Yes, Moscow Wolf, I think dogs can make a difference, though in my case I have one that is not on a chain, though I do have systems of gates and yards to keep her apart from people who find this scary, or don't want to be greeted by a friendly dog with muddy paws. Or simply are appalled by someone having a 'dirty dog' in her house! I could tell a very funny story here, but I won't!
I'd assumed not being part of a couple made things harder for me, since people wanted to 'take me over', add me to their family, in a way, and as my status is lower than the youngest daughter-in-law, the endless 'put-downs' and unacceptable demands got me down. 'No' is not an option, apparently.
However from what's been posted it's not only single people who get targeted by control freaks, and I remember another thread long ago where a married woman seemed to be struggling as I did, and she had better Bulgarian. Even my main contribution to village life was stymied by a villager.
Until the end of 2008 I was going to celebrations and village events, but the impossibility of pleasing everyone in a very diverse community and growing criticism on all fronts, plus some really nasty incidents both here and in other people's houses, and I chose to avoid any more 'na gosti'. It was just too much stress, endlessly walking on eggshells and coming home in low spirits. So I say hello to everyone cheerily, and leave it at that. I'm content, and, I'm never alone, that is a faith relationship, but it would have been nice to have friendly relationships as in the past in UK villages, and be involved in things. Early days! After all, if your grandmother didn't go to school with your neighbour's grandmother, who are you?