I Like My Dog More Than My Children

by Maureen Stiles
Originally Published: 
A bronze Irish Setter dog looking gently at the camera

Lately I have been grappling with a disturbing notion which I cannot believe I am sharing with the world at large: I have been considering the very real possibility that I like my dog more than my children.

Now before you start Googling Montgomery County Social Services and remaining anonymous, I did not say I love my dog more than my kids. This is strictly a compatibility issue fueled by indisputable proof that the dog is really good company all day every day, which is more than I can say for my kids.

For example, when I come home, Murphy is just happy to see me. He does not frisk me for candy or treats. He does not ask me to cook him something before I even close the front door. He wags his tail and waits for me to pet him and then curls back up on his bed; satisfied that my mere presence means that all is right with his world.

Murphy listens to me, usually on the first try. If I say “come”, he runs to me. If I say “sit”, he sits. I don’t have to repeat myself or threaten to take away television for a week. One would think the kids would take note of this servitude and strive to keep up. Not a chance. If I thought he could make the kids’ beds, I would attempt it.

When Murphy rides in the car, he is just delighted to be included and not left to stare at us through the rectangle panes of the front door as we pull away. He does not ask where we are going, when we are going to be there or if we can stop at 7-11. He does not ever ask me to change the radio station to something that was recorded in this century. However, for the record, sometimes I am also appalled at what I am listening to. There is nothing worse than merrily driving along and suddenly realizing you are singing every word to “Maneater” by Hall and Oates. Even alone, I am mortified.

Dogs eat the same thing every day and never complain. The scrape of that cup scooping up his vittles is sure to make Murphy ecstatic each and every time we feed him. This is a refreshing change from the kids who offer an endless stream of complaints about anything that is not pizza, Chipotle or McDonalds.

Murphy only whines in the direst of circumstances; either injury or impending defecation. My kids whine when the wind blows. Hungry, hot, cold, tired, breathing…it all is whine worthy. Moreover, he can’t use the phone to whine at me remotely on the rare occasion that I am out alone. And if by some miracle he figured out how to call me and simper, it would lead to a boatload of money on America’s Funniest Home Videos so I would forgive him any sins.

He is the dream dog; affable, predictable and loyal to the core. But the one thing he is not? Human.

The best thing about my kids is that they are so magnificently human and flawed. The sheer unpredictability of children is the blessing and curse of parenthood. And even though many days with the kids have clearly gone to the dogs, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Related post: 8 Reasons Every Family Should Have a Dog

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