I (somewhat) recently read a piece from Smithsonian Magazine that posed the following question: Are Dogs Now Just Furry Kids? I figured it would be your typical article about how people spend a lot on their dogs, dress them up, and do crazy things like blog about them.
I was wrong.
Instead, it was all science-y and stuff. Researchers have found that the human-dog bond is in some ways very similar to a parent-child bond.
Now, I’m not one who considers myself a mom to my pups (I don’t really know what word I’d use), but I thought I’d do my own non-scientific analysis as to whether dogs are simply furry children. (Being an English major, my “scientific analysis” is really just an imaginary debate I had in my own head. Just roll with it, okay?)
FOR: With both dogs and children, the cleaning of disgusting bodily substances is often required. It’s not a tidy undertaking.
FOR: Some of the bags that parents carry to dispose of diapers look suspiciously like the bags one might use to pick up after a dog. They even come in similar dispensers.
AGAINST: Children eventually grow up and learn to appreciate the value of toilet paper. Picking up dog crap is for life.
FOR: Both dogs and young children sometimes sleep in the bed with their parents.
AGAINST: It’s cool if your fourteen-year-old dog sleeps in your bed every night. It’s somewhat creepy if your fourteen-year-old son does so.
AGAINST: It’s also perfectly acceptable to let your dog sleep on the floor. Some might consider asking your daughter to make do with just a dog bed to be child abuse.
FOR: Paying for obedience or agility classes can feel like paying for preschool.
AGAINST: It’s still not expensive as college!
FOR: Both young children and dogs will try to eat things that they shouldn’t.
AGAINST: In theory, children eventually learn not to eat crayons. I’m pretty sure my dogs will still eat anything they can get their paws on.
FOR: Much like children, some dogs have wardrobes that would rival Cher’s closet from Clueless.
AGAINST: Dogs in clothes don’t have to wear bottoms. They can get away with the Winnie the Pooh/Donald Duck look.
AGAINST: My dogs (with my blessing) spend approximately 99.999999 percent of their time naked. I have to imagine that society might frown if my (currently nonexistent) children did the same, unless we moved to a nudist colony of some sort.
FOR: So much cuteness to love! Both kids and dogs can bring you joy.
AGAINST: One is covered in fur; the other is not.
FOR: Screening dog walkers and pet sitters is a rigorous process not entirely unlike looking for a nanny or evaluating a daycare.
AGAINST: Most people will be far more interested in (and nosy about) your future reproductive plans than your future puppy plans. (I blame everyone’s obsession with that whole biological clock thing.)
Okay, there you have it. On the balance, I’m going to have to rule in favor of the crowd arguing that dogs are not simply furry kids. Dogs are so much more than that (and from what I’ve heard, kids make terrible pets.)
Dogs are dogs. Kids are kids. You can have both and enjoy each one of them for what makes them unique and special.
What do you think? Share your best arguments for and against in the comments!
(That’s right. I don’t just sit around watching old episodes of 90210 and thinking up puns of questionable quality. Sometimes I take breaks from doing those things to read articles about science-type things. I’m a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a blanket that I wish had sleeves.)