DEAR READERS: Here are a few of your comments about the woman who brought her dog on a date:
DEAR HARRIETTE: Sometimes actions, not words, communicate the loudest. If I put the dog-kissing date's behavior into words, this would be the translation: "Love me, love my dog. P.S. The dog will always come first."
I agree with you that this is a one-date date. Love your column! -- Chicago
DEAR HARRIETE: I am a dog liker (not lover), but I believe the woman's actions were totally appropriate -- for her and for being on a date.
Dating is about getting to know each other's true selves and deciding whether the relationship has possibilities for moving forward. Honesty on a date saves time, energy and money by letting everyone know upfront if there is even the slightest chance for true compatibility. In this case, the answer is "not a chance." The woman is codependent with her dog, and her date thinks that is nuts. If she'd just asked him during dinner (without the dog), "Do you like dogs?" he would have said yes -- and they would have had no idea they were so far apart on the spectrum of what "liking dogs" means. Her way got them there quickly and easily. Agree to be friends and move on to the next person. -- Chicago
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was surprised that you did not mention that in many (if not most) municipalities, dogs are not allowed inside restaurants. (It's a violation of health regulations.) In Chicago, where I live, an ordinance was passed a few years ago to allow dogs only on restaurant patios under certain conditions.
Dog lovers should realize that dogs are not people and they cannot go everywhere that people go! I think the man in question should find another date. No, the woman's actions were NOT appropriate. -- Chicago
DEAR HARRIETTE: The man who wrote recently is entitled to be offended that this woman wanted him to smooch her pooch. Some further thoughts:
-- The restaurant may be barely tolerating dog people, and that's the real reason it was suggested this couple and the dog sit outside.
-- The woman may feel she has to bring her dog everywhere because her neighbors have complained it barks constantly while she's gone, in which case she needs to give the dog a sturdy beef shinbone as she's leaving.
-- When a dog gets to lick another creature in the face, in the dog's mind, the dog and the other are of exactly the same stature, just like puppies. My dog never gets to lick (or even sniff) my face, only under the chin, because I don't want her to ever forget who's alpha (me!).
-- There are diseases that are transmissible from animal to human -- rare, perhaps, in domestic pets, but why risk it? Dogs lick themselves everywhere, and who's to say that wasn't exactly what the dog was doing before she brought it over? He can always say he's meticulous about hygiene and health. -- Chicago