Wednesday, June 5, 2013

As It Stands blog: It’s a weird world where dogs date online

          By Dave Stancliff
The world gets weirder every day.

Have you noticed? With the help of the world wide web weirdness gets a boost like never before in history. More weird people get their 15 minutes of fame, thanks to the internet.
Extreme” is a key word that will take you down countless paths in cyberspace. Everything is extreme now, or it isn’t worth bothering with. There’s extreme snorkeling, sky diving, bowling, beauty contests, game shows, hamburgers, mixed drinks, t-shirts, bathing suits, hair styles, vacations, and so on.
There’s so much extreme weirdness going on that I have to narrow it down to one category due to space constraints.  It has to do with animals. And the people who love them. And the things pet owners do that make you doubt their sanity.

What we have is a tale (pun intended) of two coasts with pet owners who think providing weird services for their pets is perfectly sane. Both New York City and San Francisco have online startups that seek to fill the needs of  beloved and pampered pets.
I wouldn’t kid you about this. There's Matchpuppy (, “for east coast pet owners that offers a brand new way for owner and dogs to meet new friends in the neighborhood," according to the site's homepage.
Swinging back to the West Coast, we find Spotwag (, "your alternative to a kennel or pet hotel," the homepage reads. "We transform your social network into a support network." Don’t have a pet? No problem. They’ll rent one to you.
Like Dogster, and others before them, both Matchpuppy and Spotwag capitalize on the fact that American pet owners will spend as much on their pets as on their children. In some cases even more.

The website that strikes my funny bone most is Matchpuppy, where the dogs get paired off according to size, age and energy level. The chance for some humor barks at me with this wonderful opportunity.
First off, speaking for my single female pugs Millie and Molly, they’d never subject themselves to a meat market like common mongrels, to get a date. No way. Millie and Molly do have their standards. I suspect there are many others like them. Meeting nose to nose is fine, but the cautious canine shouldn’t trust a stranger online.
There are always those “bad dogs” who like to have a good time rubbing up against legs, tables, and anything that doesn’t move away from their arduous attempts at satisfaction. They’d like some action.
One more thing, what about the owners? What are they supposed to do if their dogs hit it off instantly (as they often do) and the owners don’t?

Will the owners have a little waiting room with a TV if conversation gets too awkward? What kind of magazines would we find there? Doggie porn directories for owners? Nothing is too good for Fido nowadays. Or too weird. 
Yes, I’m a pet owner, and I love my pugs, but even I have limits, or shall we say, moments of clarity when I realize enough is enough. I don’t have any problem with pet owners who dress their dogs up in ridiculous outfits, but my pugs would leave home if I tried to dress them in tutus!
How weird. Online matchmaking for dogs. I haven’t seen one for cats yet, or for giant Anacondas either, for that matter. It doesn’t mean there won’t be some down the line. I suspect it’s just a matter of time. I see all kinds of possibilities for extreme spin offs. Dogs dating online will open up the floodgates for the rest of the world’s species. At this point I’ll let you use your imagination. I wouldn’t want to narrow down the possibilities.

You know what’ll happen if these new doggie dating websites really become popular? Reality TV. Can’t you see it? One show could be like the old “Dating Game,” where three eligible bachelor pooches wait behind a screen, and answer questions by the single female (not B***H because it has to be politically correct). Even weirdness has its limits.
Or, setting romance aside, we could see a take-off from the Survivor series where a half dozen dogs are put on an island without their owners to take care of their every whim. Food and drink would be available, but they’d have to do stuff for it, like rollover or fetch something.
As It Stands, the latest trend for fashionable canines is tattoos, and I’m not going there!

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