Sunday, January 20, 2008

Is having dogs better than having kids?

I could re-write the headline to read: "Atlanta Braves player and 23-year old new wife delay having kids."

It seems recently-married Atlanta Braves heart-throb, Jeff Francoer, and his wife, Catie, are more interested in their pet dogs at the moment than starting a family. And why rush? They have known each other since 3rd grade, and now want to enjoy some quality time with each other and their dogs before having kids.

According to the article "Meet the Francoeurs" in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Every weekend, Brody [one of their two infirmed King Charles Cavalier spaniels] goes to a pet shrink for his anxiety issues. "Our little mascots," Catie calls them. "They are great birth control." "Oh yeah, they are," agrees Jeff. They've decided to wait at least five years to have a kid.

Which makes sense, of course. At age 23, Jeff is a young ball player entering the peak years of his profession, which includes extensive travel and time away from home.

But what is it about having dogs that seems to be a better substitute for having a family? Wait, don't answer that - I sense that those readers who are parents will be a little too quick on the draw on that one.

I grew up with dogs and have fallen prey to their wiles. I would say I am a dog person, even though I don't own one now (allergies). While they do need potty training and a gentle scolding now and then, dogs don't talk back, they give unconditional love and with a life span of just 10-15 years or so, they get out of your life relatively quickly. You can give them away at any time and can even crate them at night or board them when you take a trip with no calls from DFCS. If you don't like the one you have, you can get another one if you feel like it (or not!). Mrs. Hughes, a comedian with a short bit on You Tube, put it best when her 15-year old son asked why she had him and she replied, "Well we didn't know it'd be YOU."

When I think of it this way, there are times I would prefer a dog to my husband.

In an earlier post I quoted my own mother, a dog breeder, who said, "Carol, I don't know why you want to have kids so badly. Why, if we didn't have kids, it would have been that much sooner that we would have gotten our dogs!" I just remember doing a double take to look at her, and she was dead serious (maybe I should pick a better adjective) and very intent on describing her love for her dogs. To this day, this quote just cracks me up. If it didn't, I'd be in some serious counseling.

So what is to become of us? Should I get a chart out and plot the population growth of the King Charles Cavalier spaniel compared the population growth of the American homo sapien? When I look at the United States' total fertility rate, we are at 2.09 according to the CIA World Factbook, just barely at the replacement rate for our population (a rate of two children per woman is considered the replacement rate for a population, resulting in relative stability in terms of total numbers). We are ahead of Canada at 1.61 but behind Mexico at 2.39. China is at 1.75, but in terms of sheer numbers, their population (1.3B) pretty much quadruples ours (301M). That makes their replacement rate more like a 7 if you normalize this for the US population. Hope you like dim sum.

With 73 million dogs in the US and an average litter size of way more than 2.09 puppies (plus multiple litters per bitch), I'm pretty sure I can skip over the hard math here to point to the concern that the US population may end up having more dogs than children in our near future. While I'm not sure if little Spot will be groomed properly to become our next president, chances are likely that he will be owned by very happy DINKs similar to Jeff and Catie.

Do you think I should call Catie and let her know about her biological clock?

1 comment:

MrsGuru said...

Honestly, I think you should call her. I thought I had all the time in the world, and look at me now. Two dogs.... haha

BTW, I can't remember if I emailed you back that I can't remember how I found your site. I was up all night and it was a blur. But, I do like to hit NEXT BLOG so I almost think it was that.

Great post!

Connie (aka Mrs Guru)