Q: It’s time to start dating again. Unfortunately, I have been out of the love loop for years and am confused about where to begin. Facebook? Match.com? “Millionaire Matchmaker”? The other day, I saw a lovely woman out in the neighborhood walking her dog, and, suddenly, the idea struck me to get a dog. What kind of dog would be most attractive to the opposite sex?
A: Recover your senses and realize dogs are not date bait. You cannot acquire a dog merely to lure a lady because you won’t have a satisfying relationship with either the woman or the dog. Men who love their dogs are desirable; men who use their dogs as props are not.
Dogs fill holes in the soul. Dog Lady encourages you to explore this dog idea, but pursue it for the right reason and do the homework. Visit the nearest animal shelter. Look at the dogs waiting to be adopted. Can you imagine taking home and caring for a dog all by yourself? Remember, if you abandon your date-bait dog, the shelter is where the animal could end up.
Also, seek out your dog-owning friends. Ask questions. Volunteer to dog-sit. Have a dress rehearsal as a temporary dog guardian. You’ll find there’s a lot of responsibility in caring for a pet. Sure, a dog can lead to a date, but, first, a dog must lead you to you. A dog forces you out into the world, opening you up to new people and experiences. Take the Zen lesson. Dogs are not a dating destination. They are the joyful journey.
Q: My husband and I will be retiring to Florida in about six weeks. While we are excited about this new adventure, I’m very concerned about Miss Tyler. She is a rescue dog we got 12 years ago when she was just a bundle of fur. She now tops out at 52 pounds, and she hasn’t slept anywhere but under our roof. The road trip will require at least two nights in a motel. We are going to be sure she has her favorite blankets, etc. Our bigger worry is how to help her adjust to her new surroundings. Currently, we just let her out the back door and she has the run of our nice-sized backyard. She has never left the yard. This will not be an option at our new home. We are also worried that she will be homesick.
A: You’re just going to have to take very good care of Miss Tyler. She’s a sweet old soul, accustomed to her home and things. However, she could go live on a desert island as long as she had you. You are the one item your dog needs most. You can ease her through any transition and period of adjustment. Treat her with care and consideration; feed her with the healthy stuff she likes best; cosset her in her old, ripe blankets; walk her. Yes, the latter could be the biggest change and challenge for you. Walk your dog. No more letting her out into the yard. Let her explore and know her new place by discovering it all with you.
Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Follow the “Ask Dog Lady” fan page on Facebook. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.