A Dog Is Not a Child. True, and Yet.

Every pet owner has the capacity to go "over the top" to show their love, but for non-parents, animals claim all the attention. For childless women in Japan, it's all about the dog.

Americans do love their pets: a whopping 62% of us. Of that, almost half are dog owners.  One day I may go canine, but for now I have a lovable, easy-to-take-care-of cat. I know, as does everyone with a cat, bird, ferret or gerbil, that when people speak of pets, dogs rule.

Several Moms have shared that their relationship with their pet hasn’t been the same since the kids arrived. That’s logical, and appropriate.

For women without children, however, the pet enjoys all of its owner’s attention. For those who insist on referring to the animal as their “child” or compare its care to that of a human baby, disapproval seems to be the most common response. And while many Americans are struggling to get by, isn’t there always someone investing in designer doggie wardrobes and luxurious pet beds?

It may be that we are amateurs.

In tiny Japan, more than 22 million pets are pampered and bedazzled with shoes, hoodies, diapers and even sunglasses. The nation is worried about a plummeting birthrate, but  The Guardian reports that  many Japanese women deliberately choose Pet over Parenthood.  A young cameraman explained,

“In Japanese society, it’s really hard for women to have a baby and keep a job … so my girlfriend decided against having a baby, and that’s why we have a dog instead.”

The article goes on to describe pet photo sessions, buggies, massages, spas and aromatherapy gaining popularity across the country. A successful Tokyo eye surgeon said,

“Japanese dog owners think a dog is like a child. I have no children, so I really love my two dogs.”

“Love” may be a bit of  understatement. Even in space-hungry Japan, the surgeon’s poodle (named Ginger) and chihuahua (what else but Tinkerbell) have their own room. Their closet is full of entire wardrobes carefully placed on tiny, jeweled hangers. 


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