Being a dog owner is considered one of the most life changing events you will experience (outside of birthing and raising children). Everything changes from the moment that bundle of fur, puppy breath and energy comes home. When you really think about it this being is with you ALL the time and truly loves you unconditionally. So, when it comes time to date (err go bring someone into the pack) his or her say kinda means a lot, right? Well of course it does! More importantly, your dog knows you and only wants the best for you even when you may make the not so best choices when it comes to dating. I can tell you for a fact that my dog, Chance, has revealed to me in some interesting ways that several of my date choices needed to be shown the door. To this very day he has the final say if the guy stays or is unceremoniously given the boot with the only explanation of “this is just not going to work out.” Now, that may seem harsh but let me tell you; when I’ve gone against the “sniff test” I’ve paid for it dearly with a broken heart, moving expenses and many nights sitting on my couch asking myself “how could I’ve been so stupid” as I eat my way through the 31 flavors of Baskin Robbins ice cream.
Now one may ask why would I allow my dog to determine whom I date? Well, the reason why all of my dates must now pass the sniff test is because there was a time when Chance was giving me all the signs that this “one” was not the right one. Signs I ignored and subsequently paid for dearly. I was so enamored and blinded that I didn’t see (or want to see) the signals that this was (a) not the ONE or (b) someone who was relationship material. But I continued to pour my heart and forgive time and time again. After investing over 1 year into Mr. Wrong, Chance’s frustration must have been at an all time high when one morning as I opened the bedroom door to grab us some orange juice Chance rushed into the bedroom, jumped on the bed and proceeded to pee like a racehorse all over Mr. Wrong. I never experienced this before where everything slows down like it does in cheesy movies. Well, in this instance it did as I ran to the bed screaming “Nooooooooo.” By the time I got there, which seemed like an eternity, Chance had already, peed all over Mr. Wrong from head to toe. I grabbed Chance by his collar and immediately took him outside. When we got outside Chance sat down and just looked at me. He didn’t pee, he didn’t move nor did he want to walk to his favorite pee spot; he just sat there and looked at me. There it was the hint that was so big you could drive a Mac truck through it. But, silly me I still didn’t get it. I talked myself into believing that “Chance really had to pee.”
I was so embarrassed as I walked back into the house. As I headed to the bedroom to profusely apologize and reinforce that Chance didn’t mean it and that he’s a good dog; when I walked in the bedroom the first thing I saw was wet footprints leading from the bed to the bathroom. Next, I heard muffled sounds that sorta sounded like cursing wafting from the running shower. I cringed, as the only words I could find at that moment were “I’m sorry and he didn’t mean it” as I stripped down the bed. By the time Mr. Wrong surfaced from the bathroom the pee soaked linen was in a pile on the floor and as I was on the verge of tears I kept saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He smiled (now that I think about it; it was definitely a smirk) and said “don’t worry about it…it’s ok.” It was the signals of all signals that this relationship was an epic don’t but I still didn’t get it. So, by the time we broke up I had already moved out of my NYC apartment into a 4-bedroom house on the North shore of Long Island – to be “closer” so we could start our life together. Ugh, I should’ve listened to Chance.
2 years later (yup, can you believe it? 2 years) I finally realized what my dog knew all along that Mr. Wrong was all-WRONG. When Chance and I moved out of the house “he” never moved into and headed back to the Upper Westside of Manhattan I told myself from now on I’m going to listen to the dog because clearly he knows best. As I sat on the only clear spot on the couch surrounded by boxes in my new apartment I was on the phone lamenting to my Dad about the serious misstep I took with Mr. Wrong. True to form, all my Dad said was “Chance was right when he peed all over him.”
It’s not so easy being a single woman and dating in NYC. It really doesn’t matter how much due diligence you go through with asking the right questions 3 different ways including “is there a woman in your life who THINKS she’s your girlfriend?” There’s still a 50-50 chance that a dud will still slip thru. My solution? All dates must pass the sniff test and the results have been resoundingly spot on.
