Dogs and kids – the perfect ingredient for any family right? Some families just go with the kids and maybe pad it out a bit with the odd goldfish or gerbil. Others don’t bother with the kids and just have a few dogs and a social life.
The bold and the brave will go ‘full family’ and go with both kids and dogs. If T.V has taught us anything it is that any happy family requires an equal measure of canine and youngster to be complete. Would the Robinson family in Neighbours have overcome their many many obstacles without Bouncer to help them through the tough times? Would Johnny Briggs have gotten out of half the scrapes he found himself in without the help of Razzle?
Having both a child and a dog in your house seems like hard work but trust me, there is not a lot of difference between the two…
1. Should we get a dog / have kids
The comparisons between both child and dog start well before the new addition enters our lives. The decision to get a pup or have a child is not made lightly. Of course sometimes you don’t get to make the decision – accidents happen. A few too many gins in the local club or perusing the pets at home website whilst drinking a four pack of Stella could equally leave you a lasting reminder of that drunken night.
The majority of the time these life changing decisions are planned. The discussions that are involved in the build up are pretty much the same. Both involve self doubt in your ability to raise nurture and ultimately not screw up a baby or puppy. Some of the questions you might find yourself asking:
- Can we afford it? Nope probably not but what the hell, that’s what second mortgages are for. Both will cost you a fortune over the years.
- Have we got enough room? Trust me no matter how big your house is every inch will be taken over by both child and dog. Toys will be left in the middle of the floor and half finished sweets or treats will be found down the back of the sofa.
- What shall we call it? A big one this. A child with a quirky name night be cute when he is 6 years old but when he is 40 and running their own company do they really want to be named after your favourite Disney character? Likewise with a dog, a wacky name might give you a bit of a chuckle at home but you might regret it when you have to register Mr Miyagi the Pug at the vets in front of a busy waiting room.
All of these questions and doubts are normal. That is what makes you a good owner / parent. There is never a perfect time to have kids or get a dog. Just go for it and enjoy the ride you’ll pick everything else up on the way.
Is anyone else thinking Mr Miyagi is a great name for a dog…
2. Training a dog vs Raising a child
Let’s be honest we all start out with visions that our child or dog will be the smartest, best looking and well behaved little person or pet that has walked the earth. Unfortunately it does not always work out this way.
Both can be stupid – they eat things they shouldn’t like lego, plasticine or their own poo. A child will cry if the water is too wet or their banana is too yellow and a dog will bark at a leaf, chase its own tail or be surprised by its own farts.
Both can be funny looking – Of course your own kid or puppy is the cutest. Their beauty is a sight to behold, handed down by the Gods to walk the earth in all their splendour. But both drool, both smell and you have pick crusty bogies off both. They can’t have a poo without you examining it and let’s face it some are just weird looking.
Bad behaviour is universal – We’ve all seen it out and about. The mum holding her head in despair as her kids tear about uncontrollably, swearing and pretending to walk through the supermarket with a club foot. Or the dog owner covered in mud running after their mud pooch, lead in one hand, full poo bag in the other screaming its name whilst it runs off into the distance. We might like to think we are better than this but for most of us the truth is we have little or no control. In fact neither listen to a word we say. Ever.
3. Feeding Time
When talking to other parents or dog owners we feel the need to make it known that we are indeed very aware of the importance of a good diet. “Yes of course little Rapunzel sits at the table to eat her organic couscous and greens” or “We would not feed Mr Miyagi anything else but a mix of fair trade dry food and room temperature casseroled meat.” In reality your child is sat in bed eating Pot Noodle and Oreos whilst your dog has just turned his nose up at his own food but ate all of the cats food, stole half a baguette and a new pack of butter to eat behind the toilet. When he’s done he will lick the pot noodle tub clean. They’ve all been fed in some way, that’s fine. Job done.
