Finding Love at the Dog Park

Must Love Dogs (and Me)

"My ideal date would be meeting up at a park with our dogs. We would walk along and have a random funny conversation. Then get lunch at an outside restaurant." -- Marci, of Tustin, Calif.

Couple with their dogs at park

Matchmaking Mutts

Sound like your kind of match? More and more pet owners are reaching out to canine communities to find love matches. From dog parks to Web sites, people are making connections with their four-legged family members in mind.

Single people with pets will often say that meeting a potential mate depends greatly on whether they’ll get along with their furry companions. If sparks don’t fly over pet fur, then the deal is mostly likely off.

Online 'Dog Parks' Connect Pet Owners

Like all those popular dating Web sites, www.datemypet.com, offers singles a place to post profiles and photos of themselves — and their pets. The Web site’s goal is to connect people who either want to make play dates for their pets or make a love connection with a pet owner.

There are 89 million single people in the U.S., and likely millions own pets and give them top priority in their lifestyles. Rather than wait to hear over dinner that your date is allergic to cat fur and doesn't really like dogs, smart singles are doing their research before they say yes to a first date.

Find a Dog Park Nearby

The rising number of dog parks across the U.S. points to their growing popularity among dog owners in need of a social fix. With sheltered space for dogs to run free, it’s a prime opportunity for both pet and owner to get out and meet the neighbors.

Dogs and people mingle at a dog park

Singles looking for a local dog park can find a host of sites online. One in particular, www.dogpark.com, lists parks across the U.S. and Canada in a sortable list by state. Since most dog parks are run by municipalities, check with city Web sites in your community for park locations.

John and Cindy of Forth Worth, Texas, recently got engaged at their local dog park, playfully named “Fort Woof.”

Fort Woof unwittingly played a role in their engagement. John bought a commemorative brick from park organizers and had his proposal engraved upon it. As Cindy read the brick and replied with a happy, “Yes,” the couple’s dogs Blarney and Butterscotch romped and played with their four-legged pals.

Keep the Leash on Things

Ann Palik, a licensed marriage counselor and therapist, writes advice tips for dating pet owners in "Yappily Ever After: Are You Ready for a Blended Family?" She cautions people to consider several questions before diving in too deeply:

  • Can you sustain the relationship aside from your mutual love of animals?
  • Do the pets all get along? What happens if they don’t?
  • Can you compromise on your pets’ lifestyles at home?
  • Sit down and talk with each other about your concerns.

For single pet owners, finding a match made in heaven (the human kind) means meeting a mate that can tolerate fur, slobber and rowdy home life in general.