I have a dog. I also have two children. Sometimes, I take all three of them out to the park at once. This is generally a horrible idea, as I end up standing in a field yelling three different names with no obvious reaction from any of the living things within a hundred yards. To the casual onlooker, I am just a sad lonely man all alone in the world, pockets full of crap, calling the names of his tormentors and then inexplicably asking the sky if anyone wants a treat. At the moments I can bring all three creatures into near-me orbit, we often find ourselves visiting with other dogs and their owners.
And then some jackass always says “I don’t have kids, but my dog is like my child.” As always happens when I’m confronted with statements of pathos and extreme loneliness, I just get angry. The conversation with these sad sacks always begins with them seeing Jack (my dog, not one of my sons) and saying “what kind of dog is that?” What they really mean is “what kind of dog is that?” Jack is clearly a mutt. No one would ever breed a dog like him, unless the AKC starts rating dogs on their frequent whimpering and visible erections.
But they’re not really asking because they’re interested. They want me to return the question so they can tell me about their dog, which is inevitably some purebred something. I don’t fall for it anymore. I just say “oh, is your dog an Entlebucher Mountain Dog?” Of course, it isn’t. No one has an Entlebucher Mountain Dog. But nothing is more annoying than spending $1,100 on a purebred Jack Russell only to have some jerk in the park ask if it’s an Entlebucher Mountain dog. “It’s a Jack Russell Terrier, they say. “Oh,” I say, “I think my dog just peed on your shoe a little.”
This is why your dog isn’t like your kid. None of us get to choose (or would want to) purebred name brand kids. I’ve never said “This is my son, he’s a Miniature American Curly Coated Jew.” Again, no one would breed a kid to be like mine. With my giant head and my wife’s thin neck, my older son couldn’t lift his melon up for the first 18 months of his life. He always seemed to be looking for change at his feet. Though I suspect that the people who ask “what kind of dog is that?”are the same people who ask, in so many words, “what kind of kid is that?” You think this doesn’t happen? You clearly don’t have friends with adopted or mixed-race kids. People will come up to these parents and say “how did a bitch like you get a pup like that?” Ok, not exactly in those words. This is 21st century America, and we still can’t get our heads around the fact that there are many paths to love and parenthood, and not all of them are going to be sanctioned by the AKC, or in this case, Republicans.
So your dog is like your kid, and you chose to have a purebred dog. Oh, if only I knew my boys were going to grow up to be show-quality beautiful. Sure, they’ll be dumb as posts, behave terribly, and have all sorts of weird health problems because they come from cousins marrying, but what glossy coats! …I was making a joke there, and then I realized this is exactly the reasoning of Jessica Simpson’s father, and parents who put 6 year olds in beauty pageants. In these cases, aren’t dogs and kids just status symbols? Look what I’ve got! I spared no expense! Perfect genetic beauty! If only you could somehow put a vanity plate on your dogs or children. Or maybe join a club to celebrate the purity and heritage of your children’s bloodlines. Other than the Daughters of the American Revolution, that is. I wonder if the DAR and AKC share development consultants.
Spending all your time and resources on a living thing does not make it like your child. All the cute sweaters, booties, and treats don’t change the fact that if you die in your house and no one finds you, your shih tzu eatz u. No, really. I appreciate that being a parent has been reduced to another American status symbol race. Maybe your dog is like your kid. God help your dog. Whatever the hell it is.