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The Daily Vet by petMD

The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets.

Fifty Shades of Dog - What Women Really Want in a Man

Fifty Shades of Grey is, no doubt, a polarizing book. Count me among the women who simply did not get how anyone could be so obsessed with Christian Grey.


I had a few problems with him, such as his stalking and his weird fits of anger, but I really knew the second we entered his apartment that Mr. Grey could never be the man of my dreams. After all, he didn’t have any pets, and that, out of all the other transgressions of character — that will never do. I tried to imagine how a person like him would react to my Golden aggressively drooling on his assorted designer ties, and it all went downhill from there.


I admit it: I’m a sucker for dogs. When I’m walking down the street and a really cute Boston is heading in the other direction, my head swivels around like one of those shampoo commercials where the guy on the sidewalk walks into a telephone pole when the female object of his admiration prances by. I can’t help it. I’ve been this way since I was about five.


I’m oblivious to the person on the other end of the leash most of the time, dropping to my knees and cooing in appreciation before looking up and striking up a conversation with the owner.


Most people understand my motivations are pure, though there have been a few tense moments when a nervous looking man stares at me in horror a second or two before his significant other swoops in to give him a dirty look. They are faultless, of course. The dogs run to me of their own volition, sensing a person who very possibly has some meat residue in her pockets.


I understand why people mistake my genuine interest in pets as a covert attempt to meet the person; after all, the "dog as wingman" trope has been around as long as Budweiser’s been making commercials, perhaps longer. Which is why I read an article revealing that Young women find dogs sexier than smartphones, according to a Retrevo.com study, with such bemused interest.


Was anyone surprised by this?


My husband works in the cell phone industry, and I will tell you with complete conviction that not once in our seventeen year history have I once had any interest in the myriad of gadgets he’s pulled out of his briefcase. If anything, they drive me more and more nuts. The flip phone led to the smart phone and now the fitbits, the wifi enabled lightbulbs, and a bunch of other devices I am completely ambivalent about.


I love him despite his gadget obsession, not because of it. Let me put it to you this way: On Valentine’s Day, while we were waiting to be seated at a cozy Italian restaurant, he asked his wrist watch to record The Walking Dead on our home TiVo. Yes, his watch. I was not nearly as impressed as he thought I was going to be.


When I first met him, he lived in a house with two other guys and a really funny cat. The cat wasn’t his, but he got a roommate bump in my estimation for liking the cat. His other roommate had a pufferfish who would jump up and down out of the tank every time it saw one of the guys head into the kitchen, where they would grab a piece of frozen shrimp and toss it to the appreciative creature.


To this day he thinks he won me over with tickets to David Copperfield, but in reality, I was his the moment he stopped what he was doing to go feed a happy fish. When we bought our first house and I finally had room for pets of my own, I brought home three animals before we had a dining room set. Then it became a home.


Last week, well-known writer and director Kevin Smith lost his Labrador Mulder. The often wry and subversive Smith posted a heartfelt picture on Facebook, showing him cradling the dog while he looked off to the side with a tear streaked face. The post had something like 52,000 comments.


“That dog made me a better human being,” he said, and that about sums it up. Perhaps on some base level we know this intuitively, and this is why so many of us automatically gravitate towards people who seek out the joy and love pets bring to our lives. Tell me the last time anyone said that about a laptop.


There aren’t a lot of deal breakers in my life when it comes to relationships. Root for whatever sport team you want. I don’t care if you’re Apple or Android. The toilet paper can go over or under and I will manage. But if you don’t like dogs, well, you won’t like me. Anyone else out there feel the same?



Dr. Jessica Vogelsang



Image: Christin Lola / Shutterstock


Comments  6

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  • Agreed
    02/20/2015 05:23pm

    Agreed on the 50 shades thing: The only woman who'd fall for a Grey is a self-loather. I read half of the first book and found it profoundly troubling in its extreme misogyny. THIS is what women find sexy? God save the human race!

    As to Kevin Smith: Now THAT's a real man. Good thing he finally grew up! ;-)

    Great reading you again, btw!

  • 02/22/2015 05:11am

    Oh wow! HI DR KHULY! I feel so honored you stopped by!

    You know, I read the whole dang trilogy and lost at least 10 IQ points in the process. I kept thinking, wait for it, at some point it's going to get better and I will understand why this woman is a kazillionaire...but it never happened. On the other hand, reading the critiques has provided me many hours of genuine entertainment.

  • [email protected]
    02/20/2015 05:28pm

    I absolutely feel the same way. My 2 dogs are a big part of my life, and I can't imagine having a boyfriend or husband who was even just neutral to them. My 3 sisters have dogs, and their husbands love their furry family members just as much :)

  • 02/22/2015 05:41am

    I got up to 4 pets at one point, though we're down to two right now. I'm still working on my husband. Some day, he'll let me bring more home, I just know it.

  • Critters!
    02/20/2015 10:45pm

    A man must like/love critters. I don't care if it's dogs or cats or pufferfish, although I certainly admire a man that really likes cats.

    On the same subject, if my cats don't like someone, I trust that. My Darlene (RIP) used to do all sorts of silly things to get the attention of service people. (She especially liked plumbers.) One poor gentleman could barely write the ticket because Darlene was rolling all over his clipboard and looking at him longingly at the same time. What was interesting was all those that my cats fussed over, after chatting a bit, I found they usually had a houseful of pets.

  • 02/22/2015 05:04am

    I really wish my dog were a little more picky. One time we had a plumber come into the house- my husband told him to let himself in- and I walked out of the bedroom to find some strange guy hanging out with Brody in the foyer and I had no idea he had arrived. I mean, it was fine he was there, but I would have appreciated some sort of warning. That's a Golden for you.

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