it’s always like this

December 16, 2009

dog vs. baby

Filed under: maybe it's me, wonder years — notsojenny @ 12:21 pm

that title sounds like it should be an awesome youtube video or maybe a Fox half hour show.

but that’s not what it’s about.  i’m referring to the age old argument of dogs vs babies.  what, you didn’t know this was an issue?  well i think it is.

i get that there are people out there who never have kids, they never want to or they just can’t, and that they supplement this space in their life with pets.  usually it’s cats if the people are single and dogs if they are married.  i’m all for people having their dogs as their babies if they don’t actually have kids or if their kids are all grown up.  i think it’s great.  i had a phase in my life where i didn’t want kids and i only wanted dogs, imagine how fun that would be!

what i do have an issue with is the people who recommend getting a dog to “prepare you” for having kids.  um, what?  that could be the dumbest thing i’ve ever heard.  yes, i totally see the parallels.  raising a good dog takes almost as much work as a good kid.  but nothing drives me more insane than when people get married and rush out to get a dog because they don’t want a kid yet.  i’m sorry but i just don’t think it’s fair… to the dog!  because these people who are planning to have kids all along end up getting a puppy  and once it’s not a cute lil’ puppy anymore they are now ready for a baby.  and suddenly that dog is on the back burner. 

i’m not saying that anyone mistreats or neglects their dogs once they have a kid but they definitely change their life.  i’ve seen it happen a few times and it drives me mad.  imagine you’re the dog.  you go to live with these wonderful people who dote on you and love you and do nothing but adore you and gush attention on you every minute they’re home.  and this is your life.  for 2-4 years.  and then one day there’s another person, a teeny tiny little person, and now all the attention that used to be for you is for them.  and you’re lucky if you go out 2x a day, if you get dinner on time, if you get to snuggle up to anyone.  that’s tough.  for anyone, even for dogs.  it’s not fair to use them as a guinea pig to test your ability as parents and then brush them aside when you finally become a parent.

don’t get me wrong, i totally understand why people recommend getting a puppy to recently married couples before having a kid.  if you’ve never raised either before it’s such a lesson in discipline.  face it, raising a puppy is VERY similar to a baby and then you have this perpetual 2 yr old until the dog dies.  it takes alot of work.  as a couple it’s actually a great way to see what it’ll be like when you have a kid, is one person gonna get stuck doing everything?  is one person the disciplinarian and the other is just treats-treats-treats?  it really does help you sort those things out before you throw a baby into the mix and it causes some arguments in the marriage.  but even beyond the unfairness to the “test animal” mentioned above i also don’t think it’s a good idea for couples in general. 

don’t most people get married and then put off a baby because they want to enjoy their relationship a little longer before changing their lives forever?  for the sake of this argument let’s say “yes”.  and in this case it makes ZERO sense to get a dog.  because even though it’s not a human being and theoretically you could give it away someday if you find out you can’t handle it, it still saddles you.  as much as a child would.  wanna go out to a sporting event for the day?  gotta find someone to walk the dog so it doesn’t pee on your floor.  wanna go to visit friends in a neighboring city and drink it up?  gotta get home by 9 to feed the dog before it eats your couch.  and so on.  you get the point. 

there are just as many responsibilities in raising a dog as there are in a kid (if you’re doing it right) so i don’t agree that it’s a good idea for newlyweds or people who aren’t ready for a kid yet.  i’m not just saying this because i’m a newlywed with a dog, it’s just made me really think about it even more.  my dog is fine, he’s been my dog for 12 years even though he’s lived with my mom for 7.  i trained him when i was much younger and had nothing else going on.  i had time to dedicate to him.  it was great.  i actually wish i’d had him when i was single in my 20’s.  that was when i would have had the most time for him and he would have been able to provide me with the most back.  i had some lonely days years and would have been much better off emotionally if i had something to focus on, something to love every day. 

anyway, my point here stems from realizations in my current life, it’s not a commentary on my current situation.  i love my husband.  i love my dog.  yes, it’s a pain in the ass to find someone to come by to feed and walk him when we go to B’burg for the day but it’s not as big of a deal for us.  we’re not ready for kids no matter how much we want them.  but we will be in a few years, and let’s face it my dog only has a few years left so it’s actually a really good thing to have around to keep helping me push the whole baby thing further back.  because my ovaries want them NOW NOW NOW.  but my brain and body are SO not ready.

my point is, if you’re just married and ARE going to have kids in a few years maybe you can borrow a dog for this?  or participate in the assistance dog programs where you raise a dog for a few years and then it goes off to be someone’s seeing eye dog, etc.  just please don’t get a puppy only to push it aside for a baby some day.  plus, i recommend being carefree and not tied down before having kids anyway because you NEVER get that back!



~ today i learned… the concept of kissing under the mistletoe stems from the Scandinavian association with mistletoe and their goddess of love, Frigga ~


1 Comment »

  1. Okay, I’m getting right on youtube now to see if I can find dog vs. baby as a video because it would be awesome to watch haha! Boo and I can’t wait to get a dog but live in an apartment where we can’t. So we’re multi-tasking–getting in our “hey, look, it’s just us and no other people to worry about!” phase done while we look for a doggy friendly place to live! But I can guarantee we will be in puppy love for loooong after our puppy is not actually a puppy anymore! Babies or no babies (though babies will be years away!)

    Comment by stealthnerd — December 16, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

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