Why Dogs Can Make Better Soul Mates Than Men

Posted by Hayley on September 18, 2018


For Victoria Schade, "must loves dogs" is a requirement. Before writing her debut novel, the charming romantic comedy Life on the Leash, she worked as a dog trainer for over seventeen years and was the lead animal ranger on Animal Planet’s beloved Puppy Bowl. Here Schade shares how happily ever afters are the best with dogs.


When I climb into bed at the end of the day, I have three possible cuddling partners.

One of my bedmates is your typical romance novel heartthrob, all good looks and quick wit. Another is a platinum blonde who worships me with an ardor I’ve never experienced before. My final bedmate is the dark and mysterious type who rewards me with affection only when I’ve earned it.


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Before you start to wonder about my lifestyle choices, let me assure you that only one of my cuddle partners is human. Much like Cora, the main character of my novel, Life on the Leash, I kiss my dog on the mouth, and I make room in my bed for my dogs.

Tom, my husband of eighteen years, is used to actively competing with scruffy white Olive and sleek black Millie in order to make contact with me. Of course, I could banish our dogs to the foot of the bed so that I could better love up on Tom, but I’m convinced that sleeping with dogs is cozier, cuter, and generally more rewarding than sleeping with dudes.

First, the sheer creativity of canine cuddles puts human snuggles to shame. A dog can nestle her head in the crook of your neck, and it feels like a cashmere scarf. If your human partner opts for the same position, you’ll likely end up with a hot blast of "bed-breath" every five seconds—and the snoring to go along with it. You can bet that your human co-sleeper would never curl up in the space behind your knees, but your dog can fit there like a puzzle piece. And when it comes to the foot situation, what would you rather have resting against your back, puppy paws or callused, stinky dude feet?

Then there’s the warmth factor to consider. The expression “three dog night” exists for a reason, and even a single dog can generate enough heat to keep the average human cozy. Dogs seem to have a special thermometer that adjusts to their person’s temperature, like a self-regulating electric blanket. In the summer, they downshift the warmth so that they can maintain their position nearby without crock-potting you, and in the winter, hello heat blaster. But that’s not the case with your typical human bedmate. Summer snuggles with a guy mean communal sweat, and winter snuggles are a battle of dueling thermometers: hot torso and cold feet.

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Now, that’s not to say that our dogs are perfect bedmates. Some dogs are bed hogs, and some don’t take kindly to being accidentally awakened in the middle of the night. There’s also the shedding factor to contend with. Sure, spooning against a silky coat feels amazing, but the next day you’re left with the furry evidence on your sheets. And let’s not forget that our dogs spend part of their day laying on the ground, which means that the all of the grime on their fur and paws will also end up in your bed. But Dog fans agree that the ick-factor is a small price to pay when it comes to canine cuddles.

Our dogs’ commitment to quality snuggling is unmatched by most men. Sure, our dudes have some awesome stuff to offer that our dogs can’t give us—muscular arms, slobber-free kisses, and, ahem, “grown-up hugs”—but I contend that a sleepy-time cuddle from a dog is an unbeatable treat.

Usually, Tom manages to snake his hand between Millie and Olive to touch my elbow, and he knows that’s probably the extent of the contact. Most nights, Olive curls up by my left shoulder, Millie stretches out to align her spine with mine, Tom grabs whatever body part he can reach, and all is right in our cozy king-size bed.


Victoria Schade's Life on the Leash is now available. Add it to you Want to Read shelf here.


Comments Showing 1-45 of 45 (45 new)

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message 1: by Linda (new)

Linda Can’t wait to read this. I feel the same about my dog and she describes it perfectly!


message 2: by Kimarmot (new)

Kimarmot You're so right!


message 3: by David (new)

David Meh, I'm a cat person. For a host of reasons, but one is that they're way better for cuddling purposes. Dogs are dense and hard, all bone and gristle and sinew. Cats are like soft, furry leather bags full of warm water.


message 4: by Zuzi (new)

Zuzi Can't wait to read it ! Sounds like a bliss and agree with the previous comment ...mine's not dense and hard either :-D


message 5: by Angrboda (new)

