Dear Luv Doc,
I met a man at a friend’s barbecue a few months back, and we really hit it off. A few days later he asked me on a date, and we had a great time. After our third date, he invited me to his house, where his huge, slobbery Great Dane greeted me at the door by wiping drool all over my new skirt. The whole time I was there, he would not leave me alone. I came home covered in dog spit. He has asked me over to his apartment several times since then, and I have either made up an excuse or suggested we go elsewhere. I love dogs, but his is just disgusting and totally kills the mood for me. I think he knows that something’s up. What should I do? He loves that dog, and I don’t want him to feel bad or to think I hate his dog, but I kind of do.
—Drool Magnet

Well, DM, it appears you have found a man who is already in a relationship. The happy news is that his significant other is a real dog! She (dare I say he?) also probably weighs more than you and isn’t toilet-trained, so you’re already ahead of the game. I have never personally slept with a Great Dane, but I bet they are lousy in bed, so you should feel confident there too. Plus, I doubt even a super-expensive pillow-top mattress would save you from a 150-pound Great Dane dreaming about having his tummy scratched. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night getting your face light-bagged by a huge dog paw in reflexive kick mode. That has to be a tough one to explain the next morning at the office.

That said, dogs are really great. They’re generally sweet, loyal, loving, and down for just about anything except fireworks and thunderstorms. Most humans could do really well in life emulating the traits of dogs, although it probably would be a good idea to back off on the gratuitous leg humping … and butt sniffing … and rolling around on dead things. Those would probably land you in a mental hospital in short order. I know if I ever see some dude flopping around in a rotting, road-killed squirrel carcass, I am going to give him a wide berth.

As great as dogs are at making us feel important and loved, the thing they’re absolutely best at is providing us with excuses. They are adorable, furry little excuse factories. Bored out of your mind at a party? You have to go home and feed the dog. Late for a lunch meeting? Your dog got into the trash. Somebody farted? Dog did it. Missed a deadline at work? Your dog ate a Hershey’s bar, and you had to take it to the vet. No one is going to fire you for loving your dog. Amazing, right? It’s almost as if you’ll never have to take personal responsibility for anything ever again. A dog excuse is the functional mic drop of the excuse world—only exceeded in sanctity by the child excuse—and really, at least as far as excuses go, children are way too much trouble, if only for the fact that you can’t leave them in the kitchen for six hours with a bowl of water and a chew toy.

Your boyfriend’s dog has provided you with an excuse, and it’s not even your dog. How awesome is that? You have an excuse to avoid a difficult conversation at an early stage of your relationship. You have an excuse to not confront your fears of being alone and never finding a compatible partner, and you have a decent excuse to write the Luv Doc, so in my book, that Great Dane can do no wrong. Then again, he isn’t drooling on my skirts.

But seriously, I would be shocked if your new boyfriend isn’t already keenly aware of his dog’s downside. All you need to do is have an open and honest discussion with him about what you are willing to tolerate from his canine companion. It’s always best to confront ugliness early on before it becomes an unavoidable monstrosity. Say something now before you end up sharing a bed with a drooling, twitch-kicking Great Dane.