Four years ago, I planned to adopt a dog. This was a huge step for me since, as a young girl, I was bitten by my neighbor’s dog (and still have a scar to prove it) and forced myself — through going to dog adoption events for more than a year — to get over this fear.
So, after reading and taking notes on “Dogs for Dummies,” and spending several months figuring out what kind of dog would be the best fit for me, I was ready to bite the bullet and invite a pet into my life.
I searched the list of adoptable dogs and fell in love with little Bashful’s pictures. She was just so cute! I read her bio, and she seemed to have everything I was looking for — the right age, the right size and a nice coat of brown fur. I was smitten.
I went to the rescue event, pages of notes in hand so I would know what to buy at the puppy store once little Bashful was mine. When I got there, she was just as cute as her photos… maybe even more so. And she was so sweet, walking right up to me and sitting in my lap. What more could I want?
So, I was told to buy a collar while the agency got the paperwork ready. I instead opted to sit with her for another few minutes, saying things like, “I’m going to be your puppy mommy!”
As the forms were coming my way, and I was really starting to bond with my new friend, a supervisor came over to me and said (while Bashful was still in my lap, mind you), “So, we decided that we’re not going to let you adopt this dog.”
“She can only go to a home with other dogs. And by the way, she can’t live in the city, either.”
Had any of that information been in her bio? No. Had they told me that before I started to get excited and bond with her? No. Would I have even chosen her had I known this was the case? Of course not. So I left, feeling sad that I was not getting the new best friend I wanted, and deceived that something so important (a deal breaker, if you will) had not been stated upfront.
As I walked away, I thought to myself that the situation sounded oddly similar to online dating. I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation where a profile says exactly what we want it to say. We meet our date and everything seems to be going fine until…
BAM! — He tells you he doesn’t want children.
BAM! — She’s really just separated and not divorced — and still living with her ex!
BAM! — He said he’s not very religious and has no dietary restrictions, but when I ordered a pepperoni pizza, he almost disowned me.
In online dating, it’s so important that your deal breakers are out there front and center. If you don’t want children, that’s fine! Just make sure you check that box off in your profile. If you’re extremely religious (or not at all), that’s okay, too! Don’t underplay that simply to get more dates.
The last thing you want is for someone to go out with you only to be disappointed because you didn’t disclose something really important in your profile. So don’t be bashful. Be true to yourself. You may go on fewer dates, but your dates will want you for the real you rather than for the person who is trying to appeal to everyone simply by not sharing the truth.
And this goes for searching, too. As hard as it may be, try not to fall in love with someone’s pictures and profile (merely words on a page) before meeting in person.
In the end, I got a dog, Scruffy, who I love more than anything. I was less tied to the words on the page when I searched for him and instead looked for the connection when we met. It was love at first sight.