Angrboda I'm with David on this one. You all may have really soft dogs, but can they purr? There's no sound in the world like the purring of a relaxed kitty. <3


message 6: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Men have known forever that the reverse is also true: cats make better soulmates than women.


message 7: by Angela (new)

Angela I discovered the value of canine companions years ago. I work from home and spend most days snuggled up on the sofa with my laptop and two cuddly Shih Tzus. I spend every night with one wrapped around my head and the other burrowed into my abdomen and we all sleep pretty peacefully. My Tzus are soft and squishy like teddy bears and they make the cutest little snorts and grunts in their sleep. They also worship the ground I walk on and its nice to be completely adored, LOL! I love my life and wouldn't have it any other way.


message 8: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Because, well, dogs. They are the greatest forever and all time.


message 9: by Connor_1977 (new)

Connor_1977 OMG BEST BOOk EVER


message 10: by Aenea (new)

Aenea Jones Jeffrey wrote: "Men have known forever that the reverse is also true: cats make better soulmates than women."

Then why have so few men cats?


message 11: by Breslin (new)

Breslin White This post is so embarrassing.


message 12: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Aenea wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Men have known forever that the reverse is also true: cats make better soulmates than women."

Then why have so few men cats?"


Because most of the men get stuck with women instead.


message 13: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Jeffrey wrote: "Aenea wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Men have known forever that the reverse is also true: cats make better soulmates than women."

Then why have so few men cats?"

Because most of the men get stuck with ..."


Let me guess, you're single? If you quote William F. Buckley I'm going to lay my money on yes.


message 14: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Breslin wrote: "This post is so embarrassing."

Pourquoi est-ce si?


message 15: by Aenea (new)

Aenea Jones Jeffrey wrote: "Because most of the men get stuck with women instead."

Oh, right. Probably because women are easier to fuck, yes? No fangs and claws.


message 16: by Aenea (new)

Aenea Jones Maureen wrote: "Let me guess, you're single? If you quote William F. Buckley I'm going to lay my money on yes. "

My guess is alt-right, fundamental Christian. Which means, forever alone.


message 17: by Steelwhisper (new)

Steelwhisper This absolutely nails it. And I currently share my bed with two dogs and two guys. Depending.


message 18: by Jess (new)

Jess David wrote: "Meh, I'm a cat person. For a host of reasons, but one is that they're way better for cuddling purposes. Dogs are dense and hard, all bone and gristle and sinew. Cats are like soft, furry leather ba..."
Thats a beautiful description lol


message 19: by Kiera (new)

Kiera You gotta love dogs.


message 20: by Shalini (new)

Shalini Nemo This is a weird post, but I'm not surprised how defensive cat people are. The dog people don't need to shoot barbs about cats, but cat people always got to come in with a snide comment about dogs. Go pet your leathery water bags and leave us to our slobbery kiss buddies.


message 21: by Missie (new)

Missie What are the dogs laying on the ground? Eggs? Bones?

Or do you mean "lying on the ground"?


message 22: by David (last edited Sep 22, 2018 01:48AM) (new)

David S. wrote: "This is a weird post, but I'm not surprised how defensive cat people are. The dog people don't need to shoot barbs about cats, but cat people always got to come in with a snide comment about dogs. ..."

Actually I find it to be the other way around. Dog people quite often despise cats and think they are worthless as pets and companions and that cat people are crazy masochists for loving an animal that "doesn't love them back and probably actively hates them," which is a very common quip I've heard from dog people who have likely never owned a cat, or owned a cat that they neglected because it didn't give them the instant, completely unearned trust and affection that dogs usually do. A much more messed up thing to say to someone than, "my cat is softer than your dog," which is both harmless fun and, I would've thought, a pretty obvious and indisputable fact to anyone that's held both a cat and a dog at some point in their lives. Cats are basically a liquid masquerading as a solid. It doesn't get much softer than that.

