Get a Dog
I’m not talking about using the dog as a companion, although studies do indicate that pets are natural healers of depression. I just mean that dogs are people magnets–and usually nice-people magnets. A (male) friend of mine wanted to borrow our Lab-Chows when they were puppies because he noticed that when a cute fluffy creature was on one end of the leash, women swarmed around him, kneeling down to pet him (the dog). In Annapolis we have dog cults. If you walk your mutt in certain neighborhoods, you will meet approximately five to ten friends per mile. Double that if you’re walking a Golden Retriever. Triple it if you head to the “dog park,” designed specifically for doggy play, or proper socialization for dogs. (These owners might be wrapped a little too tight in my humble opinion–the kind of parents who buy mechanically-elaborate, safety-insured high chairs for their kids, replete with helmets in case of a drop.) Dog people talk dog language. Horse people talk horse language. And here’s another benefit: if you become psychotic, people will automatically assume you are talking to your dog. Bonus!