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As the owner of a social dog, I'm not sure whether I love or hate the idea of the new doggie playmate matching website, MatchPuppy.com.
On the one hand, the concept lends itself to lots of terrific puns and wordplay, like "best friend furever" and "it's dating gone to the dogs!" and "going online to find some new tail."
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On the other hand, it provides an easy way for insane pet owners to display their inadvertent lunacy on the Internet. For instance, a cursory look at the site reveals several photos of dogs that were obviously taken in some sort of professional studio. And it's just asking for trouble any time you ask a devoted dog owner to fill out a profile on behalf of his or her animal. In spite of our better judgement (which some of us do in fact possess), we are powerless to the temptation to write things like, "Favorite quotations: 'Woof!'" and "I like sticks and long walks in the park."
You can't expect more of us. You just can't.
On the other other hand, I'm almost tempted to use it. Almost. Gus has developed a strange set of rules around which dogs he'll allow and which he won't into his sphere of consciousness (its perimeter is pretty limited). Dogs who are smaller and/or older than him are welcomed with open arms, while larger, young dogs are suddenly the subject of much scrutiny and mistrust. (Note the dignified way in which I resisted changing the expression to "open paws.") So instead of testing out new pairings with the fear that Gus will suddenly decide the other dog needs to be taught a lesson in humility, which is an embarrassingly intense source of stress for me every single day of late, it would be nice to go online and find a like-minded dog who will surely be a good match for Gus. Though, of course, you then get into the treacherous territory of dealing with the byproduct of this pairing, which is the (likely) unwanted human blind date. As if the worlds of online matchmaking and dog park socializing weren't fraught enough, we've just taken the two and knit them together in a veritable sweater of awkwardness.
Luckily so far, the profiles appear all to be written in the voice of the human and not in "the dog's voice." But I may not be able to resist the urge to sign up a bunch of facetious profiles in order to post things like, "I've been burned in relationships before and now I'm just looking to take things slow and play (in) the field." Or: "Alpha male seeks submissive." And this old chestnut: "Looking for a special lady who's as comfortable in an evening gown as she is in sweats." Actually, I just lifted that directly from 80% of all match.com profiles. I feel it works in this context well, too.
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Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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