How Choosing a Pet Really Is About True Love

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There's nothing quite like meeting the love of your life for the first time: the big, soulful eyes, the excitement when you greet each other, the moment when they sit on your foot and offer up a belly, tail thwapping. Whether your pup comes from a rescue or a pedigree, it's likely you think the world of your furry best friend. How you chose each other might also be a good practice run for true love of the human variety.

Psychologists at Indiana University have just released a study about the process of choosing a pet and how it informs our quest for a partner. We may think we know what we want in both — breed, height requirement, housetrained, education levels — but we don't always end up with who we say we desire most. Dating, as in pet-picking, often involves detailed lists of deal-breakers. It turns out that we can make a great decision simply by focusing on a small set of important-to-us qualities.

"Although most participants in the dog adoption study listed many traits they preferred — with 'friendliness' as the most popular — they ultimately selected dogs most consistent with just a few preferences, like age and playfulness," according to a press release; "suggesting that others, like color or purebred status, exerted less influence on decision-making."

In other words, it's as important to be open to new options as it is to know what you really want. Once you see those qualities in person, you'll know which ones matter to you the most.