchen, the pooch went bonkers. He howled and yowled and made sounds I'd never heard before. You can imagine what it did for the mood.
Eventually, Puccini learned to live with such male impositions. Truth be told, he loves men. OK, he loves everyone, but he's shown a real affection for some of my dates. It's not always been reciprocated, though. One Friday night, a guy I'd been seeing came over. He walked into the apartment with a rather long face, went into my bedroom, slumped on the floor against the bed, and said, "I've got to tell you something." The possibilities whizzed through my head: He's dying of cancer; he doesn't want to see me anymore; he's got herpes. He finally let it out: "I really don't think I like your dog."
It's funny, sure. But it's also problematic. I've learned since then to "position" the dog—set expectations low. I immediately tell a new guy that he'll hate my dog. I cop to the fact that Puccini is hyper and spoiled. The guys always laugh. And then, when they meet him, he's not that bad. Some of them even end up liking him. (He is adorable, after all!)
Introducing your new man to your (old) dog tells you a lot about the man. The other day over lunch I asked a friend if she slept with her dog. "Of course," she replied. But what about her new husband? How did he take to sharing the bed? "I don't think I'd ever date a guy who didn't like my dog," she said firmly.
Still, as someone who has "kept her options open" and remained single longer than most, I chafed a bit at the realization that Puccini was a new non-negotiable in my life. Then I started thinking about the upside, which is substantial. My dog has taught me more about who I am, and that actually makes it easier to navigate the sea of potential dates. You can't get what you want until you know what you want. In my case, that's now a guy who'll share the love—with Puccini.