Kids vs. Dogs

Today’s post comes from Trail Baboon’s Living and Loving Correspondent B. Marty Barry.   He’s a bottomless well of wellness!

Yes, it’s my life’s work to be there for people when they need to talk.

And once we get past the preliminaries and start to explore hidden areas that are truly and deeply painful, my clients will ask me why their children are not as sociable as their dogs.

There is a great deal of guilt and anguish here, because people just naturally feel responsible for how their kids turn out.  They believe that it should be more pleasant to hang out with Timmy or Susie than it is to spend the afternoon sitting by the fire with Sparky.

After all, children have the ability to speak an understandable language and hold conversations.  They can tell stories and jokes.  They’ve got  the higher brain functions to enjoy and create art.  There are all sorts of enjoyable pastimes that are family-friendly.

Meanwhile, dogs shed, have bad breath, and poop in the yard.

It should be no contest!

My clients feel terrible about preferring their dogs to their kids.  When I ask them to tell me more, I usually hear that the children are sullen and self-absorbed.  They barely speak and only interact with their electronic devices.  And they almost never make eye contact with another person, especially not their parents.

The dogs, on the other hand, are enthusiastic and playful, unless you’ don’t want to play.  If that’s the case, then they’re patient and attentive, but quiet.  And eye contact is a canine specialty – they do it constantly, with intensity and love.   Unless you’re holding a treat, in which case they watch you with joy and anticipation.  But dogs are always totally OK with whatever you want to do.

Once I get them talking along these lines, people eventually realize they are unfairly judging the children because no human can compete with a good dog for sociability.

I always take note of the children’s names.  Someday they may need to talk deeply about how they resented Brandy’s easygoing relationship with mom and dad.

And now academia has decided to address dog cognition.  Look at these programs!

What this means is that now those same sullen, uncommunicative children who were less engaging than Fido can someday leave home, go off to school, and run up $300,000 in college debt watching  a dog, which is basically the same thing you did, for free, while they were away.

But if this scientific research bears fruit and we are better able to understand the level of awareness of dogs, maybe it will open up a whole new range of opportunities for people like me.  Getting dogs to talk would be a world-changer.  After all, I can only guess the emotional toll it takes on old Buster to know that he is, and always will be, the favored child.   

Who was your parents’ favorite? 

56 thoughts on “Kids vs. Dogs”

      1. I have been known to tell Darling Daughter that she is my favorite daughter. Also, for the record, I am my aunt’s favorite niece. I know this because she tells me (never mind that I am her only niece…).

        Liked by 2 people

  1. In the toddler years,I would tell the s&h he was my faaavorite boy. He would kindly respond that I was his favorite mom.

    These days, the cats might well be giving us a run for the money ;).

    Growing up it was my youngest brother. Today it is my oldest brother, the middle child. Daughter-wise I am a distant third to the tow sisters-in-law. Both very nice women, I like them too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. I have a note up in my cube that Young Adult wrote to me when she was at Girl Scout camp a decade ago that says “I love Mommy and Zorro.” I keep it because I rarely get top billing over the cat!


  2. I was my dad’s favorite until I was about 16 years old, and, perhaps because I looked and behaved so much like him and my sister did not, my mom favored my sister. In all honesty, she was much cuter than me, so I can’t really blame her. She was the noisy cute one, and I was the quiet smart one.

    Later on, I was the one who couldn’t get away from home fast enough, while my sister remained close to home. Dad found it ironic that my sister married our next door neighbors’ son while I married a man from across the Atlantic Ocean. Sums us up pretty well, worlds apart.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Don’t know that chatty is the word, tim. She was prone to throwing tantrums when she was little, and has continued through adulthood to get her way by intimidating others.


  3. I am an only child and I was the favorite, although my dad really loved his pugs, too. I am happy to report that daughter decided to friend me on Facebook. It has been a long wait.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. i was commenting to my wife yesterday how lucky we are to really like all 5 of the kids. they are great. my favorite is always the one i am thinking about at the moment. i was in a family of need based higherarchy and i wasnt very needy as a kid. let me loose. youngest sister was needy, she sucked up my moms emotion for dispersal. my dad was good at covering all his bases.


  5. For my father this order:
    [big gap]
    the horse
    my mother
    all the other animals
    [big gap]
    my ex-brother

    For my mother
    my sister
    my father
    my ex- brother

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As a sidebar, the order for the rest of the world was:
      [big gap]
      and then,”You have a brother?”

      My sister was and is one of those unforgettable people who can get most people to warm up to here.


      1. No he divorced from us, in grand fashion in front of the attendees at our mother’s funeral. He is paranoid, I mean as a real disease, not just an adjective.


