I was devastated when my dog Shona died at almost 13 years of age. Shona was the perfect dog for me. Athletic, beautiful, and full of spunk, she was blessed with a great sense of humour and got on with all humans and dogs. She would run alongside my horse; she was my companion. We were so in tune that our communication was telepathic.
Dogs, unfortunately, don’t live as long as humans, and I always knew that one day, “that day” would come.
“That day” came on March 18, 2022. My husband and I held her and comforted her as she took her last breath. When the vet checked for vital signs and said: “She’s gone”, we were inconsolable.
In the days that followed, we were off-kilter. Our days had lost structure; the house was empty, and there was no joy in anything.
It was clear that we needed another dog in our life.
So off we went to the local shelter to find our new canine companion.
My husband has a fondness for Molosser breeds – a range of large dogs, including the Bull Mastiff, the Tibetan and Cane Corso.
I, however, never really fancied them. It’s not that I don’t like Molossers, I like all types of dogs, but I wasn’t attracted to them. Those big heads and stocky bodies are not athletic enough for me. I don’t find big drooling chops appealing. I don’t feel great with a ferocious-looking dog by my side.
I can’t even really explain why I don’t feel attracted to them – it’s just one of those instinctive things, maybe irrational but powerful.
I’m a hound type of girl – or so I thought.
Talking to the people at the shelter, it became clear quite quickly that in terms of temperament, there were only a few dogs that would fit our needs. We wanted a dog that was laid back and friendly with other dogs.
And then we were introduced to Teazer.
Meeting Teazer, a two-year-old Cane Corso, for the first time, he instantly touched something inside me. His big, big head with massive, drooly chops was somehow held up by a comparatively skinny body.
He wore a studded collar, which gave him the look of a flashy bouncer fallen on hard times. He wasn’t in the mood for a walk, so we took the opportunity to cuddle on the grass. I got over my dislike for ferocious-looking dogs and opened myself to this creature, who was one of the softest, gentlest dogs I had ever met.
When he hugged me with his paw, I was sold.
So where am I going with this, and what does this have to do with dating?
For a start, I know very well that adopting a dog is very different from finding a life partner.
And yet, I find there are parallels.
When people come to see me, they often have very set criteria in mind of what their partner should be like, should look like. They think Luxdates is a supermarket, having their dream partner on offer.
It’s what today’s singles are led to believe: your dream partner is just a click or swipe away. But, in my experience, this is one of the reasons many people stay single for a long, long time.
We all come into relationships with expectations, filters, and cognitive biases – sometimes inherited and sometimes learned from experience- they all influence our choices on what and whom we find attractive.
Sometimes these filters serve us well, enabling us to make choices that suit our intuition, instinct and basic likes and dislikes. They serve as a defence mechanism, allowing us to avoid people and situations our subconscious believes are not in our best interests.
And sometimes they mean we delete too early the opportunity to meet our perfect partner – simply because our filter tells us to.
Our filters are effective but also imperfect. If we dismiss every person simply because they don’t fit our model of the perfect partner to at least 98%, the search will be long and difficult.
Of course, this doesn’t mean anyone should reduce their expectations or standards; they should be prepared to find perfection in surprising places.
One of the most challenging tasks I have as a matchmaker is to open minds and hearts. To change perspectives. To encourage clients to give it at least a try.
The most successful matches I make – the happiest, the ones that stay together – are those where my clients did just this: give it a try.
They question their biases, date outside their pre-defined comfort zone, meet their match more than once, get to know the person well, and end up in a happy relationship. They met an imperfect person who was just right for them, and, instead of asking for the perfect package from the get-go, worked on any issues that arose.
This brings me back to Teazer, the gentle giant Molosser. Two weeks after we first met him, he moved in with us. We decided to overcome our concerns and give it our best shot. It has not been an easy journey, and we’re still working on a big issue for which there is no quick and easy fix (it turned out that he’s not friendly with other dogs after all, and we are working on helping him with the support of a trainer). But we’re making progress, and we see the light at the end of the tunnel. The concerns we had at first turned out to be insignificant.
It took me a while to call him “my dog” and gaze at him with the same level of adoration I had for Shona. But, when I look at him now, I see those big brown eyes that twinkle with mischief and happiness. He has become very handsome, and that awful, studded collar has been replaced.
I couldn’t be happier with my choice (and neither could my husband. And seeing him so happy makes me happy, so there are a lot of positive vibes flowing around our house these days) – on a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a solid 10.000.
When we adjust our gaze and allow a variety of possibilities to emerge, that’s when magic can happen.
Contact me, and let’s see how we can make the magic happen for you too.
+352 621 364 305