My fam­ily, my rules

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWOCENTS - By Kylin Zhang

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.

Il­lus­tra­tions: Luo Xuan/GT

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