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December 5, 2011

Could Dogs Replace Children for Some Couples?

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It isnt a secret that cultural views make up much of who we are. From childhood, all the way up to an advanced age, we tend to fall in line with what society wants. History has even shown a stigma present among people for several years. It has been a popular notion that once one marries, kids are to be the next immediate steps.

However, times are changing and families are getting started at much older ages. Couples are no longer rushing to reproduce and instead, waiting until theyre comfortable before they start their families.  In fact, for many of us crazy dog lovers, our dogs have even become our children.

Being a newlywed, it was a shock to me that the week of the wedding, I got asked numerous times, When are you going to have kids? In my young age of 25, I quickly replied with, My dog is enough for me right now.

While that answer was truth for me, it seems to shock people that my dog is like a child to me. But, dogs are a lot like children in some ways. They have to be taken care of by bathing, feeding, etc. Not to mention the amount of love a dog owner can have for their pup.

Dont get me wrong, kids are great (for those that are ready for that commitment). For my husband and me, our dog is just the right amount of responsibility in our lives. With both of us focusing on our careers, instead of babies, a dog just seems like the right dose of love and devotion. Many similar young couples are opting for the same.

According to a new nationwide survey conducted by Flexcin International, 1,000 dog owners ranging in ages from 21-30 were polled to find out why they chose dogs over children. An astonishing 54% stated it was because theyre not sure they can handle the large amount of responsibility that comes with having a child.

Dogs can fulfill a maternal nurturing that many of us need, but without the financial and moral responsibility of a child. Animals are expensive, but lets face it; kids are extremely expensive. The financial burden alone is driving many couples to opt for a furry baby instead of a real one.

So, just how much of a financial burden can children be? The US Department of Agriculture preformed a study polling 11,800 husband-wife households and 3,350 single-parent households. They found that, Depending on age of the child, annual expenses ranged from $8,480 to $9,630 for families with a before-tax income less than $57,600, from $11,880 to $13,830 for families with a before-tax income between $57,600 and $99,730, and from $19,770 to $23,690 for families with a before-tax income more than $99,730. I know my dog costs a lot less than that!

Besides financial reasons, kids can cause a moral dilemma for some. The fear of raising children to be good citizens and not screwing them up along the parenting route is enough to drive anyone crazy. That fear rests as a moral dilemma within many couples, causing them to turn to animals.

On the flip side of that coin, dogs can also prepare couples for the future possibility of children. Inside house pets are heavily reliant on human care. When couples split the responsibilities of care for the pet, it can help teach couples how to care for a living animal. As pet owners, weve all experienced the chewing, the barking, and the not-so-nice smelling presents left before potty training. Pet parents are able to gain a sense of patience and of course, unconditional love from a pet.

Its astounding how much you can love a dog. Theyre loyal, humble, playful creatures that will stand by your side. We spoil them by hugs, toys, and kisses, while they spoil us by giving us unconditional love and while they may get mad at us sometimes, dogs can never say they hate you. Much like children, the bond between a pet and a parent, is one not easily broken and one that lasts forever.

They make us laugh and cry. They provide comical relief and companionship. Much like a child, dogs need love and provide love. Dogs can complete a family, just like child. So, I say that history doesnt always have to repeat itself. Couples dont have to rush into human families. Some couples either simply dont want kids, and others just arent ready.

The reward of a family is beyond measurable, but its a level of commitment that some arent quite ready for. Babies are a special gift, but so is a pet and fur babies can complete a family just the same. Some don't understand the concept of dogs over children, but sometimes love just can't be explained.

How do you feel about substituting a pet for a child? Do you consider your pet the same as a child? Tell us in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Picture courtesy of: BrightEyedMedia

Anonymous on May 17 at 3:57 PM said:

I think substituting a pet for a child is a wonderful idea. It can teach people about how to be responsible and care for something without the commitment of a human child. However, some people will just never learn. As I have neighbors who are horrible pet owners AND horrible parents. They are borderline abusive, but sadly not bad enough for me to feel compelled to call child services. I think more people should consider pets as an alternative.

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