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If you want a child, just get a dog.

If you get a dog, first get a plant and keep it alive for at least one year.

If you still want a dog, then get one, and keep it and the plant alive for that second year.

If you still want a child, get another dog.

If you love wearing different clothes, different looks, several times a day, get a dog.

If you love doing laundry for those same clothes every hour, get a dog.

If you love washing your hands 10 times a day more than you do now, get a dog.

If you love re-washing your hands after you’ve discovered there’s still dirt underneath your fingernails from throwing a very nasty, mud-covered ball, get a big, slobbery dog.

If you love watching your hard-earned money pissed away on expensive, “indestructible” dog toys which can be, in fact, destroyed in seconds, get a power-chewing dog.

If you love scooping poo, get a dog…and a clothes pin for your nose if, like me, you have a vomit-inducing fast reflex upon the smell of dog poo.

If you love walking 10 times a day so that another creature can go “do his business”, and that creature is not you or say, an elderly person you’re graciously taking care of, get a dog.

If you love hair, which is not yours, covering your couches as a slipcover would, get a dog.

If you want to know your vet on an almost intimate level, as intimate as a vet and client can get without snogging or shagging, and still pay him more than 200 each visit, then get a dog.

If you love seeing a happy, smiling, unconditional love in your face every day, several times a day, most definitely run to the nearest adoption center and adopt a dog.

If you love being loved by an innocent creature who can lift your spirits with one panting, drooling, tongue-hanging-out-the-side-of-his-mouth smiley greeting, get a dog.

I’m a dog and cat person. Actually, I’m an all-animal person. But every day, at least once a day (and that’s really underestimating it), I get not just my three “dog-like” cats waiting to greet me, following me around like dogs do, I also get our actual dog doing the same.

We’ve now had our dog in our family for a little over a year, and we are not worthy of having him, but we are so lucky to have given him what we hope he thinks is a loving home, one in which he feels safe, and happy, and healthy. Even though we found him on the side of the road with old telephone wire wrapped around his neck twice that he’d obviously chewed through to escape his situation, was infested with fleas, and definitely needed food, water, and a bath, I loved him from the first moment I saw him.

So far, he’s brought me out of my most depressing moments when no one else could. He’s given me a reason for getting up in the morning, for remembering that life really is as simple as a wagging tail, grinning, wet, sloppy kisses, and chasing a ball at full speed.

Love is a wet nose, a sloppy face-lick kind of kiss, an ear-to-ear grin, and a whip-like wagging tail.

If I haven’t made it clear: ADOPT A DOG. The benefits far outweigh everything else…except maybe all the laundry. There’s really a lot of laundry.

Just as much laundry I would have if I had a child.

Oh, there’s a buzzing sound. That’s definitely the buzzer on the clothes dryer. So, off I go in my clean “dog clothes” as I hear the yonder barking of the one who will, no doubt, send my clean clothes into a muddy, slobbery state (again) at which point, I will begin the vicious circle of laundry all over again.

Circle of life and all that bullshit…and for a dog, or any animal, totally worth it.