Can Fido Help You Find Your Match?



For the past three years, I’d been a mom to a retired racing Greyhound. She was not affectionate, excitable or playful. She didn’t know how to fetch. She never barked. And because she was so slender and graceful, and got so much attention, I started feeling like I had a haughty supermodel for a roommate, not an affectionate companion. For a single girl, this is the worst kind of nightmare.

This wasn’t what I wanted in a pet. I like big, sloppy, silly dogs that just wanted full access to your lap. I adopted her right after my Rottweiler was put down, but she made me miss my old dog even more. 

After a few years, it was clear that I wasn’t what she wanted in a mom, either. She was alone most days, after a lifetime of living in a pack. My friends kept commenting that she looked “depressed.” So I contacted the rescuers I adopted her from and they suggested I bring her back.

When I dropped her off at the foster’s house, I knew I’d done the right thing. There was a huge fenced-in yard with a wading pool under a giant elm tree. At home were another Greyhound and a Doberman, three kids and a stay-at-home mom. Her foster mom told me she was frolicking in the pool within minutes. After months of angst, my heart was truly at peace.

I spoke to the foster mother about how fostering works. That got me thinking how that might work for me. I would be doing a good thing, first of all—so many shelters are packed with desperate pets. Second, I could have a companion without the permanent commitment of adoption. Of course, if we clicked, I could adopt. And best of all, it was much cheaper than adopting: many shelters will provide pet supplies and cover medical costs. I was convinced!

I thought about what I needed in a pet, and decided maybe a dog wasn’t the right thing for me at the moment. I’m out of the house far too often, really don’t like the 6 am walks, and honestly? I avoid the dog park—I can’t carry on a conversation with the other dog people.

I am not a cat person, but I was willing to try something new. Within a week I had a tabby hiding under my couch. After two weeks went by—she was still under the couch. She hadn’t eaten. I called the shelter. The woman in charge of fostering took her back and gave me another cat—a huge, super furry, super affectionate calico. When I say “super furry” I mean every inch of clothing and furniture had cat hair on it. And when I say “super affectionate,” I mean non stop physical assault on my lap. Not a moment’s peace. 

Onto the next cat. She was super adorable—a teeny, tiny tuxedo with the skinniest neck and biggest ears I’d ever seen. She arrived and within minutes was on my lap, but not cloying. By the second day, she was giving me neck massages and kisses. I was smitten … until she got comfortable in my home. Since then, I’ve had to replace two lamps, a pair of shoes, a vase and countless cable wires. The massages are still great, but not at 2 am. I nicknamed her Zoo Baby because she was like a tiny Langur, climbing everywhere. Adorable, but I’m not sure she’s for me.

Now I’m waiting to get a calm, sweet 6-year-old female Russian Blue from the shelter. I hope this one really works out.

I noticed that for all my pets, I’d always used relationship-y terms. I gave back my Greyhound because “the magic is gone.” Shelter animals are all like bitter divorcees. The first cat I fostered was “emotionally distant.” The cloying, overbearing cat was “codependent.” Zoo Baby was “the Bad Boy.” Each surrender back the shelter was a “breakup.” Now I’m waiting for my “soulmate” pet. 

But then I thought about it: isn’t dating a bit like pet ownership, anyway? We try out pets to see if it’s a good match. If it is, we bring them into our lives and it’s mutual love and happiness. If not, we move on to the next prospect.

I started thinking a lot about our internet dating approach: it’s more like a job search than a quest for love. Profiles are resumes, F2Fs are interviews.

Maybe this isn’t the best approach. Maybe we could consider it more like fostering a pet. Isn’t our need for that unconditional love for a pet, the desire to make our pets a part of our families, pretty much what we’re looking for in our mates? 

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the British nickname for life partners is “pet.” Something to think about, indeed!

I hope all CatholicMatch members, even the non-pet people, could shift their way of thinking about their online search for love. And I wish every last one of you the best in your search. God bless!



  1. Meesch-691047 November 11, 2012 Reply

    YES!!! I now have ANOTHER reason to get a puppy!

