Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.

The Slippery Slope to “Dog Lady”


This past weekend a friend asked me, “You’re not thinking of getting another dog, are you?” “Well, actually,” I replied slowly. “The thought has crossed my mind to get another dog eventually, but only once I have more living space.” “When do you see that happening?” “Within the next three to five years,” I answered, adding that I’m currently focused on building the life that I want. If I end up meeting another partner, great. But I’m not seeking or waiting for that to happen before moving forward with my goals. “But that’s how you end up being a cat lady,” was the response.

For those unfamiliar, in America, the term “cat lady” has long been associated with the concept of spinsterhood, and in more recent decades, with “romance-challenged (often career-oriented) women who can’t find a man” (paraphrasing wikipedia). Perhaps in your country there is a different term, but you probably recognize the concept of the older, unmarried woman who finds love with her pets instead of a man, right? In my case, it would be “dog lady” as I’m allergic to cats.

Another friend recently told me she doesn’t like to see people using their pets as a “crutch.” When I asked her to explain what she meant by crutch exactly, she said “like when the pet is keeping them from doing things, like dating.” She also asked if I was thinking about getting another dog (apparently, a common concern), and told me it would be better if I dated a man who already owned a dog. “Then you could merge the two pets into one household.” I said, “That would be great, especially if he had a big yard too.”

The summation of these, and other, conversations has got me wondering. Should I be concerned that I’m spending all my free time with my dog instead of dating? Is she an emotional crutch? Am I becoming (the dog equivalent of) a cat lady??

While it’s true that my dog is somewhat of a child/companion/protector/project, I don’t necessarily see myself living alone with her forever. I also don’t see any rush in finding another mate. I feel like I’ve experienced the major romantic milestones in life: falling in love, living together, marriage, sickness, death. The only thing I haven’t done is give birth and raise a child. But isn’t having a dog good practice for parenting on some level? When I said that to my friend this weekend, he laughed, “I’ve seen the way you discipline your dog. Your child would probably rob me.”

I should add that my friends and I love sarcasm and ribbing each other. We might sound harsh, but it’s all in good, playful, loving fun. I really do appreciate that they want me to find love again, even their fears of me living in a house overrun with animals. I just wish they could understand that before I can entertain the idea of being in another human-human relationship, I need to get my shit together and re-define my life on my own. It’s not that I don’t want to share the joys and adventures of life with someone one day.

Or perhaps this all hogwash and I’m actually becoming a “dog lady.”

(credit: sarahleavitt.com)

(credit: sarahleavitt.com)

Author: nivaladiva

Freelance writer and independent filmmaker.

22 thoughts on “The Slippery Slope to “Dog Lady”

  1. MEGA OMG – really? Well, if you are a dog lady, you have company! and i am probably going to become an official dog lady, because at this moment i want nothing to do with the opposite sex! (Thanks to my ex – which is not my second ex – Bill who passed away) Oy – I know people are good intentioned – but like you said, it takes time and you gots to get your shit together! hey – i just thought of something – what better way to get one’s shit together than by picking up one’s dog shit! Humph – i am sensing a great angle for a story…..

    BTW – the soon to be freshman is at college orientation today with his dad (my first ex and his bro Peyton) he is getting so excited to go to school! I posted his last film assignment about a week of blogs ago – he had to make his own music video. He used alot of state of the art equipment which was quite the learning experience for him. He is so cute to watch – full of dreams and aspirations! He wants to make the across counrty trip to CA in a few years with an old van that belonged to Bill. Humph – what is it with you movie geeks? 🙂

  2. 🙂 I’d have no probs at all being the “Dog Lady”…least dog people sort of have to be social.

    Girlfriend of mine goes up once or twice a year way up by James Bay to rescue dogs (normally sled dogs, abandoned dogs etal). She has therefore acquired a bit of a collection. She’s a single woman with no real need or desire to “find a man”. Not against it …just is not terribly concerned. Funny that some feel our lives are not somehow complete without a human partner or companion of some sort in it.

    • My thoughts exactly. I think some find it hard to imagine being single and satisfied, especially for a woman. That’s cool about your friend and the sled dogs.

  3. Don’t worry, I am currently a cat lady but it doesn’t mean it will be that way forever. It’s nice to have a companion and I know friends get worried I am going to be on ‘hoarders’ with a house full of cats wearing tissueboxes for slippers. Ha!

  4. Welcome to my club! I am a dog lady. Destined to be alone with a houseful of dogs (I, too, am allergic to cats). I don’t think it’s such a bad thing. 😉

  5. Ok, we’re changing your name to nivadogladyladiva! Thanks for taking us through your thought process again. I’ll be back for more.

  6. That’s great. I love reading your blogs. When my husband and I split up some years ago now, he said he was having the car and I was having the dog. I think I got the better deal. She was a wonderful companion, came everywhere with me and became very well travelled, London buses, taxis, tubes, car journeys, the lot. She spent her last few very happy years with me in the countryside when I re-married and moved to Devon. Nothing wrong with being a dog lady for a while!

  7. I’m not a widow but have lived alone for the past 15 years, without a dog or a cat. But I do compromise and look after friends’ animals while they’re away. It’s a bit like being a grandparent – I can give them back but still get the enyoyment of their company for a while. I have lived in rural Scotland for the last 10 years and find that fanciable men are thin on the ground here and those that are, are not available. A married friend recently asked me why I stay here and I was quite taken aback. I live in the most beautiful part of the world, am engaged in lots of activities, have formed lots of friends and the family aren’t too far away in England. Having a man (or dog or cat) is not and never will be a priority. I love my freedom and independence and if a man came along that would be nice but I certainly wouldn’t consider moving to meet one.

    • Oh, Scotland! I’ve heard it’s gorgeous and always wanted to visit. My late husband belonged to a scotch tasting club, and we always talked about one day doing a motorcycle/scotch tasting tour in Scotland. 🙂 Sounds like you are quite content. Good for you. That’s all that really matters in my opinion. Thanks for chiming in!

  8. The key thing thing to remember in all of this is that people are idiots.
    Quickly do the idiot checklist – ‘Am I an idiot?’
    Answer: ‘No’.
    Move on.
    Enjoy your dog.
    Get on with your life.

  9. Since my husband died last year, I’ve adopted two dogs and a cat. I love the way they fill the house with activity. My freedom isn’t in jeopardy though. Pets are wonderful. Don’t over think things, but do try to keep looking forward. It helps.

  10. I have never understood people who are so concerned with another persons life! You absolutely should not be concerned that you’re becoming a “dog person”. I think you sound like you’re doing fantastic. You’re interested in bettering yourself, your dog is a companion that brings you joy and you’re not caught up defining yourself based on your relationship status.

    I’m getting married this summer and people are constantly joking that they always thought I would become the Crazy Cat Lady. It’s like they think I can’t be married AND the Crazy Cat Lady. I’ll show them…

    • Haha! That’s awesome. In fairness, their concern is coming from a place of love but I get your point. My mother used to say “If you’re happy, I’m happy.” Words to live by. 🙂
      Thanks for the support and congrats on getting married!

  11. I didn’t take time to read all the comments but I guess I want to know why people are concerned about your next partner. Heal from your loss, gain peace, grow stronger, and life YOUR life. Enjoy your dog and what ever happens, will happen. Oay I just read your last comment and yes, those concerned come from a place of love. Having said that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with not having a partner. Whether by choice or not, whether in a relationship or not, each of us has to find happiness as individuals.
    You are doing just fine … 🙂

  12. Pingback: The Path to Good Citizenship | Riding Bitch

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