When you think of great minds in personal finance you may think of Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, or Jean Chatzky. You probably don’t think of a dog, but perhaps you should.
A few months ago my dog started doing something I had only read about in children’s books… burying dog biscuits in our yard. I remember the first time I saw him do it. I grabbed my wife and exclaimed, “Look at Jake! He’s being a dog!” (Sometimes, I’m not a wordsmith.) For a while, I thought he was just being a stupid dog. This past weekend when he retrieved one of his buried bones, something in my mind clicked.
Biscuits are like money for my dog. He was saving the biscuit for a rainy day when biscuits aren’t readily available. He’s learned to do what so many Americans have difficulty doing… passing up instant gratification for future benefits. I think this is noteworthy for two reasons:
- As my wife reminds me from time to time, “he’s a freaking dog.” (I give him more human-like privileges than most dog owners.) We didn’t train him to bury bones and he’s never seen another dog do it. Saving appears to be hard-wired into his brain… why do we have such difficulty with it?
- The second reason I find it noteworthy is that there’s significant risk and no reward to burying a bone for later. The bone may get washed away by rain or stolen by zealous squirrel. The bone itself will even likely have less “value” to a dog as it will be covered in dirt. When people save their money in banks, it comes with some security (FDIC) and they are rewarded with interest. People should be the ones doing the saving, not dogs.
This isn’t the only way he saves. Jake loves food – he’ll eat anything and everything and ask me for more. However, we found that if we give him food and leave the house, he won’t eat until we get back. I think his rationale is that there’s no guarantee we are coming back, so he better conserve his food until the providers of his food are back.
Perhaps Fox should create a television show that asks, “are smarter than a dog.”
Mrs. Frugal says
Excellent observation. Our Chihuahua is a great saver. Unfortunately she’s not great at deciding where to stash her assets. She works hard at it but inevitably ends up hiding her bones in plain site (like behind a chair leg) and our big dog will swoop in when her back is turned. Fortunately for her I’m her version of the FDIC.
Jen @ After The Alter says
Great thoughts! lol My dog is a total saver, and she won’t eat unless we are home either..as for her bones She tries to hide them all over the house! Her favorite spot is in my closet..sometimes I see her running out looking left and right with a bone in her mouth.
Most animals do save.
Lions will bury what they haven’t eaten for later.
Ants save food pretty much all the time.
The only animals that I can think of that don’t are house cats and fish.
Please don’t give them any ideas for more T.V. shows.
Mrs. Money says
One of my dogs would be screwed- she can’t eat fast enough! ;) She also will eat pretty much anything- spinach, carrots, fruit, etc.
As a kid, we had a beagle that we took on a camping vacation once. After 5 hours in the car, we set up the tents and fed the dog. She immediately took a bone and buried it. My dad said that she didn’t know the new place, so she was storing it up in case we didn’t feed her again.
I never thought about that as a financial lesson, thanks for the idea.
Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black says
My nephew used to store bits of his lunch in his cheeks. An hour later you’d notice him chewing while sitting in the living room, or playing outside, or sitting on the john. You’d think he wasn’t fed three meals a day and two snacks like clockwork. We used to call him a little chipmunk. It’s a wonder he never choked.
Money Reasons says
What you don’t realize is that you dog hosts an online seminars at night while you’re asleep, that I’ve been watching! I like this methods (although he doesn’t say much, or really anything), he uses the KIS principal (keep it simple) as his financial lessons.
Now I have to admit, it’s tempting to watch all those “Cat youtube videos” where one live for today, and plays complex cat and mouse games…
But I like your dog’s seminars. He has good
doghorse sense! ;)
Cool post, very original!!!
We had a dog who loved French Toast. I mean, it was his favorite thing to eat. Tristan would also ask for a piece to take outside, not to bury, but to put on the bottom step in the garage. Later, the French Toast would be gone and Tristan had been in the house the whole time.
We finally figured out what he was doing-feeding a possum who lived upstairs in the garage!
He often would ask for his piece of French Toast to take outside and put in the garage BEFORE he would come back and ask for his own piece to eat.
Tristan did this for several years and since possums live only about 2 years, he must have been donating to the offspring as well.
So, he was aware of the need to share, donate, give away, which is an important part of any debt reduction strategy, um?
Charlotte Prescott says
What a delightful post! I forwarded it to my daughter and her other middle-school friend. As lifelong animal lovers, it’s pretty much a given that your dog will be listened to more than any lectures from silly adults.