Keep the dog? Or keep the kid?

A relative was recently lamenting his decision (many, many years ago) to rehome his beloved dog.

His toddler ended up in the hospital on several occasions with severe asthma due to dog allergies. He contacted the dog’s breeder who immediately acted to find a new situation for the dog. (See? This is the reason you should get a purebred dog from a BREEDER, not a pet store or a puppy mill. They are dedicated to the dogs they place.)

He was contacted by several people and found a new home that he felt would be perfect for his dog. He drove 12 hours to deliver his furry friend to a new family that he hoped would love the dog as much as he did. He did everything exactly right, because he loved his dog.

But this post isn’t about that sad period. His comments got me thinking about the relative values of dogs and children and how hard that decision must have been for him. And then I saw this craigslist ad and my humor juices started flowing. (That sounds kind of gross, actually. Pretend I said, “My imagination took off.”) And here is the result; a list of a few considerations for those parents trying to decide between the primate and the canine. And for crying out loud, NO, this isn’t serious. Geez.

Keep the dog? Or keep the kid?

Toilet habits. A puppy is usually house trained by 16 weeks of age or so. Kids? In diapers ($$$) until age 2, 3, 4, 5… And a dog might eat his poop, but he won’t take it out of his diaper and paint the walls with it. On purpose. Ugh.

Money. There is no question that dogs can be expensive. Petfinder has a really nice estimate of the lifetime costs for owning a dog, and their top number is about $9,000. But, in this day of increasing technology in medicine and new treatments, let’s double that and say it’s $18,000. Heck, let’s call it an even $20,000, because it’s still not going to come anywhere near the cost of raising, feeding, and educating a little human, even provided said little human is perfectly healthy. estimates that  it will cost a whopping $243,660 to raise one relatively healthy kid to age 18. One kid! You could raise 10 or 20 dogs on that. Just saying.

baby snot red closeHealth. Speaking of healthy, there’s not much you are going to get from your dog, provided you are vaccinating and deworming properly. Yes, it’s possible to get leptospirosis from your dog’s urine, and (if you are a child and/or have really bad hygiene) to get certain intestinal parasites. Dogs can bring fleas into your home. But for the love of Auntie Flo’s false teeth have you ever lived with a kid? They are walking buckets of contagion, especially if they go to daycare. Incessant colds, snot, sneezing without tissues, coughing without mouth covering, dripping, oozing… gack.

And you, as a parent, haven’t slept 6 hours at a time in several years and are spread so thin between work and child that your immune system is about as impervious as cheesecloth. You’ll be healthier with a dog, have fewer sick days at work, be more productive, make more money, and (as we’ve seen) be able to retire in comfort at age 55, just like the commercials tell you.

Blood pressure. Studies show that people’s blood pressure drops when they pet dogs or cats. No study has shown the same effect from petting children. I think this is ample proof that pets prevent heart attacks, right?

Cuteness. 98% of puppies are adorable. 98% of babies are adorable. Tie.

Mobility. You can go away for an “adult weekend” and have someone come in three or four times a day to check on the dog. Try that with a kid and you’ll be arrested. And on the same theme, you can lock the bedroom door and the dog’s not gonna knock.

Communication. Kids probably win this one, but maybe it’s a mixed blessing. Once they start to talk, there’s no shutting them up! Mind you, the same can be said of some yappy little dogs, so maybe kids win in this category. At least they can tell you WHY they’re whining at 2 am.

So… keep the kid, or the dog?


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