February 28, 2016

"Great News! Dog Ownership is Optional!"

"When you’re a young and otherwise unencumbered adult and you adopt a dog, a huge chunk of your freedom is gone. Instantly, just like that. Suddenly you have a very short leash pulling you back to your house. Your new friend needs to be fed and walked. Did you meet somebody special and want to spend a few days with them? Need to fly somewhere to visit family or take a vacation? Sorry, you’re already out past your curfew and the dog is lonely at home. For people who tend towards loneliness or introversion and who prefer to be at home most of the time anyway, this could be perfect. But for those with other time-consuming aspirations, it is worth considering what you are giving up to get this nice dog time. After all, every activity is a tradeoff that forces you to give up some other option. You enjoy caring for the dog. But is there something that brings even more happiness through personal growth that you would enjoy if only you had more time?"

33 comments:

Daniel Richwine said...

There is something in the human heart which is only satisfied when serving others. This is the reason raising children is so rewarding, you are choosing to give half your life to another, and this act of sacrifice generates its own reward.
Having a dog is an act of sacrifice, not on the scale of a child, but it is a sacrifice. This gives some shape and meaning to the life's of those who have no other thing to give their service to.

While the hedonist in me wants no obligations which will interfere with the contemporary obsession with EXPERIENCES, the philosopher in me believes a more fulfilling life involves obligations.

robinintn said...

This Mr. Mustache fellow is kind of a troll.

John said...

"Pets or meat"

samanthasmom said...

My dog brings me great happiness. I don't care to put a price tag on that, thank you very much. (Samantha is a golden retriever.)

Rae said...

So many people treat pets like children that it worries me. You have to remember that you have a dog or cat for slave labor and an emergency food supply. Don't get attached. You don't want to have to choose between a mutt and your child.

Remember to have some sriracha on hand for the Pekingese.

Birches said...

Haha.I know I have too many kids to speak about this with any real authority, but this is exactly why I Will never own a dog.

Michael K said...

Children should grow up with dogs to learn responsibility and to learn to be mature and that others need love, too.

Dogs make you a better person.

Cats tolerate you.

JSD said...

Dogs are great companions and an effective home security. My brother-in-law was a probation officer for nearly 40 years. Nearly all his B&E “clients’ said that houses with dogs were too risky. They would go to the next house. I prefer mixed breed dogs in the 50 lbs range.

EDH said...

Althouse has the best arrangement: Dogs with benefits.

SgtPete said...

I agree with Daniel, "While the hedonist in me wants no obligations which will interfere with the contemporary obsession with EXPERIENCES, the philosopher in me believes a more fulfilling life involves obligations." My purpose of life is to have a purpose. It was my child and wife, now my dog, but always my patients. I love my obligations, they give me that purpose. Love you too Ann. SgtPete

Mark said...

Instead of a dog, getting a mirror and looking in it all the time is so much more rewarding. Because then it is all me, me, me.

tim maguire said...

That was a pretty appalling and shamelessly selfish excerpt. Daniel's was an excellent first comment.

Michael K said...

"My dog brings me great happiness"

Unfortunately, they also bring heartbreak.

There are more dogs but it always ends sadly and that lesson is also important.

Ann Althouse said...

"That was a pretty appalling and shamelessly selfish excerpt."

The decision about whether to have a dog is 100% selfish. You're being irrational if you don't face that squarely. You're not saving dogs. It's for you. If you love feeling that you are saving a dog, then your selfish judgement may cause you to pursue that feeling. You might choose not to be realistic about your own psychology. Well, maybe that's what "dog people" are.

Ann Althouse said...

If you actually want to take responsibility because things need to be done in this world (as opposed to because you like to feel like a person with responsibilities), then you should not get a dog (unless you're getting a dog to do some kind of work that needs to be done).

halojones-fan said...

robinintrn: yep. I read some of the other posts on that site and DAMN that guy is a dick.

I mean, sure, it's useful to consider your actions from the worst possible perspective and ask yourself about why that perspective doesn't apply to you--and to think about what twists and turns of reason are necessary for it not to apply, and whether you're consistently applying those twists and turns to other things in your life.

But, y'know, usually when you throw a bucket of puke at someone, they seldom think "well, perhaps I should engage in self-introspective contemplation about why someone might consider it appropriate to throw a bucket of puke at me, I certainly don't *feel* puke-worthy but I ought to have a good intellectual foundation for why I feel that way". Usually when you throw a bucket of puke at someone they just go "ewww, puke" and go on their way with their feeling of moral authority further reinforced by the ugly behavior of critics.

Roughcoat said...

My dogs complete me.

Roughcoat said...

Also, my dogs make me laugh. They're very funny. It's like living with a 24/7 clown show.

Althouse, your remarks above display all the charm and warmth of a 1930s Soviet political commissar.

Michael K said...

"Althouse, your remarks above display all the charm and warmth of a 1930s Soviet political commissar."

Yeah, I don't know what she has against dogs.

Roughcoat said...

Soviet commissars didn't like dogs either. Too bourgeois.

Lenin had a cat. Because cats approve of, and indulge in, Revolutionary Terror.

Coconuss Network said...

