Karen B. London
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Would You Choose a Dog to a Human Partner?
Shirley MacLaine would take the dog
Man? Dog? Man? Dog?

The Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine writes, “I’d rather have a good, funny, loyal dog than a man” in her new book, I'm Over All That: And Other Confessions. Her life is very different now than in years past, when she was followed by the paparazzi constantly as they sought to photograph her with a new man.

Now, living in Santa Fe, she takes her Rat Terrier, Terry, with her to lunch in town and on daily long hikes up and down the canyons near her home. She is enthusiastic about her life now and sharing it with Terry.
I’m curious to hear from single people. Do you prefer your dog to a human partner at this time in your life? If so, has it always been that way or is this new? And is loving your dog essential in a potential partner, or just preferable?


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Barbara | April 13 2011 |

Yep! Any day!

Submitted by Anonymous | April 13 2011 |

Having gone thru two husbands, I'll take my doberkids any day. I have two rescued dobermans and they are wonderful company. They are always 'ready'. If I want to go for a walk; they are ready. If I want to curl up and watch tv; they are ready for that too (they like to watch the Caps games with me - they no when its time to "Rock the Red"). Time for a snack? They are ready. Car ride, company, yard work? It's all good for them.

They are so happy to see me when I come home from from work. They can be totally goofy and make me laugh all the time-especially Molly. They sense if I am having a tough day and after a riding accident, my doberboy stayed by my side for the two months I had to be flat on my back. He only left my side to eat and go out. If anyone came near me he literally stood over me, front legs on on side of me, rear legs on the other, to make sure i was ok. They have also turned out to be very good judges of people. I wouldn't trade them for anything or any one.

And they are MUCH lower maintenance then men!


Submitted by Michelle | April 15 2011 |

I agree with hese two ladies! Dogs never argue, and no matter what kind of mood you are in or how bad of a day you've had they still love you and want to snuggle. And they always make me smile!

I have 3 dogs - 2 were puppies born to a neighbor's dog and 1 siberian who is a hoot! He's my comic, and my entertainment. They go everywhere with me.

Since I live in a mountain town, the choices of men are...hmmmm...interesting. I'd much rather be with my dogs than any of these yo-bro snowboarders or guys that are so aggro in their sport they don't have time for anything else.

Yep, any day!

Submitted by Anonymous | April 15 2011 |

After losing my 19 year old Shih Tzu last year, I realized that I had never mourned a human male's passing (by way of death or divorces) the way I mourn my Shih Tzu and the sweet stray I had many years ago. I'm 64, and I now adopt senior dogs....and I don't date anymore. Life is better than it's ever been for me.

Submitted by George | April 16 2011 |

Absolutely. I have had 2 wives ... both resulting in pain, drama and several crappy years. I now have 3 golden retrievers (and 2 cats) and they are just awesome. I no longer hear about how terrible their day was, I can watch hockey whenever I want, I am greeted with so much love and happiness when I walk in the door that it still amazes me 3 years later.
I can do what I want, when I want and how I want ... burp and fart without having to worry about some disparaging comment being thrown my way ... no arguments, ever ... only complaint is when they all decide to sleep on the bed at night because they use up a lot of the bed.

Submitted by Lynne | April 17 2011 |

i DO prefer my dogs' company to that of other humans. they are more comforting than humans, they're kinder than humans, and they're ready for anything i offer. i only have 2 left now, as my youngest died just 5 weeks ago (kidney and heart issues) but she especially could read me like a book. and she was the BEST judge of character i've ever met, sometimes it just took me a while to figure out she was right!
there's slim pickin's around here for men, but if i WERE to date, the dogs would definitely have to approve! heck, they have to approve plain old FRIENDS i bring home! :)

Submitted by Carol in Kyburz | April 17 2011 |

My dead husband always accused me of liking the two labs better than I did him!! I thought then "he may be right" but now after 17 years and many boyfriends I know he was right. I'm a lot more tolerant of my three elderly rescues and no one comes to see me if they don't like my wonderful girls Pheona and Noel and the boy Dodger.
I know they keep my "sane" !!!!!!!

Submitted by PJ | April 19 2011 |

I wish I had figured it out years ago- my dog is better in so many ways than any boyfriend I ever had! She is more fun, better company, funnier,
more compassionate- I never feel like I have wasted a moment of time that I spend with her. She is always happy to do whatever I ask of her-
it is a pleasure to be around her, and she is so grateful for my attention- not like some of the lazy, greedy bums I used to waste my time with. She is always up for any adventure, from getting up early for a walk before work, to competing in several dog sports,to camping & hiking in the Sierras; I can even sunbathe & nap with her keeping watch over us. She has spoiled me from wanting a human relationship again- I
am happier with my dog than I ever was- who has the time for headache or heartache?

Submitted by Anonymous | April 27 2011 |

Yes, I often find my canine companions more pleasant than the humans. We humans can be a difficult bunch! : But when I think about the why of it I become embarrassed. Sometimes I think I prefer dog company to human company because the dogs allow me to be more self-centered. Close human relationships, to work, need to be between people who put the other's happiness ahead of their own. We need to study the other person and do what we think will please them. It seems like that's what the dogs are doing. They are genuinely happy to put our desires and wants ahead of theirs. What good examples they are for us. I am a better person for my people because I have dogs.

Submitted by BookLady | April 27 2011 |

Your response was so simply correct, that I found it to be profound!

Yes, I do prefer the company of dogs to humans, and precisely because they allow me to be more ME than I have ever been in my life.

Of all my many friends, I have only 1 who can rate that same level of trust and lack of self-consciousness as my furkids.

THANKS for all the excellent comments, BARKreaders!

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