My family, my rules
Over the weekend, my husband and I went hiking in a natural park in Changping district with our dog, something my parents repeatedly say they don’t understand.
To them, a pet is a pet. It should stay home and be petted, instead of running around wild and “hiking” like a human.
But in the park, we found that we weren’t the only ones taking our dog out on a trip. We encountered a couple with a golden retriever playing by a river, then another one with two poodles, then a group of people with more than 10 dogs.
I got to talking with the couple with the golden retriever. The woman told me they have been married for more than five years and didn’t want children because they are too expensive. She and her husband have always loved dogs.
“A dog is basically like a child, except that it can’t talk,” she said. “We get the same level of reaction and love from a dog compared to a child.”
If my parents heard this, they’d probably freak out and call it heresy. To their generation, it’s unimaginable that young people would raise dogs as children. I did a search on the Internet and found that it’s not an isolated case. Some media have already started following this trend, naming the group Double Income, No Kids with a Dog (DINWAD), a twist on the word dink: a couple with two incomes and no children, which came into the dictionary in recent decades.
When the dink phenomenon first appeared, many thought it was just a phase among young people, that it would go away soon. But it didn’t. Traditional values are being challenged and young people now have more say and freedom to make decisions about their lifestyles.
The woman at the park said a bunch of her friends lead a similar lifestyle and that some DINWAD families do things for their dogs that would surprise many families with kids.
She told me about a DINWAD couple in their 50s that feed their bulldog the finest foods: chicken breast, salmon, even shrimp. I did the math; their dog eats better than me.
Another couple bought a custom-made mask just for their dog to wear on smoggy days. It’s a full size smaller than adult masks, like a mask for children but longer to fit the dog’s muzzle.
When I looked online, there was a lot of criticism of this practice. Some called the pet owners sick for treating pets like humans and not having children.
I think the posters should mind their own business. There’s nothing wrong with it; they are not breaking any laws and can do whatever they like with their money.
I understand where these couples are coming from. During my hike, my dog stayed close to me. We climbed hills, waded rivers and looked at the sunset together. He gave me his undivided attention, and I could sense how happy and devoted he was. I doubt I would have had more fun with a toddler.