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The Saturday Tirade: Kids vs Dogs

I have in the 5 odd years that I’ve had dogs been repeated told that kids and dogs are not the same, that I shouldn’t compare someone’s kids to my dogs, that dogs are not a replacement for kids, and the like.

Then the other day on an NPR Podcast of TED I heard these lines…
“Children today are economically useless and emotionally priceless”

It made me sit up, it couldn’t have been put across more succinctly. A couple of decades ago couples had children and large numbers of them because it made economic sense. Children worked (the concept of child labour didn’t exist) and paid for not only their keep but also supported the family and added to the kitty. When the parents got old, these same children continued to make economic sense by supporting and taking care of them.

Fast forward a few decades to today; we don’t have numerous numbers of children today (or most people don’t). One reason you’d say is the population explosion but the other is that children don’t make economic sense any more. Having kids is an expensive business, the cost of delivery, play-school, school, college, etc. makes most couples think twice about the number of children they want to have. A lot of them settle for just having one.

Children don’t work anymore, they don’t earn their keep. Instead parents spend tons of money on them in various ways like education, fashionable clothing, latest gadgets, etc. All of that money would still be fine, if it guaranteed ROI. But today most parents are planning for their retirement, they don’t know if their children will take care of them when the time comes.

All parents and couples know this and yet they have a child or children. They spend substantial amounts of their time and money caring for the child. They don’t do all of this for economic gain but rather for emotional satisfaction in various ways, whether it be the forwarding of their genes or meeting societal requirements.

So where am I going with this, why did I say all this, how does it tie in my starting lines; these are questions you might have after reading this but bear with me a while long as I talk now about my dogs.

I live on the out perimeter of the city, which means that I get to live in a larger independent house with a largish garden but I definitely don’t live on a farm. My dogs (and I have 6) don’t have to work for their food, they alert me to the one off snake or every passer-by but they don’t have any really economic purpose in my life.

I spend a fair bit of time and money on the upbringing and welfare of my dogs, definitely less than schooling fees 😀 but still a large enough amount to make people sit up. I would give up almost anything, make just about any compromise when it comes to them.

Yet in all of this I know that my dogs are a bad investment plan. They are most likely to not outlive me; when they pass on they will unhinge me emotionally and will make my pockets a lot lighter before they are gone. And yet I have not one but six. Of course you may think I’m nuts but I think they make me a better person; my dogs make me complete.

Now if you look at what I said earlier…
“Children today are economically useless and emotionally priceless”
Replace ‘children’ with ‘dogs’ and tell me are my dogs any different from your kids? ;P

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