It is not for the boorishness of their tantrums, nor is it for their occasional uncleanliness that dogs are actually bad to adopt--in fact, in many cases they are the polar opposite. They, as research constantly proves, offer great companionship and fellowship. But, as all good things are, adopting a dog, in certain cases, can be misused in a way that is detrimental to our psyches.
When a mother dog loses her puppies, an emotional void carves her heart, prompting her to reutilize her maternal instinct and hormones to reproduce; however, what often happens, as some observe, the dog will adopt an inanimate object, a toy for example, play with it, in an attempt to soothe herself. She’ll employ her a great portion of her energy and instinct towards this object, which will inadvertently result in a misallocation and misdirection of a genuinely core instinct many animals have: parenting and nurturing offspring.
The dog’s situation is a bit sorrowful, but what is even more sad is when humans do the same. I’m not describing women who lose their babies, but I’m merely describing some of the millennial generation who, despite having the financial capability, choose to refrain from having babies, in perpetuity, and instead opt out to raising and caring for dogs, thereby fulfilling, or, more precisely, soothing their potent--and very natural-- need to parent and raise children.
Children, although speechless for their first couple of years, and incapable of rigorous critical thinking for their first decade and a half, are essential not only for forming, uniting, and solidifying families, but for constructing whole civilization; after all, these children will grow up and have children of their own.
Research shows that couples with children are more likely to stay together than those who don’t. Children also, unintentionally of course, teach us to be selfless and responsible for entities other than ourselves; they teach us that love can also mean giving so much without expecting much in return. “Though dads [and moms] may initially moan about the loss of freedom that parenthood brings, [ they] most ultimately find that being a [parent] gives them a richer and fuller life. Raising kids forces [parents] to look beyond themselves, which is very good for their mental well-being,” observed Linda Waite, the coauthor of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially. Bearing children also “...inspires men [and women] to take better care of themselves physically, but it also fills them with a sense of purpose that genuinely enhances their psychological well-being,” as Marcus Goldman, M.D., author of The Joy of Fatherhood: The First Twelve Months, says. Dogs rarely offer these priceless benefits. In other words, bearing children is fantastically great--not only because it literally comprises and constructs whole civilizations--but precisely because the numerous psychological and physical benefits it affords parents.
The need for young men and women to parent is so entrenched in the human psyche, that it became commonplace for young men and women to call their dogs and kitties “my son or daughter.” Shane Morris, a parent of three, is so appalled by this that he is reckoning that in future DSMs, “replacement-baby syndrome” is going to be a legitimate psychological disorder--this could be an exaggeration, but this epidemic proves that it rightfully enraged many people.
The 11 billion dollars in the “pet-pampering” industry, proves that young men and women are starting to pretend that dogs are actually akin to children. They are not. It shouldn’t surprise observers that dogs and children are radically different: for starters dogs have “…the bloodlust, the joy to kill,” as Jack London writes in “Call of the Wild. Dogs have, since the advent of time, been humans’ hunting companion, rather than its supposed child.
The glamour and charm of “rescuing and adopting a dog” should be as visible and talked about as it is for raising and caring for children. Millennials, nowadays, need to shake off the desperate delusion that dogs are an adequate replacement for children, because not only it is a misdirection their very natural parental instincts, but also deprives them of the joy of having children. Dogs and cats don’t know better, but, one would hope, we do.