This year didn’t get off to the best start. After a rather painful breakup – peaking when I lost custody of my beloved peace lily – I moved out of the endearingly haphazard home I shared with my then-boyfriend, relocating precisely eight minutes down the road, and into the spare bedroom of my married friends’ flat. Technically the living situation is going fantastically well, if it wasn’t for the fact this couple look like they’ve walked straight out of an M&S campaign – and I’m talking the suits and lingerie kind of campaign; it’s hard not to feel like the mucus-monster from that Benylin advert every time I sit between them on the sofa.
My final shred of self-esteem may be precariously dangling from a used piece of dental-floss, but things are finally looking up. It’s been much like a three-month practical counselling-session; as I politely peer into their relationship, I’m slowly learning that love isn’t an overwhelming feeling of wanting to commit violent crimes against your significant other, nor is love being called a colourful array of swear-words every time you ask him/her to hoover – it’s full of gentle compromise that partners must attentively navigate.
But when it comes to Homo sapiens, there’s only so much we can learn about love; we’re human after all. The real pedigree-problem solvers of heartache come in a hairier, four-legged form.
Dogs. Dogues. Doges. Puppies. Puppers. Borkers. Good boys (note: good boys are genderless and the term can be applied to both male and female pups).
It’s no secret, animals are the key to a good, happy life – Rolf Harris and Hitler being the only anomalies. There is no indisputable love like that of a dog to a human. Sure, you think your parents love you, until they forget to pick you up from a gymnastics class and leave you in an empty gym hall for two-and-a-half hours on a Saturday morning. Would Fido ever do that to you? So he can’t drive right now, but who knows what the future holds if we can get enough change.org signatures!
Through my extensive research, I can now unequivocally confute the suggestion that there is such a thing as ‘too many dogs.’ In 26 years, I have never passed a dog I didn’t want to pet, often rerouting my journey home to stay beside tube-riding-good-boys for just an ounce longer.
There were only so many tears left to cry until I morphed into a 4’11” raisin – so just like that, I took to my local parks and started doging (dog-walking).
Parading the streets of north London with my possy of puppers, we’d head to the park to congregate with other dogs and walkers en masse. These meets are much like I imagine Woodstock to have been; endorphin fuelled (albeit, natural ones) and manic, but probably with less poo to pick up.
There’s so much I’ve learnt from these dogs about love – but not just loving someone else, loving yourself. Just last week I watched a border terrier attempt to seduce an Irish wolfhound on heat by continuously trying to mount her (much like many of my ex-boyfriends’ ideas of a romantic night in). And if you’re not au fait with those breeds, it’s like the human equivalent of Danny DeVito trying to kiss Sigourney Weaver, but never making it past the belly-button, however high he jumps (a prospective film I now hold the rights to).
I mean, WOW. The self-belief that must take; knowing that this frenzied love-making session is a physical-impossibility, but going for it anyway. And by-god, did he give it a go. So many failed goes. What perseverance. I really think there are so many life-lessons to be taken from these star-crossed lovers (but ‘no’ definitely still means ‘no’).
Dogs don’t recoil in disgust when you have a coldsore, or when you’re seven-week unshaven ankles make an unwelcome appearance out the bottom of your activewear. They just see the good in you.
Have you ever come home and your partner has been so elated at the sweet sound of you beckoning from the door that they’ve wet them self? Perhaps through fear, possibly incontinence, but never has it happened as a result of joy. And yet, my voice alone made dogs wee on cream carpets on a bi-monthly basis! When my future-boyfriend has an accident to the sounds of ‘Honey, I’m home!’, that’s when I’ll know I’ve met The One.
Dogs just love to love. It’s absolutely relentless, but never tiring. You never get the ‘ick’ when it comes to canines. If dogs had the ability to text (I pray for the day), I would be very much okay with a dog sending me 13 unsolicited texts in a row, confessing his undying love for me after just one walk. But if you’re a human male and you message me twice on Bumble without a reply, please know you will be immediately, and irreversibly, extradited to my ‘blocked matches’ list.
I’m not telling you to date your dog – my legal team is not existent enough to minimise the repercussions of that. But what I am telling you is be more dog. Love more. Bark back when things aren’t going your way. Don’t ever settle for ‘no-more head-scratches’. Forget the five-second rule (really, what’s the worse that could happen?). Live for the simple pleasures in life – like the beach and slobber-sodden tennis balls. Live every day better than the last, even if you’re eating exactly the same kibble for ten-years on the trot. Play with strangers in the park*. Sniff backsides if that’s your jam**. And finally, just strive to be the good boy you always dreamt of.
*My non-existent legal team have advised against this.
**Please see above.
Images via Giphy.