We all know the importance of exercise. Dogs need walking every day and kids need to get outside, ‘get fresh air’ and play. Achieving this can be tricky though. Neither are pleasant and relaxing and both involve excessive preparation. If a car journey is required it is more than likely either the child or dog will be sick en route. Once you get to where you are going you are either chasing after them or waiting for them to catch up due to them being distracted by some roadkill or a piece of poo on the floor. Speaking of poo, both child and dog will inevitably need to go halfway down the nature trail you are walking, normally as another family is passing you. Did you bring toilet wipes or poo bags? No I left them at home with the sick bags.
5. We take far too many photos
A quick look through the Facebook or Instagram profile of any dog owner or parent will show you hundreds and hundreds of perfectly timed and beautifully filtered photos of a dog asleep or bounding through the waves at the beach, or a child atop of a mountain they just climbed or the holy grail of photos – a child asleep with a dog or both standing atop of a mountain whilst the sun sets behind them.
We love and cherish these photos. Everyone else however gets a bit bored and has to feign interest after a while. The odd ‘Awww’ or ‘cute!’ should be enough to get you through the next 35 identical pictures.
We should really get these photos printed off and put them in frames one day you say. This will never happen.
6. Alone time is a thing of the past
Have you been able to go to the toilet recently without your dog following you and sitting between your legs as you do your business? Have you managed to get around to watching Game of Thrones yet? Or is too late once you have got your child to bed? A little tip, start feeding your dogs at 5.30am so that when they wake you up for their breakfast you have a solid hour and a half to watch GOT before you need to do anything. Disclaimer: I still have not watched Game of thrones. Probably won’t now. Was going to get into House of Cards but the whole Kevin Spacey thing put me off… Stranger Things – I will definitely watch Stranger Things. One day.
7. Too much stuff!
Kids have far too much stuff these days. Bikes, Ipads, X Box’s, Playstations, blindbags and online currency to buy new skins and items on their latest game. It goes on and on and it all costs a fortune.
These days it is exactly the same for dogs. Back in the day your pooch would be happy with an old tennis ball and maybe a bone from the butchers. Now you can take your pick from a multitude of different chew toys and treats. Milk chews, pigs ears, pig hooves, antlers and even rabbit ears!! You can have rope toys, squeaky toys, toys that you put treats into. You can dress your dog up like your favourite superhero or make her look like a princess. They wear socks in the rain and have their own raincoats.
Do they need all of this? Probably not. Do we buy all of this? Does a dog need to sleep in a bunk bed in its own monogrammed pyjamas? Just take my money. “Get your Granddads war medals down form the loft, they are going on Ebay.”
8. Try not to lose them.
This might seem like an obvious comparison but I’ve recently lost a dog for 7 hours and once lost James for the longest 3 minutes in history amongst artificial Christmas trees at the garden centre. That last minute before you have to phone your wife and tell them you have lost your child or your dog are the worst. Disclaimer: The dog was found safe and sound a mile and a half away. James spent that Christmas sat on top of a Christmas tree with a family in Bolton. They had never had an angel that swears so much and returned him to us in the New Year.
9. Should we have another?
So, you have made it through the first couple of years with a child or a puppy? Next thing you know you are wondering whether they need a brother or sister. I will leave that one entirely up to you guys. Either way it is double the expense and worry but at the same double the fun and love. And there will always be some kind of inheritance in the future to fund it.
10. They get upset when you leave them.
I have re-thought this one. Dogs will always, always fret when you leave them. Even if it is just for five minutes. I guess infants will worry and get upset if you leave them but when they get older I wouldn’t worry about it. James can go the whole day without even realising I am in the house once he is on the X Box.
I will leave you with this. Both kids and dogs on their own or both together will drive you mad, cost you money, destroy your house house and turn you grey but without them my house would not be home. Oh, and Emma, better give her a mention.
Sorry it has been so long between posts, we’ve had a lot going on plus a very new exciting addition to the family (stay tuned for more on this). But Tommyno 2.0 will be with you as of now.
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