Can Pets Improve Your Love Life?

A study by the National Institutes of Health revealed that having a pet can help to diminish feelings of loneliness, particularly for women living alone, and compensate for the absence of human companionship. However, owning a pet doesn’t have to disallow meeting a human mate. In the British study cited above, 5 percent of dog owners have been on a date with someone they met walking their dog, with 1.5 percent still dating that person. I am in the U.S. and am amongst those who have been on a date with someone I met while walking my dog (while not being in the 1.5 percent still dating that person.)  I have been known to fall in love with a Golden Retriever in a heartbeat, and it may have been possible that I confused who my attraction was for when I looked up at the other end of the leash.

Online dating continues to grow in popularity, and dating sites for pet owners is no exception. and are two examples. On the latter, I read a success story from a woman who met her match when she fell in love with a man who also rescues dogs. Yet, once in a human relationship, people often state they crave the kind of unconditional love they receive from their pets. Can Pets Improve your Relationship?, an article by Dr. Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP, states that all the qualities we often want in our mate appear similar to those we experience with our pets. Her reports show that a person in a relationship often wants to be spoken to with the same affection shown to their pet.

Even though I’ve been single for over 15 years, I’m finding dating in middle age quite a bit different than in my younger years. While most people my age have a lot of baggage, I’m coming to realize that it’s not how much baggage someone has that affects a new relationship, it’s how the baggage is carried. Does it weigh them down and keep them in the past? Or is it light enough that they are able to be present in their lives?

I’m not a relationship expert, I’m a canine music expert and a concert pianist. But, I was sharing my above thoughts with my wonderful women’s group, dear friends that have known me for years. One asked what my baggage was, and I said, “my dogs.” Another disagreed, “Your dogs aren’t your baggage, they are part of your package. They would only be baggage to a man who didn’t accept them as part of you. But, the right man would freely welcome them and consider them to be a huge benefit to your relationship together.” It was an interesting perspective and after careful thought, I agreed.

Lisa Spector with Gina and Sanchez

My dogs are a huge priority in my life. Gone are the days when I would date someone allergic to dogs, or a man who treats dogs as animals that need to be subservient to his demands. My heart seems to only open up to men who really cherish the human animal bond. It’s a deal breaker when a man tells me that I should be comfortable treating my dogs one way, when I feel another. And, I’m not crazy about being teased because it’s hard for me to leave them when I go out of town. Don’t get me wrong, I take trips without Sanchez and Gina and leave them in very good care, but it’s still always hard for me to say good-bye, even if it’s only for a weekend.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, love is in the air, or at least Hallmark tells us it is. Even though I’ll be celebrating with my four-legged sweeties, there is always much to learn from them. And I’m sure they’ll remind me that the right man is capable of loving me and them, it’s not one or the other.

Does your relationship with your pet(s) contribute to the well being of your human partnership or create distance? Has your pet helped you meet the partner of your dreams? Thanks for sharing your comment below.

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Christine Jones
Christine Jones7 months ago

How fortuitous to read this article today!

Last night I was feeling low. My foster dog wouldn't settle, despite being told multiple times to go to his clean and comfy bed. Finally he got up on my bed and snuggled down. Now I don't normally allow dogs on the bed, after a horrible incident when my greyhound leapt off the bed and injured her cruciate ligament. However, as I'll only have this boy for a few more days, I decided to make an exception to the rule.

It's always nice to have a special someone who cares about how you are feeling. Sometimes that someone is a dog!

Alexander Hay-Whitton

A girlfriend once confided to me that she'd set her sights on me as a partner after seeing how I hugged my cats. What goes around....

Carrie-Anne Brown
Carrie-Anne Brown10 months ago

thanks for sharing :)

Eric Lees
Eric Lees1 years ago

Thanks for the article. Dogs do attract people, they can be so welcoming to a stranger. We can learn from them. May have to take my dog Ziva to a park :)

Carla van der Meer

An adorable puppy is a huge chick/guy magnets.

Lisa Wood
Lisa Wood1 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Tanya W.
Tanya W.1 years ago


Ariya Mendy Hembran
Ariya Mendy1 years ago


Sonia V.
Sonia Valencia1 years ago

My cat does help relieve feelings of loneliness.

Jordan G.
Jordan G.1 years ago

Take a dog to the park ... your love life will improve. (I used to borrow my nephew for this purpose, too. Worked like a charm. Though he couldn't catch a Frisbee.)

Take a dog to Denmark ... you'll be the subject of a petition on this site.

I'll take the park, thanks.