The Keeper Test

How to tell if a guy is worth his weight in dog chow on the first date

By Leslie Phelan


Okay, it’s date night. I’m meeting someone I’ve been talking to at the gym for sushi, but this is technically our first date — our premiere rendez-vous outside the training room. I invite him to my place for some wine first. He’s cute, fit, and the conversation is good. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice that my pugs have started circling the door. Eeeps! They need to pee. I set my glass down and reach for my boots. “The monkeys need to go out,” I say.

This is the first test: he needs to want to join us on a walk if I’m to going to say yes to date number two. Or at least, he needs to appear to want to – there’s nothing less attractive than a man who balks at a bit of weather, or sees dog-walking as an intolerable chore. A good guy for me is one who bundles up happily and joins us with the attitude that it’s better to suffer together than for me to suffer alone. Better yet is a man who doesn’t think it’s suffering at all, and happily comes out with us because it’s enjoyable.

Once we’re outside, I’m impressed by a guy who’s excited to play ball with my dog. An interest in bonding with my fetch-happy pooch and a healthy disdain for overly clean hands is a clear sign that he is a catch!

Finally, a dog mom is swept off her feet if a new date reaches for the poop bag when it comes time for clean-up duty. How nice! Poop management is the least glamorous side of dog-havin’ in the city, but if he’s willing to help out with an actual chore, then he’s a keeper.