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The Puppy Paradigm

Women have always had a penchant for small, furry (preferably baby) creatures, but animals of any age can easily capture the attention of the fairer sex. Many of us will eagerly stop to pet a puppy that crosses our path, regardless of who the dog is with. Hence, the familiar scenario of the not-so-good-looking man and his dog getting swarmed with female attention and smiles.  

Most women will attest that it's not the man that we're seeking. Yet, almost invariably we get caught up in conversation with the owner. And although the conversation usually begins with puppies, it often ends with an exchange of some kind of personal information, sometimes even a phone number. Romance and dating seemingly have no connection to dogs and their relationships with their masters, so why such success in creating human hook-ups? What is it about pets that bring people together?

puppy love

One reason might be that from day one dog owners sign up for a lifetime of love and commitment to their hairy mates, and we find this is attractive. A monogamous relationship requires full commitment and a dedication to take the other person's needs into account when considering your own.  Dating and relationships are often made much more difficult for these reasons alone.  

And while we all know that many men and women have a problem with commitment, dog owners do not. Their devotion, love and desire to care for a four-legged companion indicates a certain ability to tend to the needs of another, even if it is an animal. It also indicates a willingness to take responsibility for whatever unexpected events or problems come along with the companion. Caring for an animal demonstrates maturity and consistency, and as most women can tell you, those are two qualities we definitely look for in a man.    

Or maybe it's simpler than that. Maybe it's just that cute creature = attention grabbing, regardless of the leash holder. Stealing a few minutes of the undivided love and affection that dogs give is often more than enough to approach a homely master and put up with the obligatory small talk. The topics of relationships, dating and love may never come up during the small talk. But the possibility that they will is substantially increased by the fact that the conversation would never have taken place without the presence of a dog.

Love and dating can be a messy and painful part of life, and romantic relationships are often short-lived. In contrast, a relationship with a dog overflows with love and adoration and withstands the test of time.  Dogs don't require nights filled with romance and passion, but they can create situations that help people find love and happiness within their own species.  

Could it be that we are looking for love in all the wrong places while our prince charming is sitting at Starbucks with a puppy on his lap?

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