I hear people say it all the time when the subject of children comes up: “Oh, I totally get it. Our dog is just like a kid… It’s so much responsibility, you know?”
Actually, no I don’t know. Your dog is nothing like a kid.
First of all, I completely understand why some people decide not to have kids. It’s incredibly hard to make it work with our already complicated lives. Not to mention that watching parenting in action doesn’t really sell its benefits.
Parents get covered in poop, can never really hang out, are constantly worried about their kids doing something dangerous, and it’s hard for them to talk about anything else but their little bundle of joy – which must be so annoying to non-parents.
Also, I know there are many who would love to have kids, but haven’t for some reason (or can’t) and they turn to their pets to fill a very special place in their hearts. I empathize and understand how your dog can feel like they’re your kids.
That said, I’ve owned a few dogs and I know there’s some responsibility and certainly a ton of love there, but it’s time to wake up and realize that canine ownership in no way compares to the onslaught of responsibility that comes with raising a child.
1 | You can’t lock a kid in a crate for eight hours.
Want to be featured on the next episode of “Dateline?” Try putting an actual child in a crate for a day with a bowl of water and some kibble while you head off to work. With an actual real child, you have to find someone very responsible and expensive to take care of them for you while you’re out making the bacon.
2 | Anyone can teach their dog to poop on some newspaper.
Potty training with an actual human is approximately one billion times harder than teaching your schnauzer to crap on the New York Times. You’ll spend thousands of dollars on diapers, invest heavily in aloe-laden wipes, and there’s no way you’ll get through it without getting an inordinate amount of feces on your hands. Try rubbing a kid’s nose in some poop and you can say goodbye to parenthood and hello to child protective services.
3 | Pouring kibble in a bowl is not the same as feeding a human.
Owning a dog requires you to make sure it’s fed. For most, this means scooping some kibble from a large container into a smaller (often dirty) bowl, maybe twice a day. I know this can be stressful when you’re rushing to make your dinner reservation.
Having a human child requires you to make sure what you’re putting in them is nourishing, wholesome, and tasty. Not only that, but the amount of time that goes into prepping a simple bowl of mac and cheese while answering endless questions and trying to keep them from swallowing a spoon requires real effort.
4 | Teaching a kid to be a good person is more important than teaching Fido to sit.
Teaching your dog to sit, stay, roll over, and do tricks isn’t easy. It requires patience, persistence, and – in many cases – food for bribery. The difference is that if your dog can’t do tricks, it’s probably not going to impact his life at all. If your kid is a dick who lacks manner and treats people poorly, they might end up in prison or worse. The stakes are a million times higher when it comes to training your little human.
5 | Kids last a lifetime. Dogs…not so much.
Caring for your bundle of joy will last your entire lifetime. Sure, they’ll get older, move out of the house, and they might even continue to pump you for money, but you can’t just decide one day that they don’t fit your lifestyle anymore and drop them at the shelter. Thank God for the work being done at the Humane Society.
When you’re a parent, you’re in it for the long haul and you’re invested. Having a child brings out a love from deep inside you that you have never experienced before. Ever. It is the deepest love that can ever be felt. I’ve put dogs down in the past for medical reasons or due to old age, and I know it’s really tough, but it cannot compare in any way to losing a child which would be by far and away the hardest thing any human could possibly endure.
I get it. You love your dog. I loved my dogs, too, and at times they can feel like your children. But it’s just not the same thing, so please stop referring to them as your kids and stick to calling them what they are: Pets.