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Canines vs Kids

Human puppies visited our home last week. Standing now, in the rubble - shaken, and shell-shocked - I reflect on the advantages of a "furry family".

Doggie "terrible twos" don't last for 16 years.

You will live to see them be productive adults.

Dogs never repeat embarrassing details of your life.

They may drag some out into the yard...but they won't say a word.

Dogs do not (generally speaking) tie up the phone. (Of course, they may become tangled in the cord and tumble down the stairs yanking the receiver from your hand just as you are about to tell that prospective employer why you are just the person for the job…)

Dogs are happy with whatever you get them for Christmas - no bothersome lists.

They are often happy with what others receive as well…

Dogs have short memories. They are already forgiving you as you are yelling at them.

Human children have memories slightly longer than the radioactive half-life of plutonium.

Dogs do not outgrow their clothing. Dogs don't care what their dogfriends are wearing this year.

Year after year, that rumpled doggie sweater can be yanked out of storage to annoy them.

This is why the doggie fashion industry is rather limited.

Dogs don't bring their friends home, have slumber parties, or date. (Again, we're talking generalities)

You will never stay up all night baking cupcakes for their classmates or spend weekends entertaining their scout troop.

Dogs seldom drive your car.

True, the occasional slip of the paw allows a dog a "driving experience" for a harrowing moment or two.

Ultimately, your car keys are much more interesting to a dog than the vehicle itself.

Dogs never choose music or lifestyles you find objectionable.

They seldom fall in with bad company or experiment with drugs.

They cannot name even one Heavy Metal band. If you give them a radio, they just lick the knobs - quietly.

Dogs are cleaner. Sure, they lick their butts, but they lick their butts directly.

Kids end up doing much worse than that in a round-about fashion!

Watch a five year old's hands for an hour - you'll be too nauseated to reach for the disinfectant.

That said, it must be admitted that we live in an unfair world where dogparents are denied the common courtesies those with human puppies enjoy. My husband was clever enough to spot this disturbing inequity on one of our vacations. Parents of human children never need to leave their kids in the car when they stop at a restaurant. Oh, no…they are allowed to bring their kids inside - no questions asked. Our kids can't walk on certain beaches, even though we carry clean-up supplies. All but a select few museums are right out. Even picnic areas are often off limits. Hotels wave us away. People ask if our kids bite. You never hear anyone ask the proud parents of a human child if it bites -- and yet, so many of them do. Ok, so our kids pick up stuff they shouldn't and put it in their mouths. They sometimes choose inappropriate times and places for various bodily functions. They occasionally steal something that doesn't belong to them. They are periodically destructive. They can be stubborn and willful and difficult to train properly. They will never take care of us in our old age. Are we that much different after all?

Reprinted, with permission, from Tale Waggers - stories for "dog people", Copyright 1996-1999, Elizabeth Cusulas. All Rights Reserved. Visit Tale Waggers on the Internet at