For example, at the urging of friends to “date someone who wasn’t my norm” I reluctantly agreed to go out with a guy who let’s just say was the complete opposite – at 5’5” I towered over him in flats. Well, it didn’t go so well because when I opened the door to greet him Chance started growling (the scary kind with teeth showing) and wouldn’t let him pass over the threshold. Not sure if Chance thought he was a gremlin or something but I digress. Even when I tried to move Chance to another room he vehemently refused to leave the doorway. So, I asked “not my type guy” to wait outside. When I grabbed my coat to go, Chance latched on the end of it and pulled me away from the door. This is by far not normal good dog behavior of my lovable well-behaved 4-legged friend so I immediately thought “ahhh, great this is a hint!” So, I heeded his warning and told “not my type guy” through the door “this isn’t going to work..sorry.” Immediately after I did that Chance let go of my coat started doing his happy dance and danced his way over to his bed and laid down. The next day I received a text from one of my faux friends letting me know that she heard that I was going out with, let’s just call him Jack to protect the not so innocent, and that I should be careful because he had given her a gift that just keeps on giving. Hmmm…Dog 1, Humans 0
The next potential date was someone I met on one of those free online dating sites and based on his profile he was cute and appeared as if he had all his stuff together (gainfully employed, lived in one of the right zip codes and didn’t have brood of children under the age of 5). We talked on the phone a couple of times and by the 3rd phone call made plans to meet for lunch. There is always a chance, ok…to be honest, a high probability that the guy will show up looking 10 years older than his picture and his self described body type of “athletic and toned” turns out to be in reality a few extra pounds. But, to my pleasant surprise he actually looked like his picture and his body type was not a figment of his imagination. What a promising start for a Tuesday! Not only was lunch great but the conversation went well too. Ah, indeed a promising start. Dates 2 and 3 quickly followed and went just as well. As the critical 4th date approached, this was the time for Chance to weigh in. The 4th date was dinner at my place. I was hopeful because (let’s call him the “anti-cupid”) was able to cross the threshold, take off his jacket and sit down on the couch. From there things went downhill fast. When I moved towards the couch to sit next to him Chance made a bee-line for the couch and proceeded to sit on him. Imagine 140 pounds sitting on you? It’s like dead weight with fur. No sweet cajoling or treat offering worked. Chance was not moving and when “anti-cupid” tried to move Chance off of him you guessed it – Chance started snarling. Not a good situation because I didn’t want Chance to snap at him and then I end up getting sued. With a sharp tone I told “anti-cupid” not to move (like he was going anywhere anyway) and I grabbed his coat. When I walked towards the couch with his coat Chance got off of him. Once again I said, “sorry this isn’t going to work” as I helped him put on his coat and Chance escorted him out the door. As I closed the door behind “anti-cupid” and turned around to see Chance giving me a look as if he was just disgusted. I was perplexed because there weren’t any alarms or nothing out of the ordinary on our 3 dates. I sigh and head to the kitchen and serve myself a nice helping of the lasagna that was going to be our romantic dinner. With a plate of lasagna in front of me I pulled out my computer and just for fun I decided to Google his name. And Holy moly! I nearly choked on the bite I just taken when the Google results appeared. What came up on the first page was enough for me. Chance 2 Humans 0
At this point I was miffed to say the least but true to form Chance has saved me once again from a dating fiasco. Several months date-free later I made my normal weekly stop to the Aroma Espresso bar near my apartment. The manager is really nice and with or without makeup he is always happy to see me (makes a girl feel good). As I walked in true to form the manager comes over and gives me a hug and asks the routine question of “how are you?” Followed with “always good to see you.” I smile because in a big city like NYC at times it can feel so cold and impersonal with people focused on getting their bigger slice of cheese. As we finish with the pleasantries I head to the counter and sit. And just like Norm from Cheers my piping hot cup of large coffee is handed to me. I smile and say “thank you honey bunny” to the teenager behind the counter who shakes his head giggling and walks off. I turn my attention back to the coffee in front of me and hear a man’s voice say “honey bunny, really?” I turn to see who is about to receive a look from me that says “mind ya’ business” when I see that the unwelcomed commentator is handsome…(who am I kidding he was HOT with two Ts) man grinning at me. Like quick draw McGraw I changed my disposition and say “it’s a running joke because I come here a lot.” And of course I have to be cute so I add on, “any guy would be honored to have me call him honey bunny.” Hot coffee guy smiles and responds, “of course they would be.” I turn back around to partake of my coffee and check my email. A few minutes later I hear a voice ask, “is anyone sitting here?” I look up and low and behold it’s my lucky day because its HOT coffee guy. “No, please sit” leaves my mouth before I could even think. About an hour passes and our conversation ranges from sports to politics to the best breed of big dogs for city living. I totally did not want the conversation to end but I had to pick Chance up from doggie daycare. “All good things must come to an end” I say as I get up off the stool. He looks at me and asks, “do you mind company picking up the best looking dog on the UWS?” I smile and say, “sure company sounds great.” We walk the 5 blocks and continue to chat and laugh along the way. The closer we get to the day care center the more nervous I get. Of course, I’m nervous for two reasons one is because this guy is uber hot and second because I’m not quite sure how Chance is going to respond to an unknown man coming with me to pick him up from daycare. We arrive at doggie day care and the girl behind the counter smiles big and gives the girls only look like “nicely done.” She calls down on the walkie-talkie for the team to bring up Chance. A few minutes later you hear his paws on the floor before you see his tail wagging and happy face come around the corner. Upon a glimpse of me he proceeds to run and I bend down to give him a hug. The moment of truth arrives when he notices “Hot Coffee guy.” No fireworks, no growling, no canine like wrestling moves. He just leans over and starts sniffing then without command Chance sits and gives him paw. Now, that’s a first. The three of us walk out of doggie daycare without incident. Hot Coffee guy and I continue chatting as we head back towards the espresso bar where we first met. It’s a really nice walk and when we arrive back at Aroma I let him know that Chance and I need to get home and it was great meeting and talking with him. He asks for my number, which I happily, without hesitation share. We go our separate ways and as Chance and I walk home I receive a text from – you guessed it. I smile and glance at Chance to see if there was anything I should pay attention to. He’s just prancing and approvingly looks back up at me.
It’s been about 5 months and hot coffee guy and I are still dating. It appears that he has passed the sniff test. Chance 3 Humans 0