Which is Better?
Lately, I've really been wanting to get a puppy.
Really, like, a lot.
However, though our housing situation would allow it, we currently we can't afford one. Since puppies have been on my mind so much, I've been thinking about when I first gave birth to Kevin. Afterward, my dad, who knows how much I like dogs, kept asking me the same question over and over.
"Isn't he much better than a puppy?"
Okay. Obviously the answer is yes. However for those of you who've never had a baby, I would like to tell you my reasons why. Those of you who have had children, let me know your thoughts on the matter.
When I was in High School, one summer I decided to breed my dog and raise a litter of puppies. It was a really good experience, and I really enjoyed it. However, comparing that experience to my current situation of being a mother brings up some interesting differences and similarities.
|Yes, I did draw these pictures.|
A Short Thought on Poop
Let's face it. Newborn animals of any variety aren't very cute. They come out all slimy and wrinkly, and generally have very little hair. Newborn puppies are fairly easy for humans to take care of. We just let the mom handle it. However, newborn puppies are incapable of defecating on their own. In order to keep the puppies alive and healthy, the mother dog has to lick them to stimulate their bowel movements. Then, to add to that, she eats the puppy poo so that the smell won't attract predators. As nasty as that seems to us, to a dog it's a natural part of being a mother.
I'm really glad we don't have to do that. A lot of people will complain about changing diapers, but after watching how animals take care of their babies' poop, diapers don't seem so bad. Babies are also able to poop on their own as soon as they are born, which is an advantage in the evolutionary side of things. Babies diapers are also not very stinky when they are newborns. You have to change them pretty frequently, but it really isn't that much trouble and you get used to it quickly.
Nursing puppies is quite easy as well, if you're the human. The mother dog usually does all the work again. There is the rare situation when a human has to take over, and then it can be a major pain! You have to get up and bottle feed the pups every two hours. That can really cut into your sleep schedule. Luckily, my dog Dakota was a fantastic mom. She took great care of her pups. She ended up having eight of them, and all of them survived until they went to their new homes. Can you imagine having eight babies at one time? I can't. One is plenty thank you, and I'm still learning how to deal with one.
When someone first handed Kevin to me, I looked down and thought, "What do I do with this?"
Don't get me wrong. I've been around babies my entire life. I have six younger siblings and I spent a lot of my teenaged years babysitting my siblings and other children. I'm no novice when it comes to taking care of babies. However, none of that even remotely prepared me for nursing my own baby. It doesn't come entirely naturally. However, once you and the baby figure it out, it is a rather peaceful thing. There is a connection you feel with that baby that is unlike any other relationship I've ever had.
When my dog had puppies, I felt proud and I loved them. I took good care of them and I wanted them to have good homes. However, the bond I have with my baby isn't even close to the same. Grig and I made Kevin (with a lot of help from Heavenly Father). He is our baby. He is part of us and we are part of him. I've loved my dogs, but the love I feel for Kevin transcends that love and makes it look trivial.
Nursing has nurtured that bond as well. I love putting him down for a nap and feeling connected to him. Puppy-love just doesn't come close.
Babies change fast. Even now, nine-months after Kevin was born, I can't believe how fast time has gone. Everyday it seems like he learns something new. He's already walking and running, and I some days I miss the little baby who would just lay on my chest. Kevin only does that if he is asleep now or very, very tired. Otherwise, he is constantly moving. It's been a real treat to watch Kevin grow and learn. We love showing him new things. We really enjoy watching him try to understand this new world around him.
However, as fast as babies grow, it's nothing compared to puppies. At nine months, a puppy would be almost fully grown and well into his teenage months. He would be awkward, gangly, and pushing his limits. They are still cute, but sometimes by that point the cuteness is wearing off a bit. Between eight and eighteen months is when the majority of puppies are given to shelters. After that, they mature more and people can handle them again. Before that, they are cute enough to get away with stuff. Puppies are only puppies for a short time, and then they become dogs. I think they're still cute, but a lot of people love that puppy stage and really miss it when it is gone.
That's probably why so many people get tiny dogs. They can keep pretending they are babies. The problem is a tiny dog is still a dog. If you treat a dog like a baby, they never learn discipline and think that they are in charge. This causes a lot of bad behaviors that go unchecked because the dog is 'cute.'
Which is why a great many people don't like small dogs. They often get away with everything because they're not a threat to people.
Babies remain as babies for quite a while. We have more time to teach them the things they need to know before they are considered adults. Children and puppies take a great deal of patience, perseverance, discipline, and love. However, dogs will never reach the development level of a human. They will never be able to have deep conversations with us. Children eventually will.
Kevin still has no teeth. His cousin, who is a week younger, has four or five. She actually has been known to leave little teeth marks in the furniture. Babies in general however, don't chew on things nearly as much as puppies.
I've never heard of someone coming home from work to find that their child had eaten their favorite shoe or hat. Though someone in my family used to chew the fingers and toes off of our barbies, we never found the entire barbie digested.
Puppies, however, will chew on everything. Furniture, clothing, toys; you name it, they've eaten it. That's one nice thing that you don't have to worry about as much when it comes to babies.
A Little More on Poop
When my dog had her puppies, at first it was easy to clean after them. She took care of most of that. Then, as they grew and developed, they began to defecate on their own. Soon, I was the one who had to pick up after eight growing puppies. It was a full-time job.
Again, I'll take diapers over that any day. Both baby poop and dog poop however gets stinkier as the owners get older. That's part of life.
I think this will be the last thing I'll address in this blog. Puppies are cute. They take a lot of work, but when you take the time, it pays off into a wonderful dog. However, the oldest living dog only lived to 29 and 1/2 years old. That's pretty old for a dog. However, for a beloved family member, that's not that long at all.
Children (hopefully) will be around the rest of our lives and beyond. They don't just bring joy and heartache, they also are the future of our families. They pass on stories of us, our teachings, and our experiences. They also bring grandchildren.
Dogs bring happiness for a lifetime, but children bring happiness for an eternity. They can continue to bring joy to others after we are gone.
So, yes, Dad. Children are better than puppies.
At this point, my experience with having my own children has caught up with the present. I could speculate on what will happen in the future, but until I go through those stages myself, I'll let other people tell me what it's like. I've raised a puppy to adulthood, but I'm still on my first kid. Eventually, Kevin will have a few puppies to grow up with him. Every kid needs a dog. It's an earth-rule.
Hopefully Kevin will turn out well. We'll do our best, and that's all we can do. The rest is up to him.