You’re looking to expand your responsibilities in life and what better way than a dog? Bringing such a companion into your life certainly enriches it and brings an opportunity for maturity. It’s a step taken by millions every year across the globe.
It’s also commonly compared to being a parent. Having a kid, the argument goes, is similar in burden and responsibility to raising a child. Is that fair to say?
In brief, while there certainly are parallels between the two responsibilities – and both need you to be very much an adult – there are solid lines that must be reasonably drawn.
Why it does
The direct responsibility for a loving personality and the routine involved in keeping your pet happy and healthy are the most obvious links to parenthood.
While different breeds of dog will have more or less in the way of daily requirements such as exercise, all need a watchful and attentive owner in order to live a happy, natural life. It’s easy to see where the comparison to parenthood comes from; we all know the horror stories from our own parents growing up about how much work we were!
The combination of love and consistent care is a theme shared by both things – that’s fair to say.
Why it doesn’t
Simply put, there’s a life at stake. You can’t lock your child away for a working day with food and a bowl of water! Being a parent is like owning a dog in that care is required constantly, but the similarities reasonably end there.
The complexity of parenthood is staggering to the new family. Newly-born children are far from reasonable and require constant attention. Their health and wellbeing are delicate, and emergencies can occur in the blink of an eye with no time to waste in resolving them.
Their potential is also drastically different. Where owning a dog is a matter of repeatable care, raising a healthy child changes and evolves on an almost weekly basis.
It’s obvious to see why. Whereas a dog will reach something of a mental and physical maturity in a matter of years, the requirements and expectations of your child will grow and change throughout their entire life.
This is a fundamental difference and is so absent from the ownership of a dog that it’s unfair to argue that an owner will be prepared for parenthood largely due to the raising of their pet.
Why it’s fine to compare
If you spend your time researching the subject online, you’ll find many articles that sit on either side of the fence. Some will exhaustively list the comparisons and others vehemently deny the similarities. Both have their points to make.
Speaking practically, it’s healthy and fair to view owning a dog as a positive step in building the responsibility and maturity required for parenthood. While you’ll only go so far towards that goal through owning a pet, it remains one of the most rewarding challenges in life.