I've never dated a man with children for longer than the time it takes them to say "I never get the time to see them" (yes you do, you've found time to go on a date with me, you walking red flag) but I have dated men with pets. Worse, I've dated men who have pets they've treated as the children they've never had.
The first warning sign that someone is going to be an over the top pet lover is when someone talks about the price of their beast. "These are two £800 Persians" and "this is a £2000 French Bulldog". I'm used to my animals being a bit more rough and tumble. I grew up with a cat that we got for the sum total of a £10 donation. He was a giant ginger tom who'd been out fighting so had ears like a teddy bear. He's still alive, but is so old he no longer looks like a cat and more just like a miscellaneous animal.
Meeting someone's pet is a strange one. You really hope they like you because there's this common, probably partially unfounded, knowledge that an animal can tell whether you're a good person or not. So ideally you don't want it snarling and hissing at you like you have the devil living deep in your soul. So instead of screaming "This coat costs as much as two months rent. If one of your paws touch me I'll bite them all off" I cleverly cover up my inner dialogue by saying "Oh hello there! How are you doing today?"
I can think of three different dogs that have watched me have sex. Is that the grossest thing you've read today because I feel sick typing it. Once, it was these two things that looked like white pit bulls who belong to a guy I used to "know". Despite him being a perfectly reasonable human being, I didn't want my flatmate to know about me picking up men with neck tattoos, questionable music careers and jaw-y dogs in the middle of the day, so I hid them in with us.
The third dog that needs to be accounted for is our friend the French Bulldog who got into the room and made some pretty questionable eye-contact with me. Not wanting to draw too much attention to him, as his owner hadn't noticed, I silently mouthed to the little creature "piss off". Sadly this just made him snuffle around loudly in a shirt on the ground and our cover was blown.
Bottom line, you have to pretend to be just as into these animals as they are. Would you pretend to like someone else's children? Of course you would. And really, a man who can look after an animal with love and discipline is the kind of man I want to be with. Despite my dry cleaning bill.
[Since writing this I have just had my dry cleaning bill and will be retracting my final statement.]
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