While Seattle boasts 107,178 children it is home to about 153,000 dogs.
As a dog-loving Washingtonian, I’m not surprised by this statistic. But I don’t support the odd excesses of some pet owners. These include a woman who uses a baby stroller to keep her Chihuahua safe. “She also owns a basket full of dog clothes, including a few dog necklaces and wigs…”
Seattle Magazine notes the city is becoming a top destination for canine travelers.
Seattle’s dog-mecca status is starting to get noticed nationally; it’s considered one of the top 20 destinations in the United States for people who want to travel with their dogs, according to Melissa Halliburton, the founder of Bring Fido, a dog-focused travel agency out of South Carolina. “Seattle has 45 pet-friendly hotels, 38 [pet-friendly] attractions—including the dog-friendly Fremont Sunday Ice Cream Cruise…”
As delightful as an Ice Cream Cruise for dogs sounds, I’d prefer to invest in my children’s educations and take our Border Collies for a brisk walk. I’m sure they’d enjoy the frozen treat, but they will appreciate the exercise even more.
Why Dogs Instead of Kids?
Obviously, simultaneously enjoying human offspring and doggie kids is possible. They aren’t mutually exclusive. And most of the parents I know understand how having a dog in the family helps children grow up healthier (allergies aside).
The article asks this question and offers insightful thoughts.
Why are we so dog crazy? It could be that the 41 percent of us who are single appreciate the companionship. Maybe our outdoorsy pursuits are more fun with dogs. Or maybe dogs just make us feel good.
I heartily concur with the second and third points. And I find the first suggestion (highlighted in the original article) to be quite provocative.
God created us to desire companionship. “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man [or woman] should be alone…”
This companionship need not be restricted to marriage. Some people have the gift of celibacy and can live chastely without marrying. C.S. Lewis would be a good example of this. He found his needs for deep friendships met by a handful of intimate friends. The profound joy he experienced when he married caught him totally off guard.
Unfortunately though, there are many who long to find their life companion and have yet to find that prayer answered. Then there are those tragic cases where illness, accident or war have stolen a spouse far too early. The Christian Church has always possessed an intense compassion for widows.
In either of these cases, the companionship of a dog provides a responsive outlet for our affection. Here too C.S. Lewis provides an example. I’ve written here in the past about his love of dogs.
However, it is not only the still-waiting and the bereaved who find themselves reluctantly single.
Another case that is far more common arises when people have made themselves vulnerable and opened their hearts to another… only to be betrayed.* This betrayal may have been physical, emotional, or psychological. Often it is all of these.
In these cases, replacing our unfaithful partner with a dog is especially apropos. There could be no more faithful and forgiving a friend than a dog. A dog who welcomes you every time you come through the door with passionate enthusiasm and happiness impossible to fake.
The truth is that as special as they are, dogs aren’t better than kids… even in Seattle. But, that said, life is sure a lot more fun with them in the mix.
* Just as most of us know the pain of betrayal, many of us recognize we too may have been betrayers. There have been times—perhaps many—when we have disappointed or wounded those who trusted and loved us. However, it does not need to end here, with us mired in guilt.
If you find yourself in this situation, seek reconciliation or forgiveness from the person(s) you have wronged. Confess what you have done as the sin it is, and receive his promised forgiveness. And finally, as Jesus himself said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”