Eight reasons why a dog is the broken-hearted woman’s best friend

Any readers who also follow me on twitter will have guessed by now that I am also quite fond of the history of animals, and most especially that of dogs. They have been our loyal and loving companions for thousands of years, and in eighteenth-century art are frequently to be found playing a small (and so often neglected) role in human love affairs. Whether there to protect your honour from the intentions of a dishonest rake or to distract you from a romance gone awry, never mind men – whatever stage of life she may find herself in, a dog is clearly Woman’s Best Friend. As proof, here is a selection of faithful canines to remind you that whatever happens to your heart, all is not lost… A dog will:

1. Attempt to protect your virtue from the advances of good-for-nothing scoundrels (even if it’s a hopeless case)

hogarth‘Before’, William Hogarth, 1730-1


2. Help you to attract more appropriate suitors by making you look even more ravishingly happy & beautiful than usual


Emma Hart, by George Romney


3. Console with you when the promisingly handsome, rich young beau who has been making eyes at you for weeks leaves the neighbourhood


‘Maria’, 1787


4. Be happy to make personal sacrifices (i.e. any semblance of dignity) in the name of distracting you from your romantic woes


‘A Dog of the Havannah Breed’, Jean Jacques Bachelier, 1768


 5. Not say ‘I told you so’ as you end up trashing your room while in lamentation for the loss of your virginity

The Broken Mirror, c.1762-63 (oil on canvas)‘The Broken Mirror’, Jean Baptiste Greuze, c. 1762


6. Offer emotional support when it turns out that your husband wasn’t away on a business trip after all, & has tripped back from America with a younger, prettier wife. Even if you do end up raving like a ‘maniac’


‘The Fair Maniac’, 1797


7. Be a friendly companion when you are plunged back into the single life

Albina 1791 AN01033599_001_l‘Albina’, 1761


8. And if all else fails, take your mind your mind off your heartbreak by getting under your feet as only a dog knows how


‘The Dog’, 1784


Because let’s face it, a happy relationship with a dog isn’t going to end in tears when it gets cold feet about commitment and runs off with the labradoodle next door.

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