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Robert Kirby: If you can’t afford a dog, try leasing one

Pets take a lot of work. I let my neighbors do that, so I can just play with them.

Robert Kirby

I like puppies. They’re cute and wriggly and oh so playful. Unfortunately, they also grow up to be dogs.

While still adorable and wonderful companions, dogs require a lot of attention. So do most other pets — cats, horses, bunnies, guinea pigs, alligators, etc.

But for purposes of simplicity, let’s stick with dogs. You have to feed, walk and clean up after dogs. And you have to find sitters for them when you travel. These are things that need to be considered before taking one home because it was just so cute.

After our dog Daisy died last year, my wife and I made a pact. No more dogs. This doesn’t mean we were happy to see Daisy go. She was easily the most lovable animal in the world. As well as the dumbest.

(Photo courtesy of Christie Morgan) Daisy.

Our history with dogs is a long one. When we got married, we acquired a dog in lieu of immediately having a baby. We wanted the extra companionship when we came home from our jobs. We loved teaching the dog tricks, petting it, and encouraging it to choose a side in the occasional acrimonious marital dispute.

Babies make lovable companions as well, but it’s against the law to spay and/or neuter them. It’s also not a good idea to change their messy diapers with a shovel.

A couple of months after getting our first dog, we got pregnant. When the baby was born, we continued with the pet tradition. With the exception of two really strange cats, our pets have always been dogs. We simply arranged our family around them.

Now that Daisy has crossed the rainbow bridge, some of our daughters and grandchildren insist we get another dog.

Not happening. For starters, it’s possible that a dog will outlive us. Worse, we don’t want to outlive another dog. It isn’t fun.

Besides, we have better pets now. They’re adorable, messy, occasionally dangerous, but mostly adorable. Some of them even know how to drive. They’re called grandchildren.

The oldest, Hallie, is 20. The youngest, Ada, is 6. Rather she’s 6 “and a half,” a small fact that brings on a sharp correction if failed to be mentioned.

Hallie is engaged to a great guy, which makes a great-grandchild/pet within life’s reach of my wife and me. We can’t wait but hope they do. After all, a baby is something that should be planned.

So is a dog. I don’t know why a dog’s face says kinship to me. I suspect it’s the same for most people who love dogs. After thousands of years of domesticating wolves, a dog’s companionship seems wired in the human DNA.

Not everyone feels this way. Some people don’t care for dogs. Some fear them. For me, it depends entirely on how many teeth the dog has on display.

Fortunately, I found a way around not getting another dog. I just borrow the neighbors’ mutts. My personal favorite is Max, who lives across the street. A Great Dane, he’s the size of a Budweiser horse.

I always come home bloody and covered in slobber after wrestling with him, but it’s fun. There also are Brody to the east and Bear to the west. They’re great pets, too, mainly because someone else takes care of them.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.

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