Written by Emily
Amelia, my good friend and former Fourtuitous contributor, just got a puppy–an adorable, cuddly, precious puppy. Naturally, people think first comes puppy, then comes baby. Because a puppy is essentially baby practice, right? They’re really very similar. Why not? Jump in. Have a human this time.
Except, they’re not the same. Although a puppy requires a lot of work and attention, a puppy is not really baby prep. Not really. Let’s review.
- You can’t crate train babies: Never put a baby in a cage. A crib is not the same thing, although my children acted as though it was. If I would have really put my children in cages, my husband probably would have called child services. Probably. There were some tough days.
- Babies need more maintenance: Puppies need a bath about once every three months. After one week of not being thorough with the washcloth, I discovered a strange stink emanating from my baby boy. Trapped under his chin, in the folds of his neck skin, was the most putrescent smell I’ve ever experienced. Milk had gathered there and had begun to turn to Limburger cheese. That was one week. Your puppy stinks? Take her to a groomer. You don’t even have to deal with that yourself. Take your baby to a groomer, and you’ll be asked to leave town.
- Babies require more attention: Although a puppy may not prefer it, puppy owners can leave their little ones alone in the house for hours at a time. No need to go through the hassle of hiring a puppy-sitter for a trip to the mall or the post office. There may be a surprise waiting on the floor when you return, but there won’t be police surrounding the house with a warrant for your arrest. Go ahead: have a social life AND a puppy. I don’t know if a social life and a baby go together; I’ve never tried it.
- Feeding babies is a hassle: Even though you can do this with a puppy, don’t give a 4-week old baby solid food even if it’s softened with milk. Wait until 4-6 mos, and get ready to wear it. I know, your puppy ate from her bowl like an expert, devouring every morsel with enthusiasm. My 15 mos. old hurls yogurt across the room, wears it down her front and spits out the very food she loved yesterday.
- Potty training won’t happen over night–Your puppy was house-trained at 6 months? Try two years for your human baby. At least the baby won’t have accidents on the floor, says the puppy owner. Oh, I don’t know. Yesterday, I turned the corner to find Sylvie bracing herself with the freezer door handle while a fountain of pee cascaded to the floor. She then stomped in it like it was a rain puddle. I had her diaper in my hand. My big boy sprays the bathroom every morning, and I’m sure there’s more pee on the floor than in the toilet bowl.
- Babies are expensive–At PetSmart, your pup graduated from school with an advanced degree in about 24 weeks. Each 6-week session cost about $100. A bit steep. Childcare for the first five years will average about $13,000 a year. So, it’s similar. Add to that about 15 viruses in the first year alone with the doctor bills to show for it. Public school is free, which is excellent, but your child needs an advanced degree like the pup, so we’re talking ballpark $64,000 for a state school and $220,00 for ivy league. I didn’t mention the $12,000-$14,000/year to simply raise a child . A dog costs about $500/year. So unless you have 101 dalmatians, puppies are much cheaper.
- Disciplining babies is complicated–Avoid hitting babies with rolled-up newspapers and NEVER push their noses into their own feces while saying, “Who did this? Who did this?” If you do that to your baby, the therapy sessions will start even earlier than they will because of the flippant remark you made under your breath on the way to Target one time. You know, the comment that will give your son an inferiority complex and a complete inability to find the woman of his dreams or hold a job for longer than 2 weeks. You don’t remember making that comment? It doesn’t really matter, your child does.
- Babies are delicate–Do not use any of the following for your baby: shock collar, invisible fence, muzzle. There will be days when you wish you could, but there are laws against that sort of thing. I checked.
- Babies wear clothes and can never find them, so you will always be late even when you think you are prepared–Turn to your puppy and demand she find her shoes and her coat. She’ll look at you with the same shocked expression my children use every. single. time we leave the house. Every. Single. Time. Make sure the puppy has food and water and just go!
- Babies are needy–Puppies can’t talk. Neither can babies. Your puppy needs one of four things: to go out, to eat/drink, to walk, to have a scratch. You tried all of those things with the baby and she’s still crying. It’s been two hours. She’s still crying. She doesn’t even know what she wants.
- There is no such thing as a baby kennel–You want to go on a romantic get-away with your husband? A real vacation with resting and relaxing? There are kennels for watching that pup of yours–businesses full of trained professionals willing to care for your furry friend while you bask in sunshine. Do not drop your baby off at these establishments if you ever want to see it again. You don’t want to see it again? Oh, all your friends told you a baby was an easy transition from a puppy, the puppy that has grown into a dog that sleeps all day and is excited to see you no matter what, the one that doesn’t talk back or have mood swings or refuse to eat the dinner you prepared for an hour?