My dating days are well over but I still remember sitting on a blind date with and rambling on about how much I loved my dog. I know - sounds strange, but hear me out.
My dog, Bella, was the first pet I'd ever had - well, other than the hamster that escaped from the cage in my bedroom when I was six. I cried for a few days and got over it, but I couldn't imagine how I'd have coped without Bella in my late teens and early 20s.
She was my best pal and as ludicrous as it sounds, I'd do (almost) anything to protect her. From cheering me up when I was devastated about my GCSE results to celebrating with me when I launched my own business, she truly was the bee's knees.
So, seeing as though she played such as massive part in my life, it'd probably come as no surprise that I spoke of her wherever I went - including dates.
Thankfully, the women I hooked up with loved to hear about my dog and were probably surprised that a bloke could show so much passion towards a little ball of (cute) fluff.
On one date, after small talk had ended prematurely, our pets came to the rescue, as they were the only thing we had in common. (On reflection, I thought that our pets might've been more compatible than ourselves but hey, it was a great chance to chat about my dog!)
I'm a strong believer that blabbing about Bella so much solved my dating dilemma. But, there was one special date that stuck out in my mind in which I spoke about her constantly... the first date with my now-wife.
At the time of our first date, my wife didn't own any pets but she'd always loved dogs - especially white, fluffy Bichon Frises like Bella. It was this that made me like her even more than I already did. I couldn't imagine being in a relationship with someone who didn't want Bella to be a part of it!
In fact, I'm not alone when I say that a recent survey by animalfriends.co.uk found that 12% of people would 'dump a lover' if they wouldn't let a pet into their lives and quite honestly, I'm not surprised.
The survey also found that I'm not the only one who uses my dog as dating conversation. One in ten male dog owners admitted to using their furry friend as a wingman to snag potential partners and as I've shown, it's a tactic that works!
Dogs play such a huge part in a pet owner's life. From waking up to slathering chops around your face when they're excited to see you in the morning to them sitting with you when you're sobbing about something stupid, they're always there to love unconditionally. So much so that now, I couldn't imagine my life without Bella and I'm so happy that she played Cupid in match-making my wife and I.