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I always feel like I have a superpower whenever I go out and take my 2 year old fluffy giant Great Pyrenees / Alaskan Malamute mix out and about. Whether it be on a hike, a dog park outing, or a brunch patio session, the same thing always happens: people flock to us. After the flock, I’m flooded with questions and comments that are always the same:
“What’s his name?”
“Can I pet him?”
“Have you had him since he was a puppy?”
“He looks like ‘Ghost’ from Game of Thrones!”
“How much does he weigh?”
“Does he shed?”
Of course I’m biased since I think my dog (named Tony) is amazing, so in the past I’ve justified the behavior by examining the fact that my dog is stupidly beautiful. But I also have noticed I’m subject to falling prisoner of this phenomenon. Every time I see a dog- and I mean ANY dog- I cant help but feel a very involuntary and very real gravitational pull towards the animal because I. Must. Pet. It.
After putting some of these pieces together in my mind, I realized: Dogs make the best wingmen.
It’s obvious that people automatically flock to dogs out in public, we know this. But my theory goes far beyond this simple observation. First of all, dogs automatically make you look like a better human being. Did you know ACTUAL science says that people with dogs are perceived to be more happy, empathetic, and overall approachable? To me, the presence of a dog also makes the owner seem more responsible. Are they nurturing? Check. Are they committed (even if just to an animal’s care)? Check. If I seem someone with a happy and healthy dog, I can at least assume they have the basic wherewithal to keep it alive. And that’s saying more than most people I’ve gone out with.
Dogs also serve as immediate ice breakers. Approaching a stranger you find attractive can be daunting… and even though I’m sure each of us are confident enough in our own pick-up lines and suave conversation starters, can anything REALLY compete with an adorable wagging tale and a squishy nose to “boop?!” NO. Why do all of the heavy lifting when your dog is going to do all of the introducing for you? Even if the hypothetical cute person doesn’t immediately fly towards you and your dog, they’re going to be looking. This is an easy opportunity to utilize the opener, “You can pet him/her if you want!” Boom. Not only are you the awesome person with the dog, but now you’re the GENEROUS awesome person with the dog!
Other bonus points of having a dog as a wingman? They are completely unable to “accidentally” tell an embarrassing story about you. Even though dogs sometimes see the worst of us (ie: that one time you dropped a taco in the trash but it wasn’t touching anything too gross so you picked it out of there and ate it anyway), they can’t actually articulate our flaws to future dating prospects. If anything, they’ll just be showcasing how wonderful and attentive you are!
Like the best of wingmen, dogs also can help sniff out the bad apples. Someone may be attractive, funny, financially stable, kind, etc… But if they don’t like dogs? Please. Get the fuck out of here. Even beyond that: Tony is a great litmus test for any psychopaths out there. My dog pretty much loves everyone, but every once and a while he picks up on a negative vibe from someone and doesn’t hesitate to let me know. And if my dog doesn’t like you? Yikes. I don’t want to like you either.
Beyond being good wingmen, dogs honestly have taught me a lot about dating in general. It doesn’t matter about breed, coat texture, age, color, size, or fetching ability: all dogs really like to sniff other dogs’ butts. Tony is over 100 lbs and yet his favorite dog friends are usually the size of my own palm. I think there’s an underlying message here. Watching Tony and his fellow pooches play at the park reminds me that it’s a good thing to have an open mind about a future romantic partner. I’m not saying you should want to sniff anyone’s butt… Unless you’re in to that. You do you.
Sometimes dating life can be ruff (wink). But if all else fails in your romantic endeavors, a dog will always bring you unconditional love. They may not be able to share a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day with you, but they’ll always be there with kisses and cuddles when you need them the most.
In the end, everyone thinks their dog is the best dog. And everyone is right. So hear me out: Maybe it’ll be worth your time to invest finding the perfect wingman: doggy style..