        1. every family has its issues. i have a sister who is the paranoid and the whack job
          i tried to be forgiving and give her one more chance but at her insistence that i be written out of my moms will or she wouldnt sign off on the legal paperwork my mom mistakenly made her responsible for i realized it was a moot effort. to need to re excuse every 6-9 months is not anything i need to concern myself with.
          my mom is the caretaker enabler personality and used to ask me to understand. now she respects my request that annie not be mentioned in my presence. it turns my stomach at the mention of her. my poor mo i ask her not to mention her family too. 4 sisters one worse than the next. its an odd deal. my mom is the sweetest person in the world and she is surrounded by all these awful people.
          i must be the bright spot in her day.
          actually she and my sister the schoolteacher have turned out to be best friends. a little weird but really nice for both of them.


  6. My father was the oldest of three children but the least favored by his parents, although he was always the one his parents called on for any help. He was the favorite grandchild of is paternal grandmother, which is saying something given she had 12 children and numerous grandchildren. He spent lots of time with her as a very young child and she seemed to think his antics, such as dismantling the victrola, hiding in a cupboard to eat syrup our of large cans, and getting lost in a cornfield and needing to have neighbors and law enforcement find him perfectly charming.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have observed as a pastor that if the elderly have a choice on which child to call on, they will not want to bother the favorite.


      1. I think my father’s’ status was due to his being the reason my grandparents got married in the first place. Little Jake arrived an embarrassing 6 months after the wedding. As my mom said “that happened back then, too”.


    2. I have to hand it to my paternal grandparents. They made very certain that as far as they were concerned, the 17 grandchildren were absolutely to be treated equally.

      I imagine they could not really understand any of us, but that did not matter. They would not criticize us.


      1. my grandparents were the recipients of the biggest asskissing campaign ever launched. i think it made them sick but it worked. my cousins will be ever in their debt as to the inhertiance they received and my mom will forgive them. theres that damn side of the family again.
        dale do you start trouble like this on purpose?
        my dads family was disfunctional in a way i can handle. moms side no way it will ever be anything other than next subject please.


        1. I suspect my grandparents were spared that as a side benefit of rigorous equality.

          I do know from Grandpa that it was a conscious decision on his part due to the fact that his younger brother was always favored for several reasons, not one of them fair or nice.


  7. Good morning. I think my parents tried to avoid having a favorite. As far as I know they favored my brother and I equally. That’s what I noticed. Maybe they favored one of us over the other privately. I certainly try to keep any information about which of my daughters I favor to myself and try to show no favoritism.


      1. So I’m wrong . . . again! I thought my erstwife was a typical first-born. From the time she was tiny her mother called her “Princess,” and generally expected her to behave accordingly. Her parents loved all their kids, but none of the latter arrivals were royalty.


  8. Is that your dog, Dale? What a beauty, whoever – look at those eyes.

    My folks treated us equally, I’m sure, but I know my sister was more of a handful than I was. My mom’s family sounds interesting – 7 kids, first two were the golden children, Connie and Bobby, and then I’m sure the last one, Buddy, got tons of attention (and had quite the personality). Next to last child, Darrel, must have had a personality that clashed with Grandpa’s, he got the brunt of G’s anger. Three girls in the middle I don’t know much about, but my mom was the one who went to college, and G’pa loved that.


      1. No cataracts? What a healthy looking dog. Our little terrier is 13 and recently managed to sprain her tail. It is hard to be an excited little terrier when it hurts to wag! She is on doggy anti-inflammatory meds.


  9. My dad liked my oldest sister best. To this day, oldest sister will tell us how wonderful our dad was, and the different voices he used when reading aloud to the kids, and so on and so on. My other sister and I just look at each other and think, “Who is she talking about? That wasn’t our experience.”

    My mom liked her garden best. None of the rest of us came close to rivaling the garden in her affections.

    I can certainly see why I wasn’t my parents’ favorite. I had hearing problems until I was 4, which I’m sure made life challenging for them, and after that, I could be quite the smart aleck and probably annoyed the snot out of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. My sister would be all over this topic, but she is distracted today with medical stuff. My parents would have been outraged at anyone who suggested they were partial to one child over another. My sister was (and is) totally convinced she was an outsider in our family, a sort of omega pack member that was more tolerated than loved. Try as I might, I cannot be sure where the truth lies. To some extent, a family member convinced that he or she is an outsider will probably come to be seen that way. As it so often happens with relationships, cause and effect get mixed up until it is impossible to say which is which.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, wolf experts are sorry that the whole alpha, beta, omega thing has caught on with the public as well as it has. That concept misleads some folks about wolf behavior. But it remains true that in several species of social animals it is not unusual for one to suffer the life of a scapegoat.


  11. Nothing interesting in my family. My sibs and I often comment to each other that our parents were even-handed, even-loving. It might have helped that we each had a unique spot. I was the oldest, my brother was the only boy and my sister was the baby.
    My father had 4 sisters and all but one of the kids had a special spot – oldest, prettiest, the boy (my father) and the baby. The middle girl was treated TERRIBLY, from what I hear, and led quite a miserable life at least somewhat as a result.


  12. “What this means is that now those same sullen, uncommunicative children who were less engaging than Fido can someday leave home, go off to school, and run up $300,000 in college debt watching a dog, which is basically the same thing you did, for free, while they were away.”
    Nice humor and wordsmithing.

    Liked by 1 person

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