Sniffing around for a date

Reality dating shows are everywhere these days – "The Bachelor" on ABC, "Dismissed" on MTV, the syndicated "Blind Date." But would you expect Animal Planet to jump on board? Happily, its new program gets best in show.

"Dog Days," a smart, edgy, and adorable weekly series follows the dogs and their human companions to dog spas, ritzy kennels, and a New York park. Part of the show's appeal comes from the noncanine side of the leash: All of the dog owners are young men and women living the single life.

In the first episode, Jill walks around New York with her mixed breed, Oliver, also known as her "guy magnet." Former model Tatiana experiments with speed dating and says that she'll date only a man who loves her dogs. Meanwhile, Anne and Jill go out on the town with their dogs and sniff out men.

If only every dating show had a Bowser to ease tensions. On MTV's "Dismissed," where two girls fight for one guy, or vice versa, the participants go to desperate measures (like taking their clothes off). And "The Bachelor," a pitiful yet popular program, features 25 women competing for one man on national television. (In case you're wondering, three women remain.)

On "Dog Days," there are no teary faces, evil eyes, or cattiness. Why not have a dog mascot or two at the house where all the bachelorettes are staying?

Instead of having an embarrassing breakdown on television, bachelorettes could instead pat the head of their four-legged friend and say, "Well, Buster, maybe we'll have better luck next time." Anyone would be hard-pressed to cry with a big, floppy-eared dog staring at them.

Dogs can attract dates for their owners, but can they attract enough viewers to replace those awful other dating shows?

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