Dogs and dating: The no-dogs-on-bed rule
What do you do when your significant other doesn’t like dogs in your home?
Most dating shows are designed to be toxic situations to make already uncomfortable (and usually clueless) people be put into even worse situations. OWN’s “Ready to Love” is something else entirely. Now in its second season, this reality show (produced by Will Packer) gives a far more realistic look at dating life when it comes to camaraderie among friends, competition, outlook on marriage and children, conflict-resolution (emphasis on resolution), and unfortunately even taught viewers a startling lesson about brain flu.*
But on tonight’s episode, there was an interesting conversation between two cast members Darin and comedian Ashima regarding his two Labrador Retrievers sleeping in his bed. (He’s had them for seven years.) According to the host, Thomas “Nephew Tommy” Miles, “A black woman does not want a dog in her bed.” And the best response I’ve read on Twitter so far was this one:
Even as a 22-year dog owner (13 years with a Labrador Retriever/German Shepherd, nine years with a German Shepherd), I never allowed either dog to sleep in my bed. The first one was entirely too wild to even humor the idea. I’d moved out by the time the second dog came along, and she seemed perfectly comfortable in the hallway or on the floor when I came over to walk her or dogsit. I understand why people prefer dogs to stay off their beds, specifically due to dirty paws and agitating allergies. They’re also generally light sleepers.
Although I cringe at the phrases “dog mom,” “dog dad” and “fur baby,” there is a snuggle factor that happens among dog lovers that can only be compared to those who don’t mind babies sleeping with them.
It was never something I was into — that is, until I started housesitting and dog walking on a professional basis. When you’re in someone else’s home, telling a dog who has already gotten accustomed to climbing on couches and on beds to get off is like someone going through your refrigerator telling you, “I wouldn’t eat that.”
It was tough to wrap my mind around, and I fully intended to point to the floor during my first housesitting job. But during that first gig, a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog made one running leap and flopped on my legs. I realized, “Wait a minute, this isn’t bad at all.” I housesat for that dog for eight days, and she stuck to me like Velcro. She was definitely a bed hog who I physically had to move over so I could spread out, but you get used to this furry blanket so fast.
While I definitely cannot co-sign this belief that black people (specifically black women) just aren’t into dogs like that, there is an argument to be made that dogs shouldn’t share your bed if their behavior is aggressive. However, according to the American Kennel Club, there are also pros to letting a dog sleep with you.
Pros of letting your dog sleep in your bed
- That same light sleeping behavior (three sleep/wake cycles) means instant protection should there be a disturbance nearby
- No need to tap your bedfellow to see what the disruption is; your dog is ready for all that action
- Increases companionship and comfort among the two
- Eases anxiety for those with mental health concerns
- Becomes an instant bed warmer
- Is a consistently warm greeter as soon as you wake up
Arguably all of these factors can also work for a sleeping human being next to you. But for a dog lover, these two are totally different experiences. Although I cringe at the phrases “dog mom,” “dog dad” and “fur baby,” there is a snuggle factor that happens among dog lovers that can only be compared to those who don’t mind babies sleeping with them. It’s a distinct source of comfort. (And no, that doesn’t mean all dog owners sing and dance to the “Joan Song**.”)
Would it be difficult for a dog lover and someone who doesn’t like animals to date though? I, personally, walked a man to my door and never had any desire to see him again after he told me he thought dogs were just “OK.” I also changed my phone number. Sorry, not sorry. But I’m sincerely hoping that Ashima and Darin can reach a happy medium. For dog lovers, dog(s) are a permanent packaged deal.
** Check out the couple in the window at 2:17 looking at this lady like she’s absolutely lost her mind.