So at the age of 24 I’m starting to experience my friends getting married, having children, and their lives changing because of their new relationship status’ and growing families. While at a wedding this weekend people noticed I was slightly sad and I was asked, “What’s wrong?” To this my reply was, “My dog has been home alone all day, I miss him, and I feel bad for him.” The responses I was getting kind of bothered me:
“Why, he’s just a dog?”
“He’s probably just sleeping.”
“Why, it’s not like he’s your baby.”
Call me crazy, overly attached, or just plain weird, but my dog is more than a dog to me. Maybe I am slightly nuts, maybe the tools in this shed aren’t very sharp, but I sort of expect other people to love their pets as much as I do. What is the difference between owning a dog and sharing your life with your dog? According to dictionary.com to “own” means: “to acknowledge as one’s own; recognize as having full claim, authority, power, dominion..” and to “share”means: “to use, participate in, enjoy, receive, etc…” Is the difference between these two as profound as I sit here believing? Yes, I physically have ownership of my dog on paper, he listens to me, he sees me as a authoritative figure, and yes we enjoy each others company and give and receive love and joy from each other. However, how is this any different from a human baby and his or her’s parents? Parents are an authoritative figure, parents legally own their child on paper (birth certificate), they give and receive love and joy from one another, and they enjoy each other (most of the time). Dogs chew furniture and kids draw on the walls and spill on the carpet. Dogs lick their bowls and so did I when there was cookie dough batter involved!
So what’s the difference between a dog and a child? Well according to petplace.com, owning a dog will run you (on average) $5800-$12,700 for the lifetime of that pet. Ninemsn.com, reports that raising a child can cost you up to $600,000. A dog must be trained and educated in order to succeed, which is no different than a child. Dogs can feel and give affection, as do children. Both eat, sleep, bathe, annoy, and challenge. So what is the difference? Well so far I’ve come up with this: Dogs have 78 chromosomes and humans have 46. So you know what, yes there is a difference between my furbaby and your “baldbaby” and thank goodness for that difference! I don’t know if I’ll ever rear a child, but I don’t feel like I should be punished or scrutinized for caring for the well being of my pet. I’m glad I can get 8+ hours of sleep every night and not wake up to a screaming baby, or have throw up stains all over my clothes. I like that my dog doesn’t require the use of a diaper bag, or special bottles to reduce colic! I like that I can almost take my dog anywhere without having to worry about him having a meltdown over not getting something at the mall (unless its Tim Horton’s).
So the next time someone says to me, “Why, he’s just a dog” I’ll reply “You’re right, he’s a human with 32 extra chromosomes that make him more loveable!”