We got a new Cairn Terrier to replace the old one. (The new one is dark, which makes him the spitting image of Toto.) My wife was away this weekend, so it was my job to exercise the dog. I did so in the dog-walking area of my hometown.
While there, four different women started conversations with me. They had no interest in me, the cute little Cairn was the draw. But I was still surprised they would just start talking with me. When I'm dog-less, most people seem to view me as a potential Ted Bundy. With one, I'm evidently instantly trustworthy.
As I said in the post linked above, I'm not really a dog lover. I appreciate their many remarkable qualities. They are fierce, great runners, have incredible senses of smell, and are loyal and protective. But I'm not so overflowing with maternal instinct that my affections slop over onto anything furry and vaguely cute.
Women are different. Millions of years of evolution have selected them to feel affectionate toward anything small and cute. And they are completely uninhibited about coming up and ooh-ing and aah-ing over a 20 pound Cairn.
Dogs have long had a reputation as a useful prop for men looking to meet women. I now see why; if I were young and on the prowl, I'd consider getting one.