Cat people, on the other hand, in the vast majority of cases, like dogs just fine, they just don't want to own one.


message 23: by Leehla (new)

Leehla It's a no-brainer! Dogs are often loyal, faithful, hard-working, man's/woman's best friend, etc.
A lot of guys are more like a lot of cats; stand-offish (not very warm or friendly unless they want something from you - like it says in Josette Sona's book), they can "take or leave you", etc.
Having said that, at least cats don't bark. Some guys - I'm not so sure - lol.


message 24: by David (last edited Sep 22, 2018 02:41AM) (new)

David Leehla wrote: "It's a no-brainer! Dogs are often loyal, faithful, hard-working, man's/woman's best friend, etc.
A lot of guys are more like a lot of cats; stand-offish (not very warm or friendly unless they want..."


The main problem with cats is that you really have no idea what they're like until you own a few yourself, which prevents a lot of people from even wanting to own one in the first place. I used to hate cats. My family only owned dogs my entire life, so the only time I saw cats was at other people's houses. Friends, extended family, etc. Cats generally don't cozy up to people they haven't seen before or don't see a whole lot, but they are more often than not very affectionate to their owners and not at all standoffish, assuming you don't just ignore them all day every day. They're basically just shy people. They act like they don't want attention, but they do, and eventually you'll break through their shell and they won't try and hide it anymore. One of my two gives me literal around the neck hugs every day and begs to be picked up and held like a baby. He hides under the bed if someone comes over though, unless it's one of six other people that have spent enough time here to earn his trust. If one were being particularly pedantic, they could argue that's more loyal than a dog, who likes everyone and doesn't care where his attention comes from as long as he gets it. But I would never do such a thing =)

Can't argue about the hard-working part, though. The day a cat works for anything is the day pigs fly. Their idea of work is rolling around at your feet and looking cute until you either feed them or trip and fall.


message 25: by Jana (new)

Jana Funny how when a man says the exact same thing as a women, everyone loses their minds...


message 26: by Derpa (new)

Derpa Jana wrote: "Funny how when a man says the exact same thing as a women, everyone loses their minds..."

Right. For some reason it's considered cutesy and cool to act like maladjusted manhaters who can't have a normal human relationship. Now we will be told abusive behaviour is absolutely gendered (men do bad, women innocent passive victims 100% of time) to justify spitting venom at the men.
Dogs are brilliant, I love mine, she is great. That is why I would never use her as a tool to bash my fellow humans as useless compared to her. They are not comparable. She would never cheat on me or betray me, but she can't interact with me as a person of equal intellectual capability.
Not sure why that's something we should deny to make ourselves look less lonely and sad.

(I will be called names by commenters when?)


message 27: by Teri (last edited Sep 22, 2018 03:52AM) (new)

Teri Angela wrote: "I discovered the value of canine companions years ago. I work from home and spend most days snuggled up on the sofa with my laptop and two cuddly Shih Tzus. I spend every night with one wrapped aro..."

Angela, I also have two Shih Tzus. I feel the same way about them. I did have a cat for a while ( my grandcat LOL), while I loved him, I didn't appreciate how he would wake me up in the middle of the night because he was walking up my body to get to the window above my head. My dogs don't do that. :)
While my dogs cuddle because they love to be with me, I mostly felt if the cat was doing it, it was because it suited something for him more than he wanted to be with me. Animals, gotta love them.


message 28: by Erik (new)

Erik Posts like this (and the fist-pumping support they get) bring me closer to deleting my account. If I posted about dogs being better than women, I'd probably be reported for violating the code of conduct.


message 29: by Richard (new)

Richard I own rats and society finches in my house, but as much as I adore the animals I have in my home, it can't replace the love and affection I have towards my wife.


message 30: by Holly (new)

Holly My cats are lovely and I always want to keep a cat around the house. That being said, my hard and gristly little greyhound is an excellent foot warmer and constant companion. He also never lays on my computer or my book when I'm trying to read. I don't find his hairs all over my clothes and he never jumps up on the kitchen counter to steal food.

