Tech Pets: A Student’s Plea for More Plastic Dogs

Dear Readers,

Today had a most unfortunate beginning. On top of my other incredibly taxing morning duties, such as waking up, I am currently responsible for a living breathing animal. Yes, I have been roped into dog-sitting, which is remarkably worse than people-sitting.  Mothers don’t leave you alone with their offspring for a week at a time. But somehow it’s perfectly socially acceptable for a pet owner to dump their burden on an unsuspecting friend for 8 excruciating days.  Now, I want it on record that I am neutral when it comes to animals. I live with two cats and even pet them occasionally. I have just never been keen on taking another living things life into my less-than-capable hands. But I digress.

The owner had cleared out her entire living room. It is devoid of books, papers, pillows, and chords. All so this energetic little scamp can romp and roam the room without fear of breaking things. But somehow, there is always something to break. So far this dog has destroyed two blinds, a lamp, a Tupperware container, turned over his food dish, opened kitchen cabinets to pull out appliances, and basically driven me bat-crazy.  He even found an old Chinese food bag to tear up (which I’m not sure WHERE he got because the trash can is locked away too).

Basically this dog is an adorable walking nightmare. This truism leads me to the real body of this post: Why Robo-Dogs are Infinitely Better than Your Dog.

Robot Pets are the pets of the future. Adopt a robot pet, enjoy the benefits of a pet, without the inconveniences. – RobotShop

It’s not like our culture hasn’t been fascinated with robotic pets for a while now. The first robotic dog’s name was Philidog and made his debut at the 1929 International Radio Exhibition in Paris. Since then we’ve had a myriad of improvements on the design.

Robodog through the ages: from beginning to now.
Robodog through the ages: from beginning to now.


And it’s not just dogs. Take a moment to recall your childhood. Furbys, FurReal kittens, Tamagachis and Webkinz are prominent robotic pets your parents used to satisfy your urge for animal companionship without having to walk, feed, or clean up after something. It was a beautiful compromise.

The fact of the matter is that a real pet can tie you down. You can’t go on vacation, or even out after work for drinks without thinking about who is going to let the dog out, or who is going to feed the bird. (Incidentally, birds bring up a whole other list of life-altering problems. Did you know birds can’t live in a house with Teflon coating? What is that about?) Personally I think all houses with pets should be equipped with that rube Goldberg machine from the Back to the Future title sequence:

Back to the Future Dog Machine

I bet Doc never asked Marty to feed Einstein while he was traversing the space time continuum.


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