The Many Reasons Not to Own a Dog

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For as long as I can remember, friends and family members have been encouraging me to get a dog. Their motives are deeply suspect. I think they want me to get a dog mostly so that I will have mastered the arcane skills needed to walk their dogs while they are on vacation. But I was not put on this planet to walk dogs, and this is a situation that is never going to change.

“I visit my son twice a year, and he has two very nice dogs. The couple of weeks I spend frolicking with them is more than enough to satisfy my annual cynophilic needs,” I explain. “I don’t need a dog 52 weeks out of the year. Four weeks is plenty.”

“But you seem to like dogs!” they insist. “You seem to enjoy throwing balls into bottomless ravines and swirling riptides and watching them fetch them!”

“I like giraffes and snow leopards too,” I reply. “But I don’t want them in my house either.” Dog lovers are nothing if not persistent. They view my lack of passion for dogs as a sign of moral callousness. I am willing to admit that not being interested in dogs probably is a character defect. But it is a character defect I am glad to have.

Dog lovers retain a jaw-dropping ability to ignore unimpeachable evidence that dogs do not, in fact, improve your quality of life.

“Oh, come on, dogs cheer you up and make even the gloomiest day seem bright!” they bellow in one last, sadly misguided effort to change my way of thinking. “I just got my rotator cuff repaired,” I remind them. “If a dog on a leash should go lunging after a squirrel or the DoorDash driver it’s going to wreck my shoulder for good.”

My logic is clearly irrefutable. Yet dog lovers retain a jaw-dropping ability to ignore unimpeachable evidence that dogs do not, in fact, improve your quality of life. Exhibit A: One of my friends recently tripped over her new puppy and ended up in the hospital with a badly gashed leg. Exhibit B: I twisted my knee when I made a lunge for that very same puppy as it was scurrying out the back door, presumably making a break for the Canadian border.

Also: Dogs are expensive. They constantly need tendon surgery or exotic medications or reprogramming for personality orders such as lunging at strangers or snacking on $1,795 Christian Louboutins (or any other shoes—they don’t appear to have any fashion sense whatsoever). They tear up flower beds and gnaw on furniture and growl at toddlers and howl for hours on end while their owners are attending a five-hour performance of Wagner’s “Lohengrin.”

Dog lovers refuse to recognize that a large segment of the non-dog loving population would prefer that they kept pythons or California condors as pets. Dogs cause bad blood with neighbors, make life miserable for mail carriers and don’t seem to understand that most of us actually like robin redbreasts and do not want to see them torn to pieces in the sort of recreational avicide dogs specialize in.


Are dogs overrated as pets? Join the conversation below.

Thankfully, in an unexpected development, I recently stumbled upon the perfect excuse to never get a dog. Trailblazing computer scientists at Newcastle University and the University of London have determined that popular pet-related apps may be exposing dog lovers to dire financial risk. It turns out that the apps used to keep track of a dog’s whereabouts or monitor its heartbeat can easily be hacked, exposing pertinent login information and even revealing the pet owner’s current whereabouts. As a result I might go out for a walk and come back to find my house ransacked or my bank accounts plundered or my priceless Martin D-28 guitar heisted by app-hacking thieves.

In short, the danger inherent in operating any sort of digital doggy device provides me with the ultimate reason to never get a dog of my own or to take charge of anyone else’s dog. The same goes for cats, ferrets and geckos.

A parakeet, I might consider.

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