Then again, if I had my own heated apartment inside the barn, I would be happy to live there with the horses.


message 31: by Jim (new)

Jim if it works for you... one is left to wonder if a male wrote a book putting forward the same sentiments about cats over women, would it be so well received? easy to love an animal as they are 100% reliant on you... harder to love a human, where there is the necessity for compromise and understanding, since they don't need you...


message 32: by Steelwhisper (new)

Steelwhisper I think the sentiment everybody can agree with is "dogs over people", rather than "dogs over guys".

In my case (pansexual, genderqueer) it could be and just as well is the same case with a woman. I'd prefer dogs over her as well. For that matter, I'd also prefer cats over people (I used to own cats, when I had dogs who didn't hunt). I'd even take any of my horses over people.

I've not had an animal lie to me, be disloyal to me, drop me for someone better looking, younger, better socially placed or earning more, ever, and I am into my fourth decade. Also having animals for roughly the same time.

Funny how this gets turned into a gender war, seems to be par for the course in US American discussions lately.


message 33: by christine (new)

christine This went downhill fast XD


message 34: by Aenea (new)

Aenea Jones Derpa wrote: "For some reason it's considered cutesy and cool to act like maladjusted manhaters who can't have a normal human relationship. Now we will be told abusive behaviour is absolutely gendered (men do bad, women innocent passive victims 100% of time) to justify spitting venom at the men. "

It's not cutesy and cool, more like a natural reaction to centuries of patriarchism under which women were oppressed, abused, exploited, tortured and killed.
I'm talking about this as it is the past because I live in a first world country. Of course not every women has it as good as we do.


message 35: by Derpa (new)

Derpa Aenea wrote: "Derpa wrote: "For some reason it's considered cutesy and cool to act like maladjusted manhaters who can't have a normal human relationship. Now we will be told abusive behaviour is absolutely gende..."

I so knew it. So spoilt women from their first world, big city, cushy offices can fake being such heroes by penning empty-headed, petty articles about men who didn't do anything, but they have a penis, which means they are the same as men who did something against OTHER women.
Good to know the drama bimbos from Mean Girls found a goal other than voting about each other's choices of accessories.

On that same note, I am sure people superficially similar to you (your race, your social class, whatever identity, dietary choice, shopping habits, political convictions, etc.) have done something against someone at some point. Can we target you with disparaging articles now? Let me guess, that would be unfair, because magically we are expected to see you as someone with your problems and hardships and all. Because you are a human being, unlike THOSE other people you think should be punished for someone similar to them having done something.

I'm a woman, who is really, really over other women trying to act like such revolutionaries when they are really just behaving like spoilt teenagers. So okay, you rage at random guys in pathetic ways. You solved what? Jackshit, honey. But let me guess again, you feel this is useful, because women a hundred years ago and also women in Africa. They must be so thankful for this noble activism Their life quality just skyrocketed for sure.


message 36: by Aenea (last edited Sep 23, 2018 12:43AM) (new)

Aenea Jones Derpa wrote: "Aenea wrote: "Derpa wrote: "For some reason it's considered cutesy and cool to act like maladjusted manhaters who can't have a normal human relationship. Now we will be told abusive behaviour is ab..."

lol, not sure what triggered you so, but I hope you feel better now that you attacked someone on the internet verbally even though that person (me) was just stating hard facts.

I don't think any of your insults fit me, because I'm neither spoilt, not from a big city, nor do I work in an office xD But you clearly have a lot of aggression towards such people, which makes you exactly the same as the people you criticise.

You shame women who criticise men, yet you talk derogatary about other women. What a double standard.

If you really want to convince people they are wrong, you need to preach against ignorance and for mutual respect and understanding.
Just zealously insulting the other side is no better, so maybe you should stop thinking of yourself as "over other women".


Derpa wrote: "you feel this is useful, because women a hundred years ago and also women in Africa."

If you truly think sexism does not exist anymore and was only a topic a hundred years ago, or only still exists in Africa (which is a continent, not a country, by the way, I was talking about countries. Africa has diverse states with different levels of wealth and poverty), then you are either closing your eyes from it, or you are simply not confronted by male sexism on a daily basis like most handsome women.
I suggest you read about the subject before denying it.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Sexism exists but doesn't mean we have to personally continue it. I choose to respect both genders.

