I Wish My Son Was a Dog

A few years ago, I was involved in a blogging relationship with Toyota (which happily, is the brand of car my family drives), and at that time, they had a Facebook-voting based competition between charities called “100 Cars for Good“. They were giving away a car once a day for 100 days, and 5 nominated charities would compete every day, voted on by the People of Facebook. I was an avid voter and encouraged others to vote as well. It was a great effort by Toyota.


The charities that benefited ANIMALS almost always, with very few exceptions, beat out the charities that benefited PEOPLE. It didn’t matter whether the non-profit was geared toward cancer, homelessness, domestic violence, people with disabilities, or kids in need – the animals almost always won.

And it made me SO angry. Day after day after day. If there was a day that no animal charity was featured, I breathed a sigh of relief. Otherwise, I sat back and watched charities for humans get defeated.

Now, I am not an animal-hater, and I believe God put them on this earth for a reason. Especially those that can be called pets and are excellent companions. Especially those that are used in service for people with disabilities and for law enforcement. All animals, while not made in the image of God as humans, are, display the glory of God and His hand in creation.

But they do not have the same rights, feelings, privileges, and souls as people. Sorry kids. I do NOT believe that all dogs go to heaven. If I am pleasantly reunited with my favorite cat, Fuzzy, in heaven? BONUS! I LOVED that cat. I cried BUCKETS when he passed away. But do I think I will see him in heaven? I am not banking on it. And if my cat is not in heaven with me, it doesn’t matter. What matters? Life. All life. #AllLivesMatter but I will unapologetically say to ANYONE who will listen that HUMAN LIVES MATTER MORE THAN ANIMAL LIVES DO.

The truth is, my friends, we live in a society that de-values human life.  (Remember that salad-and-wine filled talk that hit the fan last week about selling human body parts from aborted babies, anyone?) And in a competition between charities, Oh-em-gee-so-freaking-cute-puppies are just SO much more cuddly than adults with disabilities. Or kids with cancer. Or women in domestic violence shelters.

One UK dad, Alex Smith, found this out the hard way, after he and his wife received a devastating diagnosis of the fatal Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy for their son Harrison when he was 4 years old. Alex quickly jumped into action and founded the non-profit Harrison’s Fund to raise money for Duchenne’s research, in hopes of finding a cure during his son’s lifetime (most with Duchenne’s live until their 20s or 30s.)

harrisons fund

Photo of the Smith family via Harrison’s Fund

One day Alex was watching TV when he saw a news report in September 2014 about the Manchester Dogs Home, which had burned down, killing 60 animals and leaving dozens more homeless. This dad of a dying boy was stunned as he saw that the public donated 1.5 million pounds in just one week to the Manchester Dogs Home.

1.5 million pounds in a week. For dogs.

A flabbergasted Smith told the UK Daily Telegraph, “I really wondered why anyone would suddenly donate to a dog’s home when children are dying.”

I wonder the SAME THING. It’s insane in my eyes. INSANE.

Smith’s shock eventually led to a stunning ad campaign entitled “I wish my son was a dog.”  It featured two versions of an ad that asked “Would you give 5 pounds to save Harrison’s life?” One version of the ad featured Harrison’s photo; the other version featured a sad-looking dog.

harrisons fund 2

Any guesses as to which ad received more clicks when it was run on a MSN.co.uk?

THE DOG OF COURSE. The DOG got twice as many clicks. You only realized the dog was actually a BOY if you read the fine print. A discouraged Smith says, “‘I love dogs, too. But you have to ask why would anyone prioritize a dog over a child?’’

Why, indeed? I have NO IDEA. But one quick scroll down Facebook and the #dogsofinstagram hashtag on Instagram doesn’t give me a lot of hope that this will change any time soon. I mean, in the good old US of A, where there’s plenty of poverty, disability, and disease to raise funds for, consumers spend $350 MILLION on Halloween costumes for their pets in 2014. $350 MILLION. For. Pet. Costumes.

Let’s let that astronomical sum sink in. Then let’s pull our heads out of our rear ends, get our priorities straight, and start giving to causes that actually MATTER.


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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.