Friday, July 20, 2007

On kids and dogs

This article was sent to me by a child-less by choice coworker. If you don't want to read it, I'll sum it up for you. Basically the author has no kids and is tired of strangers and friends alike helping themselves to her private life by way of all-too-personal enquiries as well as outright fondling in the guise of reproductive concern. She quite firmly states that it's none of their business and what's more is, the reason she isn't breeding even as we speak is because them crazy parents are putting her off and making her damn near wish for sterility (for them as well as herself I'm guessing). In summation, parents with little to no control over their crotchlings and an exaggerated opinion of how they should be viewed by the masses are solely responsible for this woman's decision to have sex for recreational purposes only. And she says all of this while cradling her dog.

Hmm. There's something about this that niggles at the back of my mind....what could it be? Let's see: people and their kids are a nuisance......cradling dog.....cradling? that's for babies right? but she doesn't want those....she clearly likes her dog....heh....look at how she holds a ...what's the a CHILD! Now I know what's niggling me!

More and more these days I'm noticing that kids are out and dogs-as-kids are in. I honestly couldn't care less if anyone in my office, my neighborhood, my city, my state, my country...this WORLD chooses to procreate. That's not what's getting under my skin. Almost every young couple I know that isn't ready to start a family by way of having kids has nonetheless got a dog that they choose to treat like one. They give these dogs birthday parties complete with doggie cake, they take them to doggie-daycare and spend an ungodly amount on their surroundings. Many have entire rooms of the house exclusive to them, not to mention clothes and accessories and toiletries to make them smell like anything but a dog. In fact, my coworkers have all taken to dog rescuing which is a noble cause to be sure. What I'm not sure about is why they think it's okay to bring them to work and not just one but sometimes two or more. These dogs are clearly unbalanced and in need, but many do not like unfamiliar people. So as I go to fill my coffee cup I've been growled at, drooled on, jumped on and had my personal space repeatedly and intimately invaded in that way that dogs have more times than I can count. It's clear they love dogs. I get it. Hey, I love my kids too! So I understand love.

What I can no longer accept or try to understand, however, is the double standard.

For instance take this quote from the above-referenced article:

So why don't I have kids or even the inkling right now? It's because of you. Yes, you: the fanatical mothers of the world. It may seem like ages ago now, but you weren't always like this. You, too, were sneering at the obnoxious parents who brought their infants to fancy, adult, nighttime restaurants or R-rated movies and let them carry on, ruining things for other patrons. You've been terrible advertising for the club that you so desperately need others to join.

now let's change it up a bit to make it about dogs and dog-owners:

So why don't I have dogs or even the inkling right now? It's because of you. Yes, you: the fanatical dog-owners of the world. It may seem like ages ago now, but you weren't always like this. You, too, were sneering at the obnoxious animal activists who brought their pets to grocery stores, your place of business or even your home and let them carry on, ruining things for others. You've been terrible advertising for the club that you so desperately need others to join.

Huh. What a coincidence and yet, when I say this using the same similarities evidenced in their own behavior, the response is immediate and unfavorable. How dare I compare dogs with children in-that-way. To which I can only reply "what the fuck people". These are your "furry children" are they not? I've heard you say so myself. So then tell me exactly why as their "parents" you believe yourself to be immune from the responsibility and respect you demand of other parents? Why is it okay for your dog to jump on me, but my kid can't jump on you? Why can you take your dog to the grocery store but I can't take my child to a fancy restaurant? Why must my children go unseen and unheard while your dog barks whenever and for however long it wants? Why is it okay for your dog to shit in my yard? Can I bring my child to your house to defecate because that would be super entertainment for me. What about scratching? Can my child scratch you and then fiddle around in your nether regions the way your dog does to me? More importantly, can I talk about your dog the way you feel free to talk about my child?

No? Well, isn't that odd?

The truth is, you can't have it both ways. You can't expect for me to acquiesce to your pithy ramblings about animal instincts and how your dog was mistreated by a human once when I call you on their bad behavior. Just as it might be normal and developmentally typical for my 3-year-old to throw a tantrum, you've made it perfectly clear it's not acceptable and isn't something you should be forced to endure. Why then are your dog's natural instincts to dominate and assert ownership over me and my personal space not likewise subjected to such strict conformity out of the same respect you demand? You are the one in charge are you not? And as such, you assume full responsibility much like our adult status makes us responsible for our children regardless of what's normal for them or how they've been treated previously. It's impossible to argue instincts and nature over responsibility and respect when you're busy force-feeding to others the same thing you refuse to practice.

The article continues along the same vein:

No one could possibly love your kids as much as you do, so stop inflicting them on others. Don't bring your kid to adult parties when you're not sure if it's kid-friendly. If they didn't invite your kid, they don't want your kid there. If you don't want to get a babysitter, stay home.

again, let's do some word-exchange:

No one could possibly love your dogs as much as you do, so stop inflicting them on others. Don't bring your dog to human gatherings when you're not sure if it's dog-friendly. If they didn't invite your dog, they don't want your dog
there. If you don't want to get a dogsitter, stay home.

Heh. You wouldn't believe the dirty looks I got for that one. And that's fine, they can hate me, what I say and why I say it but they can't deny it's true. Sure, it's easier for them to accuse me of being a dog-hater than it is for them to see the truth in my words. But honestly, it's my love for dogs that keeps me from having one. I know that I do not have the resources necessary to give a dog a proper home. And I'm not talking about money for perfumes, organic food, daycare or clothes. Dogs don't need that shit. What they need is an owner who treats them like a dog and not like a person. They need the safety of a pack and to know how they rank in it. They need discipline, safety and affection within an overall healthy environment. And I know I do not have the time or patience to spend ensuring a dog would lead it's optimum life while in my care.

Which brings me to my final quote exchange:

Finally, don't make your kid an extension of your own

the obvious dog-equivalent being:

Finally, don't make your dog an extension of your own

How much more narcissistic is it to take another species and force it to conform to your standards of behavior and way of life and deny it a healthy expression of it's heritage? Isn't our domestication of animals to the point of believing no difference actually exists a more fitting example of narcissism than even the most permissive of child-rearing? At least in the realm of parenting our selfish expectations and ignorant assumptions when aimed at total strangers is enveloped in the unfortunate blanket of shared genetics. So as far as "wrongs" go in this argument, I suppose bashing someone else for their parenting of a human makes the most sense at least. And in this feral feud, I could even side with the "Child-less By Choice So Keep Your Kids To Yourself" group as I believe personal space, privacy and responsibility are of the utmost importance. However, by projecting human qualities onto animals and dogs in particular, the mommy-bashers have lost their leverage with me.

I'm here comparing all of the negative finger-pointing, typically reserved for same-species cohabitation, to responsible dog-ownership because the proverbial doggie door was opened by my coworkers with the forwarding of this article. Well, that and I'm simply TIRED of choking on their choices much as they feel forced to choke on mine. I don't condone the extremes of either group here: the child-less or the child-full. But I'll be damned before I allow someone cradling their dog like a baby to talk down about my kids while she's freely representing what's become an all-too acceptable exchange within our society. The exchange of course being the value of an animal's life over that of a human. Because no, you don't have to like my kids. I won't force them onto you nor allow them to infringe upon your space. But you damn well better likewise keep your dog and attitude in check.

Because yeah, if you start talking generalized shit you should know that you're not the only person sick of all the blind, hypocritical prejudices.


karla said...

Please pass the salt--only with more anus.

Patti said...

You know....salt can cause edema. So how 'bout you take just the anus and call it a day, hm?