Rule #30: Love Your Pets More Than Your Kids

At least grandma's got her priorities straight.

At least grandma's got her priorities straight.

You invest too much time and emotion into your children to be getting such a crappy return on investment.

No matter what their age, they disappoint and demoralize you without fail.

They may not pull this off all in one inglorious day, but just as sure as you’ll receive a stale Whitman Sampler for your birthday, it’ll happen until, bit by bit, their tiny failures will render your soul barren.

Your pet daschund, on the other hand, never lets you down.

While it doesn’t share your fancy DNA, it will curl up on your nice floral blouse from T.J. Maxx, lick itself and your navel in equal proportions, and make you giggle like a schoolgirl (compare this to your children, who merely heave regurgitated Cheerios on your nice floral blouse from T.J. Maxx).

Long before your children develop “egos” and think of themselves as “special” or part of a “cohesive family,” set the record straight: Show them that your pets are infinitely more adored than they are. These hard lessons will foment independence and a lifelong (some might say resentful) passion for hunting and/or shaming pets that look eerily like the animals they shared a home with when they were children.

Move Over, Junior

Never underestimate the power of the pet as a teaching tool for your kids. Point out to your child that it took your basset-hound pup exactly 10 days to learn to dispose of his Alpo waste in the same 2 square feet in the back yard—and your child still wears Pull-Ups to tee-ball practice because he can’t control his randy bladder when he sprints to the snack bar.

In this throw-down of child vs. beast, make sure the beast knows its cushy place:

Force your children to give up grub…

Your pet chimp, “Mr. Dingles,” has the appetite of a truck driver with a tapeworm. The grocery bill is extraordinary, but you need to make sure Mr. Dingles and his voracious needs are satisfied—so ask your children to forgo one of their meals every day for their primate brother.

The kids will be a little edgy about this proposition at first—after all, going to bed hungry while a chimp slurps the marrow off of a pork-chop meant for them brings out the worst in children—but they’ll adjust. They’ll also slim down and have fun guessing what fine food is in the excrement flung at them by Mr. Dingles from his seat at the dinner table.

Tell your kids to hit the road…

Boa constrictors are terribly misunderstood by everyone but you. For example, the kids didn’t seem to understand when your boa grubbed on their entire litter of bunnies. And they were even more confused when the boa followed it up by trying to strangle and disengage the prosthetic leg of the old kindly neighbor who bakes them apple crisps and slips them Nilla wafers out of pity.

But you realize it’s just a cry for help from the boa. It’s clear that the boa needs its own space—lots of it—so boot your kids out of their bedrooms and to set up a “sleeping compound” for the boa in one room and a “killing, maiming, and digesting compound” for it in another.

Your kids will enjoy feeling like refugees in their own house, especially when you set up their new bedrooms in the musty space behind the furnace.

Spend your money wisely, and only on things you absolutely love…

We could only afford one raincoat this year, Tommy, and you had to know it was not going to be for you!

We could only afford one raincoat this year, Tommy, and you had to know it was not going to be for you!

Your kids have toiled like migrant workers in the neighborhood—trimming thorn bushes, extracting poison ivy from grave markers—to earn thousands of dollars for a trip to Disney World. Trouble is, your 16-year-old Yorkie (yes, the one with four remaining teeth that resemble wet raisins) has a brain tumor the size of your foot.

Your trusted veterinarian, sensing that you’d do anything to save your pooch, suggests an innovative and highly experimental canine-head transplant at a clinic in Zurich. If all goes well, your ancient dog will come through surgery with the head of a Saint Bernard and live approximately three weeks. What a blessing—and it’ll only cost 20 grand.

Your kids will feel amazing about giving up their cash, and it’ll take years before they realize the college savings that grandma left them are gone, too.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

jason January 29, 2009 at 8:22 am

We had a golden retriever when I was growing up that my parents absolutely spoiled. They’d literally make a plate for him of whatever we were eating and I think sometimes he got more. I think he also got more expensive shampoo than me. Bastard.


Rachel January 29, 2009 at 11:09 am

pets don’t talk back. and if they do discover how to do this, you can hit them with a newspaper and no one will call child services.


baby's momma January 29, 2009 at 11:26 am

it’s a lot more fun to buy squeaky pizza slices and ducks than braces and diapers

and everyone should know their place- my boyfriend doesn’t dare sit on the pup’s spot on the couch


Father Knows Worst January 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm

@Jason: At least your parents bought you shampoo, though, right? Mine started shaving my head at an early age (See: Cut Your Child’s Hair at Home) and would hand-knit blankets out of it for their effing dog. I guess I’m just bitter.

@Rachel: What’s a “newspaper?”

@baby’s momma: You either have a very patient boyfriend, or a very ferocious dog. Either way, you’re doin’ thangs right.


Susan January 29, 2009 at 6:09 pm

And if your dog poops out after just a few years, you can always spend $155k to have him cloned.


Surfer Jay February 3, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Hey it happens! My dad talks to his dogs more than his family sometimes. Buys them steak and eggs too.


bri February 10, 2010 at 9:11 am

whats up with this its embrassing to america


Gregory February 10, 2010 at 10:28 am

@bri: Your spelling is “embarrassing” to America.


Shannon Green December 31, 2010 at 12:21 pm

@Gregory: Thank You!


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