You treat your dog like family, because he is your family. You feed him, train him, keep him safe, clean up after him, provide shelter, and do your best to help him thrive with tons of affection and fun. No one denies that taking care of a dog is actually a huge responsibility, but is it enough to prepare you to care for a human baby?
Writing for Quora, Jonathan Brill is a parent to three kids, two dogs and two fish—so you could say he has a handle on caring for both fur babies and human babies. He says it’s fair to draw the comparison that caring for a pooch can prepare you for caring for an infant in certain contexts only. For example, if a person without a steady income and a small living space gets a dog as a Christmas gift, Brill writes it’s fair to tell him he’s nuts—if he wouldn’t choose to have a kid in that situation, he shouldn’t have a dog. “But for people who have dogs and think they prepare them for kids,” he writes, “I think this comparison is not accurate.”
Similarities And Differences
Dogs and babies are both living, breathing organisms that require space, attention, and money to care for. Think about it: Dogs and babies both need food (in some cases special food), they both need medical care, and neither is fully able to care for themselves without your help. But that’s about where the similarities end. Brill writes that yes, having dogs teaches you a bit about responsibility and keeping a schedule, but he notes, “the amount of attention and focus I gave to my dogs is at least an order of magnitude less than what I found myself providing for my first child.”
For one thing, dogs can be left at home while you work, or go out for a few hours. While they absolutely appreciate love and attention, they are also able to play by themselves. They do not need your direct attention at every moment. Having a human baby, on the other hand, will alter every aspect of your life: your relationship with work, what you do with your free time, when you eat, when you sleep, everything.
Brill sums it up, writing, “Nothing can really prepare you for having kids. It would be inconceivable to me that someone could do it without 50 percent of his life being fundamentally disrupted, and that’s just not true of getting a dog.”
We think that your dog, especially if you got him or her as a young puppy, certainly taught you lessons about patience, and gave you a small taste of what it feels like to love a creature that relies on you for most of its care. But, though your pooch is family, he or she will never be a human, and a baby is a much more complex creature than your dog. So, what do you think? Does having a dog prepare you to care for a baby? Sound off in the comments.
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