Date night with a dog

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I recently went back to internet dating. In a flurry of winks and messages, I got to the stage where I was agreeing to meet one of the men who lived locally and therefore wouldn’t require much effort to get to. We decided on the Pint Shop in Cambridge, where you can get “real ales in a bar with a parquet floor and industrial-chic décor”. He’d been before and I’d been wanting to try it.

Having spent many years internet dating, I expected the date would get cancelled, by me or him, and so didn’t make arrangements for Betty that evening. As time came to get ready, I wasn’t feeling it, so I sent my date a message, saying I wouldn’t be able to make it. I put on my dog walking clothes instead, but for some reason, I walked towards the Pint Shop and then sent him a message to say that I was at the meeting point after all.

Rather than write me off as completely mental, he said he could get to me in 5 minutes, so Betty and I held tight outside the Pint Shop. During the time we waited, two couples paid their respects to Betty and wanted to know what breed she was; a man asked to take a picture of her to send to his wife and a small child asked to stroke her. This is the norm. When people are not stopping to make actual conversation, they are cooing and blowing kisses at her from several meters away. I’m used to it and only slightly jealous that my dog gets more attention than me.

My date arrived and I bumbled an apology for bringing Betty. Thankfully, he didn’t seem to hold it against me, or was too nervous to process what was happening. We smuggled Betty into the warm and sat away from the bar. He went to the bar whilst I waited to be turned out onto the street. As it’s the business owner who gets to decide whether dogs are allowed or not, there’s a bit of flexibility to play with. Betty is so small and cute that she usually gets to stay. In some places we go to, Betty gets a warmer welcome than I do. These places have become our staples.

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The date went well. He was good fun and he was really sweet with Betty. He didn’t mind that she’d gate-crashed our date and that we kept getting interrupted by people asking questions and wanting to fuss over her. He looked after her when I went to the bathroom and she was relishing the attention she was getting from him when I returned to the table. After too many glasses of wine, we walked across town to the Kingston Arms and ordered food. I shared my fish pie with Betty, and when he got stumped by his mountain of chips, she had some of those too.

(Photos by freeimages.com/Sonja Mildner & freeimages.com/Ekaterina Boym-Medler)

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