As for the animals, love both dogs and cats, but as one poster said, I don't own a dog at the time because I don't want one. They need more attention than I can give since I'm outside the house most of the day, don't have a yard, and have a small house. My cats are happy here, though, so have a few of the fuzzballs lying around. They do love cuddling when I read and both sleep with me at night. My dogs used to as well in another time. Both are awesome.


message 38: by Aenea (new)

Aenea Jones Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "Sexism exists but doesn't mean we have to personally continue it. I choose to respect both genders.
"


You make it sound like women would have a choice when being confronted with sexism.
When guys are leering at you, or worse, make catcalls, even if they just whisper to each other in that lewd tone when you pass by, you are reduced to your body without being able to do anything against it. Because boys will be boys, right?


message 39: by Steelwhisper (last edited Sep 24, 2018 11:41PM) (new)

Steelwhisper Aenea wrote: "You make it sound like women would have a choice when being confronted with sexism. When guys are leering at you, or worse, make catcalls, even if they just whisper to each other in that lewd tone when you pass by, you are reduced to your body without being able to do anything against it. Because boys will be boys, right?
..."


And women don't objectify men they find attractive for sexual reasons? You really need to go and see an average m/m romance convention. Or an m/f romance convention where cover models participate. Or you might want to read a few of the tortureporn m/m romances featuring very young gay boys (teens written even younger) aimed at middle-aged female readers.

If a few catcalls twist your knickers, your ears and eyes will most likely pop out there regarding the level to which men get sexually objectified by women. Women are not better, nor classier. Given the chance they behave exactly the same way men behave.

And before you harangue me, remember, I am biologically female. I just happen to have insight into both sides, and I am not even slightly in error about the utter slaughterhouse women can cause for other women. Women are no angels, they are at least as -ist as anyone else, and they are not refined, warm or friendly on principle. Quite on the contrary. People in general are human, and fallible.


message 40: by Aenea (new)

Aenea Jones Steelwhisper wrote: "Aenea wrote: "You make it sound like women would have a choice when being confronted with sexism. When guys are leering at you, or worse, make catcalls, even if they just whisper to each other in t..."

I don't think you can compare that. I talk about everday experiences, that every woman of every age can make, just by stepping out on the street.
What you describe is niché behaviour that does not affect men in their daily lives. Men are not reduced to an object by female behaviour, their status in society does not suffer from it.

Besides, sexualizing men and sexualizing women does simply not have the same effects on our society. Women are being raped and killed because we are presented as sexual objects.
When does that ever happen to men, except by other men?
I know there are cased where women can force a man to get an erection, but who would really compare the number of those cases to the number of women raped? It would be ridiculous.


message 41: by Steelwhisper (last edited Sep 25, 2018 01:04AM) (new)

Steelwhisper Oh, I'd love to refer you to a (male) friend who'd tell you a bit about battery, abuse and rape of men.

Of course men are raped, abused and mistreated by women. Physically, but far more so psychologically. Mental/emotional pain - and for inflicting that women are as a rule the experts! - is no less painful and no less harmfull, by the way, than physical pain. As to the numbers of cases, given your narrow field of vision, you'd probably be very astonished, if you learned just how many men get raped one way or another.

By the way, your shortsightedness and naivety just outed itself by assuming that a man can only be raped by a woman while he has an erection. Where the heck did that idea originate from? Men and boys can be raped with a finger, a broom stick, a bottleneck, a dildo, a strap on, a beer can, a salad gherkin, a banana, a butt plug, a pen, a nail and what not else can be stuffed up or into either an urethra or a mouth or an anus. A man can be raped by forcefully exciting him physically and making him have sex with someone or something. He can be frightened, tricked and blackmailed into doing this, which is rape and sexual assault just the same.

As to niche behaviour? Oh no, not so. Check the numbers of female readers getting their rocks off on reading about tortured or raped men, and tell me again this is niche. Every man on Goodreads, by the way, is just as subjected to the sexist result of this, as you are when walking down a street featuring a few catcalling road workers.