  2. Mary-720746 November 10, 2012 Reply

    I have worked with several animal rescue groups in the past. In several cases did not have a choice in the dog or cat I fostered. A guess you could say it was a prearranged match. Most of the animals I fostered were “diamonds in the rough”. They had some type of defect or quirk.It’s why they ended up in shelters or as give ups. I’m sure some of them thought the same of me. All of them gave me unconditional love and loyalty. They could sense when I was not feeling well. Knew when I was upset with something they did. Felt sorry when they let me down. In a few instances I had the option to put them down. They were not getting adopted. I quit fostering and adopted them myself. Some of the most feral cats some of us fosters had became the best pet one could have. It took time, patience, understanding and love on the human’s part. The most notorious dog from hades became a loving, loyal companion. I did have one instance I had to have a foster dog euthanized for behavior problems. I feel bad about it to this day eventhough I know it was the right decision. Just as we need to give an animal time to adjust to them and they to us, we need to give a CM relationship time. There are certain core values we adhere to in saying yes to a match.We need time, patience, understanding, love, and most important, commitment in making a relationship work.We should look at the qualities our animals bring to our lives and seek and nurture some of those qualities in a CM match. I have hugged more than one animal and said to it “Oh if I could only find a guy as good as you, I wouldn’t be single. By the way, love me, love my dog. I don’t believe in divorce but I’ve half-jokingly told people that if I had a pre-nup agreement, there would only be one thing I would insist on, I get full custody of the animals. St Francis of Assissi and St Martin de Pores bless our animals and us as we search to find a human companion.

  3. Margaret-20183 November 9, 2012 Reply

    I’m a bit surprised by this post. I’ve never given a pet away and wouldn’t think about doing it unless he or she tried to kill me. Before my current cat came into my life I wanted a sweet, calm, adult female cat who would show up at my doorstep. Instead I got a crazy male kitten that my niece found in a cornfield. He turned out not to be the cat I wanted, but he is the cat I need. It’s proof, at least to me, that one’s wants pale in comparison to what God knows we need. It’s like the men who’ve meant the most to me in my life, or those who have had the greatest effect on it: not the type of men who I thought I’d want, or who I thought would want me, but certainly the men I needed.

  4. Lois-765906 November 9, 2012 Reply

    I,myself, have always been a dog person – started off, as a teenager, with a 1 year old “used” Shephard Collie mix named “Eli” (the coolest dog ever) who was our family guard dog when mom had to work the night shift, and, later in life, ended up with a Yorkshire Terrier (the type that are fiesty & mighty, but don’t realize they are tiny & fragile). That actually kind of describes me! Maybe people DO choose pets who are like them!

    I don’t think “fostering” is something that I would use to describe the dating-again-after-divorce experience for me. When I joined Catholic Match, I wanted to make new friends and hopefully, find someone who could “click” with me and vise versa. I did not (and do not) see a down side to this. I think of it in terms of Divine Providence. Everyone that God brings into my life is there for a reason and I am very happy to know them and explore a potential relationship (at least a friendship!). I am grateful to everyone who has contacted me and expressed an interest, because I was in such an emotional desert for such a long time. To me, enthusiasm DOES make the difference. As Mother Teresa used to say: “If it is meant to happen, it will; if not, it won’t.” As simplistic as this may seem, I have found, as of late, truly great joy in my daily life experiences because of this renewed view of living. If a guy reaches out to me on CM, I am not rejecting his interest in me because of what he writes on his profile because I have discovered that each of us has value. In my post-divorce recovery, I have found I LIKE people and, if a guy turns out to be a real creep, he won’t last very long around me because I tend to project the above-philosophy and they usually can’t stand it after a while.
    Since I truly believe that “All things work together for the good”, I am just praying daily that, whatever His purpose and plan is for me, I have the wisdom and fortitude to realize it!

  5. Tessa-694373 November 9, 2012 Reply

    The article has some truth…people give great contemplation on their decisions on frivolous things and when it comes to dating or marrying…it is oh they are single…I guess I will marry him or her…it doesn’t matter they don’t have the qualities that they desire other than they are single and available.

    I will give you example…I was standing in line waiting to vote for a few hours so you kinda get to know the people you are standing with in line and I was with this lively group and as we finally made it into the voting we had to stand in line to turn in our ballots and one of the ladies was like oh I thought that was your husband standing with you and I said no, I’m not married and she said well I think he is single I think you should go out and I kindly replied I’m single but I have my standards….the woman was married and she seem to have a hard time understanding why I would not give a single guy a chance…I explain to her that he may be single and he may be nice but He has none of the qualities I’m, seeking in a spouse… she said that may explain why her daughter is still single too…I told her she should be happy that her daughter is not willing to settle either…

  6. Stephen-725391 November 9, 2012 Reply


  7. Victor-544727 November 9, 2012 Reply

    “… isn’t dating a bit like pet ownership, anyway?”

    Absolutely! Sometimes you end-up with a true “thoroughbred” and sometimes you end-up with a real “mutt”. The only real difference is that we’re usually more discerning when it comes to our choices in pets than we are with the choices we make in dating. That’s a large part of the reason our relationships with our pets will usually outlast any 10 dating relationships.

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