Why House Plants are Better than Dogs

Some people believe that a home isn’t a home without a dog. To hear these people talk, you’d think that shedded hair, sharp fangs, and crap on carpets are trivial matters. They’re barking money pits, these dogs, and for too long we’ve been under the false impression that they’re better than houseplants. Let’s investigate.

Unlike dogs, plants will forever maintain their poise no matter how many times you ring the doorbell. Calm, cool, and collected, the houseplant is a model of patience and even temperament. They bow down to nobody, see no race or class. Perfectly reflecting the modern zeitgeist, plants represent the highest ideal of egalitarian tolerance. Dogs, on the other hand, are famous for attacking mailmen — an obvious gesture of class warfare.

You can be sure plants won’t harass company at your next dinner party, but don’t be fooled into thinking they’re entirely dormant. They grow in response to Bach fugues, which would be a compliment to their ear, too, if they had one.

In light of nuclear disaster and the rising cost of gas, there’s a big hubbub about how best to harness the sun’s energy. But plants already settled this millions of years ago. Living off the sun’s rays, plants are their own solar panels. Scientifically way ahead of us and financially more responsible, plants don’t need government handouts for their energy exchange program. Shame dogs don’t eat rain and sunshine, eh?

It’s not all economics. Plants give back oxygen without even being asked. That is a real kindness because you can hardly overstate the importance of oxygen. Plants can’t help but be givers. In comparison, dogs only give you something with the understanding that you’ll throw it back to them over and over in an endlessly futile cycle. Also, dogs need to go to school just to figure out how to sit down or play dead. Plants don’t need to be taught to play dead. They’re autodidacts.

Admittedly, there’s something to be said for a dog that quietly nestles on your lap after a hard day’s work. But ask yourself: has your dog signed a contract indicating he won’t revert to pissy pre-housebroken days? What if some horrible canine violence on TV suddenly provokes him and he becomes a biter? Plants offer unrivalled peace of mind. You can take plants at their word. Nothing can make them bite you or shit under your bed.

Finally, after years of attachment, your plant will grow and so will your pleasure with it. With casual care, your plant can actually outlive you. No matter how much you care for your dog, it will end up dead in a crumpled heap on the floor. If you have kids, they’ll cry. All’s well that ends well, but it never ends well with dogs.

Yes, dogs can be sweet, cuddly and affectionate — they aren’t wholly without commendable traits, even though it’s much, much better to get a houseplant. But in all fairness, at least dogs are a cheaper, lower maintenance, and cuter alternative to getting a baby.


This post originally appeared on The Walrus Laughs

About Jeff Halperin

Jeff Halperin was a city hall reporter at the Toronto Standard, but his writing has also appeared at Maclean's, the Grid and elsewhere. He also writes on literature, Leafs, music, chess and more. Jeff's website is [here] For other PP posts by Jeff click [here]