My pup is my baby. And she is pampered. It's a mutual respect and love for each other. And fulfills my desire to cook, cuz she gets top quality food every night for dinner. With all the vitamins, protein, and a lil iron. She's also very cuddly, which fulfills my mothering desire, and she's great companionship in an empty home with a husband who travels for work. It will be heartbreak, but we're postponing that day with all the love and care my lil pup deserves. She's amazing !! She does cramp the work schedule some, but things work out. She's brave if I must be away from home for a reasonable amount of time. And the reunion is better than cake.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Mr. Moustache has one child and was going to have a second (2-3 yr apart per usual). But then he found some study showing that only children are just as happy. And two children cost more and increase family stress over one. I think this is all true.

If you already have the right house for a dog, who wouldn't want a dog?

Jonathan Graehl said...

To the extent that dogs are displacing the creation of human children by high-intelligence adults who buy into the two-income trap (or have the wrong skills and location to avoid it), I'm saddened.

ken in tx said...

Don't get a dog unless you can afford to board them from time to time if needed. Choose one with a doggy cam if you are worried about it. A dog's response to you when you return is one of the endearing things about having a dog. Cats get stuck up and pissed.

ken in tx said...

BTW, when a dog jumps up and tries to lick your face, it is not sign of affection. Puppys instinctively lick the mouth of returning hunters to the pack to induce them to throw up a warm meal. A dog licking your face is actually saying, "Puke for me, puke for me."

Bill Peschel said...

Haven't read the original post, but from what Althouse posted, he's absolutely correct.

The hardest thing for all right-thinking people on this site to learn is that not everyone thinks like you. There is no such thing as common sense.

Plenty of people get dogs without realizing what's involved, and they end up getting rid of the dog or neglecting it.

I understand what it is to have dogs, cats and children, and I'd rather have someone warn people about the responsibilities behind all of them.

Fernandinande said...

ken in tx said...
BTW, when a dog jumps up and tries to lick your face, it is not sign of affection


BZZT.

Affection
"This is the most common reason that domestic dogs lick and tends to be the kind of licking most pet parents want to change. Licking for affection causes your dog to release pleasurable endorphins that calm and comfort them, but sometimes it can just get to be too much for people."

Affection
"Your dog loves you. Licking to show affection is a functional behavior that puppies learn from their mother and littermates. Maternal licking and licking among littermates helps strengthen family bonds. A dog licking your face is expressing his affection for you and trying to strengthen the familial bond he has with you."

One of our two dogs is often pestered by submissive adult dogs licking her face; the other dog loves licking people and gets a look on his face that reminds me of a girl who wants to kiss you. He'll also give my hand one quick lick after putting the leash on, etc., like he's saying "thanks!"

Simon Kenton said...

Working with one of my nieces on financial planning. She has a dog on which she has spent more than $20K. The savings are not there for some financial moves that would have, and would, materially improve her financial position for decades to come. Just saying.

Michael K said...

"Don't get a dog unless you can afford to board them from time to time if needed."

I have a dog sitter who comes and house sits when we travel, which is a couple of times a year, She charges about $5 more a day than boarding. My previous basset who died last month hated the car and hated the one time I boarded him. The new basset cries if either of us leave home even for a few hours. We will see how she gets along with the sitter when we travel in June.

When I was very busy with work, I did not have a dog for a few years. They do not like to be left alone. When I knew I would have to have back surgery and retire, I got a puppy and she lived with me for 12 years. I have had dogs ever since/

JCC said...

I have had dogs since I was eight years old, when I bought my first dog - a Samoyed - with money from a paper route, subsidized of course by my parents. Since then, I have owned dogs for companionship, to hunt over and for work (police dogs and SAR dogs). I have trained them for myself and others, rescued stray mutts and dogs with genetic defects that would have been destroyed otherwise. Luckily, my wife shares my feelings about dogs.

We travel with our dogs, make them well behaved and good citizen dogs, but recognize they are, in the end, animals, not people with fur.

I can't quantify the benefits which accrue to me and my wife from owning dogs, or justify the costs which can be considerable.

Some people collect old cars or new girlfriends. My thing is collecting, among others, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. I just like them. No sense in trying to point out why. If you don't know, then you wouldn't care anyway.

So many breeds...so little time left.

mishu said...

You're not saving dogs. It's for you. If you love feeling that you are saving a dog, then your selfish judgement may cause you to pursue that feeling. Ann, I adopt racing greyhounds. Before race tracks had adoption regimes, the dogs were executed as soon as they were no longer useful to racing. You could say, "Oh, just make racing illegal!". Yeah, just like marijuana, cocaine, and crystal meth is illegal. If I lived in Europe, I would have adopted Spanish galgos. Those are hunting dogs normally executed at the age of two for being too slow. You know what's selfish? Your glib sense of self righteousness based ob cluelessness. Go back to bitching about men in shorts. It's about all your good for.

el polacko said...

jeeze, althouse. what the heck is your problem ? it's not as if dogs wear shorts or anything.

tim in vermont said...

Oddly, I have a dog because I enjoy him. He is of little, but not zero, security value. He costs money to feed and board, but it feels good to scratch his ears and chest, and he gets me outside to play with him, throwing balls and sticks, and he forces me to walk him, all good things and worth it to me.

There is a saying "If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise." On the other hand, I have never once entertained the idea that I am doing it for the dog.