Hairy Babies: Puppies Now, Children Later.


If you’ve been awake at all in the past 24 months, you will be aware that the economy is going through a “phase”.  It’s great to think about policy and data analytics, it’s important, but there are also real cultural implications of said “phase” as well.

One of these implications is that the prospect of becoming a parent seems to be a more and more distant future for a lot of young people.  There have been articles in the NY Times about the

ethical implications of having children.

Articles reminding young people of

how much debt they have

— as if Sallie Mae would ever allow us to forget.  Some articles even appear to

blatantly discourage having children.

All signs point to the fact that having children, regardless of desire, is not the “rational” decision to make right now.

But what does that change?  When have people ever been propelled by their sense of rationality?  Sure, people make statements like “I’m a pretty rational person,” but when it comes down to being happy, it’s not typically the rational decisions that immediately make us feel good.  In fact, being rational usually means sacrificing what you want to do for the long term good, whatever we might interpret that to be.

If the way people are approaching building families is shifting, so too is the way they fill the years that would have otherwise been filled with diapers and doctor visits.  Historically, peoples twenties were for baby making, but today in 2010, peoples 20’s are about fighting for underpaid jobs and managing to eat.

With all these things considered, rational, college educated, self-diluted, “socially responsible”  people are finding other ways to quell their baby cravings.  An obvious response is a puppy.  Insert a dog into all the scenarios and voids that a childless life has created, and you’ve found a nice emotional band-aid.  Something to carry you through the dreary days of the recession— or at least it’s first chocolaty coating.

The photos above were taken riding over the Williamsburg Bridge.  A woman, in her late 20s or early 30s, with her Lhasa Apso hanging out the back of her bag.  As she peddled, she reached back and gingerly stroked her companion. Riding by, one could catch a glimpse of a big smile beaming across her face, a grin that was clearly thanks to her sidekick in the messenger bag.

You see this idea start to take shape when you observe the decision making process of young people and how large a role their dogs are playing in that process.

Restaurants and Bars that are dog friendly

get patronized by pet owners.  People are renting apartments based on their proximity to dog parks— since they aren’t worrying about schools.  Many employers are luring potential employees with pet friendly work places.  Even New York Magazine felt the need to discuss the rise of

“Dog Identity Politics.”

In NY you see more and more people getting bolder and bolder with their dogs, bringing them cautiously into places that have always had imaginary signs that read “NO DOGS ALLOWED”.  The bottom line—people want to keep their canines close.

There is a distinct possibility that this a clever, but misguided observation.  However, dog ownership in 2010 is 26% higher than in 2001.  Maybe this is only a corollary, but it gives us one more thing to blame Wall Street for— the postponing of families across the country.  And maybe your first response is to run out and build a truly spectacular picket sign that says “The Robber Barons Robbed My Womb.”  But before you do that, consider the fact that maybe you wouldn’t have your trusty furry friend by your side had circumstance been any different.

Post By Joey Camire Photo By Joey Camire