Millennials have somehow earned such a bad rap. We’re narcissistic and selfish. We’re entitled and we’re lazy. Except that, as a collective, we’re not any of those things. Prior to the Millennial-hatred bandwagon, the blame game was pitted against Generation X. Prior to that, I’m sure the Silent Generation was ragged on by the Baby Boomers. I suppose we all want someone to blame, other than ourselves, for the way the world is. Regardless, making a living as a millennial is quite a bit harder than it was for our parents. But it’s not just how we earn a living that becomes a point of contention, how we choose to live our lives is also criticized.
Young Americans are less likely to be homeowners, car owners or parents than their predecessors, but they do lead in one category: Pets.
– Abha Bhattarai, Millennials are Picking Pets Over People
Is choosing dogs over children so wrong? Like every question, the answer will depend on who you ask. And if you ask me, it’s so not wrong…yes, it’s right. Here’s why I’ve made this decision:
Too Many People
I don’t wanna go back to India, it’s hot and loud, and there are so many people! You have no idea, they’re everywhere.
– Raj, The Big Bang Theory, Episode: The Pirate Solution
No, I don’t live in India but the sentiment applies. Every time I sit in traffic on my way home from work, I have to remind myself that it’s not exactly healthy to wonder what it would be like if there was another plague. The thought of adding more people escapes me. While there are mandatory spay and neuter policies in parts of the United States, you’ll never see such a thing at your local gynecologist office, despite the need.
No matter how much I spend on my dogs, I couldn’t come close to the nearly $14,000 a year it takes to raise a child. In fact, I feel a little bit less guilty for buying those organic dehydrated sweet potato treats… Does that make me a stereotypical millennial? It might but if you think the quality of my dog’s food somehow makes me a narcissist while pureeing carrots and peas for a baby is selfless, you may have to rethink.
Not unlike parents of small children, I have a budget set for their care. While not everyone likes the term furbabies, I have come to accept that this is what my pets are to me. When my oldest dog Gunther was diagnosed with cancer, I drove him to and from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital, consulted with the surgical staff, and signed the medical forms declaring that yes, I want to have him resuscitated if anything were to happen during his surgery. He’s my fur-baby alright. And he may or may not be sitting on my lap as I write this article.
The year of Gunther’s surgery, we probably came somewhat closer to the $14,000 mark. Even with all of his vet bills, quality kibbles, and lest we forget about our other furbaby’s needs and expenses, we will essentially pay monopoly money during the course of their lives versus the $233,610 for a quarter of a kid’s life.
Spontaneity is more of a perk of owning dogs than a reason for having them, in my opinion. Either way, there’s really no denying that a child will impose more limitations than that of a dog. Colin and I recently watched one of our favorite bands perform in Philly. The concert did not end until well after midnight. Our dogs did what they always do, and what we normally do, at that time of night – sleep. No babysitter necessary.
When we travel, we do arrange for care with relatives or pay for experienced dog owners to host our dogs. Kennels make me sad and I just don’t agree with boarding my dogs. Parents would agree that grandparents are usually always the cheapest and best option. With dog-sitting though, you need not be retired or really adjust your schedule much, if any, which is starkly different from supervising children.
It’s What I Want
Yeah, yeah. I know I’m adding fuel to the Generation Me fire. Then again, this is my list.
– the selfish narcissist that is me
Kidding aside, this really should be a moot point when comparing one’s desire to have children or dogs. Both are selfish. If you disagree, start asking parents why they chose to have children. For that matter, ask pet owners why they chose dogs.
When I held a barely four-pound lump of fur and wrinkles that was an eleven week old Boston Terrier, I looked at my husband with soggy eyes and told him, “I’ll cry if I leave him.”
Turns out I cried when I got him too, but at least they were happy tears. The point is, I wanted that adorable squishy little puppy. I potty-trained him, coaxed him up and down steps with treats, introduced him to neighbors and other dogs, took him camping (he hated it), and even took him to obedience school (it didn’t work). As is often the case with parents, what starts as a selfish desire turns into infinite acts of love. And shouldn’t we all be entitled to that, without being called entitled?
This is why I’m choosing dogs over kids. What are your reasons? Share in the comments section below!