Online dating can be a minefield but one Essex woman has found the perfect wingman to help find her forever man- her pet pooch Fizzy Cola.
It may sound crazy but how many of us joke around saying ‘if my dog doesn’t like you I probably won’t either?’
Well, 28-year-old model and blogger Danielle Zarb-Cousin from Thorpe Bay has put that theory to the ultimate test.
After splitting from her fiancé, Love Island’s Jonny Mitchell, last December Danielle is looking for love again, but this time with a little help from her four-legged friend.
“We were together for two years, it was a whirlwind romance,” she said. “It was quite a big break up and quite a shock.”
After the break-up, which left her “traumatised”, Danielle took some time away from the dating scene and focused on herself.
In April Danielle decided it was time to start dating again and turned to dating app Wingman – where your friends create your profile and play matchmaker for you.
But Danielle now lets her pooch take control of her love-life and if you don’t get the Fizzy Cola seal of approval then it’s a no from Danielle.
She said: “I like Wingman because my friends always said we’d be good at picking out boyfriends for each other.
“My friends’ opinions are so important to me, I thought it was such a cool concept.”
This is Danielle’s first experience using dating apps, but when one of her newly single friends created her profile there was no going back.
She said: “I’ve always been in a relationship, I’ve never really been single so this is all new to me.
“I usually prefer to meet someone the old fashioned way but I was bored in lockdown so I thought I’d give it a go.”
While Danielle is seeking someone; kind, compassionate, down to earth and not materialistic, being an animal lover is top of the list.
‘If I see a dog photo I’m sold’
Danielle adores Fizzy Cola, her one-and-a-half-year-old Brussels Griffon, and when it comes to dating they come as a package.
She said: “It’s important to me that she likes whoever I end up dating next.
“If I’m on a dating app and I’m unsure whether to like someone I always ask if they like dogs.
“If I see a dog photo I’m sold – it changes my mind instantly.
“But, then if I see them holding fish it really puts me off no matter how good looking they are.”
‘Fizzy Cola was staring intently at the guys’ profiles’
Since the nation was plunged into lockdown Danielle hasn’t been able to carry on with her modelling so found herself sat at home with a lot of free time on her hands.
She started writing a blog about finding love and dealing with heartbreak, which she has now turned into a book – The Heartbreak Hotel.
In-between her blogging and writing Danielle and her friend were browsing Wingman in their spare time.
Would you trust your dog to take control of your love-life?
0+ VOTES SO FAR
One day during lockdown Danielle was on the app when Fizzy Cola pushed her way in front of the phone and started tapping the screen.
“It was so funny,” Danielle said. “Fizzy Cola was staring intently at the guy’s profiles as though she was really studying and reading them, then when she started tapping the screen, making the profiles move.”
Confessing that she trusts her dog’s judgement over any of her friends, Danielle said it was a “no-brainer” to let her four-legged friend take over the swiping.
Danielle hasn’t yet introduced Fizzy Cola to any men she has dated despite many of them asking to meet her.
She said: “I don’t want her to get too attached to someone else, she’s very sensitive.”
‘I was instantly drawn to her’
Danielle bought Fizzy Cola as a puppy with her ex Jonny and when they split Danielle got to keep her.
Before they bought her they went to view her and Danielle instantly felt ‘a connection’.
“She was the runt of the litter,” Danielle said. “She was so tiny and has pug-like features- I was instantly drawn to her.
“I actually named her, I think most dogs all have the same name and I had never heard of a dog called Cola- so it just stuck- and now she has loads of nicknames.
“She is such a character, and has the sweetest nature she just wants to play all the time., she is a happy loving dog.
“She wakes me up every morning at 6am to go for a swim at the beach and everytime she brings a new shell all the way home with her.”
Danielle made Fizzy Cola her very own Instagram account which now has over 7,000 followers.
“She’s kind of famous around here,” Danielle said. “The other day we were sat outside a coffee shop and someone walked past and recognised her from Instagram.”
Getting the Fizzy Cola seal of approval
Any guy lucky enough to meet Fizzy Cola will need to look out for two key signs.
Danielle said: “If she likes someone she will want them to pick her up and then she will fall asleep instantly once they pick her up.
“If she doesn’t like someone she will want me to pick her up and won’t want me to put her down.
“If she didn’t like someone, I brought home it would be a huge problem for me.”