As to the numbers of boys/men being raped and killed, anyone who follows the news about abuse and rape cases in the catholic church, or stuff like that couple who sold their male child to anyone willing to pay for it, and the news about the number of cases where male children have been abused by female relatives, doctors or teachers, or even girls in their schools, would know that the estimated number of unknown or undetected cases is much much higher than your assumption of "so few it doesn't matter".

By the way, a single case matters.

But rest assured, you'll soon enough be of an age where you won't have to put up with the sexism you describe as so particularly awful. That's when you become invisible. Until then my very serious advice is to widen your horizon. Patriarchy doesn't just touch women negatively. And I am not just talking sex or sexism.


message 42: by Aenea (new)

Aenea Jones Sorry, but none of your examples fit the ordinary persons' everday lifestyle.

Men are not confronted with sexually hostile behaviour the way women are.

Not saying what you describe cannot happen, but the chance of it to happen is a lot smaller than a woman having to deal with male sexism on the workplace, in stores, in cafes, or just by walking down the street.

Of course I am subjective.
I am aware that the experience a woman makes with male sexism is largely dependable on her level of attractiveness. I also noticed that women who are generally considered handsome are more likely to agree with my point of view, because they made the same experiences. Women who are ignored by men, and don't have sexual behaviour shoved in their face every day, often have no idea what I'm talking about, because they're not confronted with male sexuality and sexism in the same way.

And it is not just "road workers" who are doing it. Men confronting women with their sexual drive come from all classes and cultures. They're white, black, brown, office workers, store clerks, ordinary customers, you name it. There is no difference in their social class or intelligence, so please leave the poor road workers alone. Besides, their behaviour did get better in recent years. There must have been complaints, or they realized they became a cliché. Even you thought of them first when I mentioned leering men.

You can think of me as narrow-minded and naive as you want, I have made my experiences, and I know how men see me, and it has nothing to do with my horizon. How could I not see it, I'm confronted by it on a daily basis. Sometimes their sexism is more inconspicuous, sometimes more obvious, but it's there.

Oh, and I heard about women in their 40s and upward turning invisible in society. Can't wait for it, but I have my mothers' looks, and she's been leered at far into her 50s, so I guess it'll take some time until I can go out and feel like a human instead of sex on legs.

In the meantime, maybe you would like to get off your high horse. We are clearly coming from very different backgrounds and neither of us can speak for the other. You might just want to acknowledge what some women, who appeal to men whether they want to or not, have to go through considering unwanted sexual attention, and how it's bothersome, degrading, and infuriating.


message 43: by Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (last edited Sep 25, 2018 01:03PM) (new)

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Aenea wrote: "Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "When guys are leering at you, or worse, make catcalls, even if they just whisper to each other in that lewd tone when you pass by, you are reduced to your body without being able to do anything against it. Because boys will be boys, right?
"


I choose to give my respect and attention to those who don't do that. Most of the men I run into treat me with respect and are the norm rather than the oddity.

And getting catcalls isn't a normal daily experience around where I live for any women.

I agree with the posters who are saying men get the short end of the stick, as well. They were more silent about it but more is coming to light now. We are supposed to be enlightened and more educated about the plights both genders suffer in their own ways, without waving sticks shouting one has it more or one has it worse. I am compassionate to plights of both genders as much as I am able to be within my scope --- but also a fan of both cats AND dogs ;)


message 44: by Steelwhisper (last edited Sep 25, 2018 01:30PM) (new)

Steelwhisper Aenea wrote: "In the meantime, maybe you would like to get off your high horse. We are clearly coming from very different backgrounds and neither of us can speak for the other...."

Just to know which culture is so abominable: where are you from?

I also can't fail to notice that you yourself read quite some of the fiction I talked about above.

And might it not be possible, that current raunch culture, mainly driven by women these days, and current gendering, also mainly supported by women, is the cause of the sexism you rage against?

Spoiler tags due sex-related content (view spoiler)


message 45: by Jim (last edited Oct 13, 2018 09:20AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic "Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea."
Robert A. Heinlein (Science Fiction Writer): 1907 - 1988


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