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I did the poll and was astonished at the graph. "Oh my god," I thought. "I've never seen a poll so starkly skewed before. EVERYONE chose the kid." Then I saw I was the only one who had done it so far....

i would put the money in for the baby almost everytime. i love animals, i do, very much but i think a human baby should come first. i would/do sometimes donate to animal causes though, just not as much.

Can't we choose both?

The baby gets it everytime.

But here's the other thing. If it's two baby charities, I tend to put it in the one that's more local. Or the one that gets less attention nationally. Or the one that someone I know personally has been affected or helped by. Think globally, act locally.

Oh! And give blood.

kid definitely. I am NOT a dog person. or a cat person. no pets for me, please.

The children would win every time. I adore animals. I have always loved animals. But if it came between saving a child and saving an animal, its always gonna be the child.

Now, if I could donate $$ to the children and then dig into my grocery bag to save the dog, I would definately do that.

I choose both, but only if the charities look legit. But I guess neither is also a choice I'd make as I don't always notice the cans or don't have time to think about it. There are some strange causes out there hiding behind pictures of kids and dogs!

Domesticated animals hold a very special place in my heart as they remain so dependent on us our entire lives.

typo above- I meant THEIR entire lives!

Neither -- I don't leave money in collection points at cash registers -- they are too easy to steal, and aren't always legit. I donate directly to known causes/agencies.

To answer the spirit of your question -- my money goes to humans every time. I like animals OK, but humans are first on my list!

Ashamed to say that the change comes home to my kid's piggy banks... But I don't trust those tins... I worked on retail for over 8 years, and those things were FOREVER getting stollen. Even when we glued them to the counters, they would get yanked off and stollen. Sad to know your money is probably going to drugs, instead of the charities.

I have sponsered children from other countries before though. Need to get a new one, as the last one grew up and out of the program.

If you hadn't put the "neither" option in there, I probably wouldn't have answered the poll. I really don't ever put money in collection tins at cash registers. I always feel like there's something seedy about them. I buy candy bars from kids selling for their soccer teams, and I make donations to charities I believe in. But just throwing my change in a milk jug? I really don't. In real life, I have donated a lot more money to animal charities than I have to human relief charities. I think, because I live in an affluent area of an affluent country, the plight of needy animals affects me more personally than that of needy people. I don't mean to sound heartless...I just mean that I SEE more needy animals in my life than I do needy people. Most people around here are doing pretty much okay.

I fear the response, but I'm a dog person. I'd be a dog person if it were a child from the united states or africa or anywhere. My Katrina donations primarily went to the ASPCA, too. It's not that the child isn't deserving. But I think pretty much everywhere animals suffer more than the wose off humans, and I feel more compassion for them.

Egg Donor hugs her dogs

Kids over animals every time. Unless the animal charity is population control - they don't get my money ever! Now, I know the problem behind animal population is a human one - which leads me to my irrational belief that animal owners are an irresponsible lot. I know, not all, not most, not your neighbors, but a bunch of them, yes? - otherwise, no mangy, neglected looking dog to post.

Definitely the kid. I hate dogs.

I chose the child because humans have to come first in my thinking, even though I love animals too.

I have always donated money to various charitable organizations but this year I've found one that is bringing me more satisfaction. It's called "The Box Project" www.boxproject.org

The box project links sponsors with families in need in America. Many live in the Mississippi Delta, Native American reservations in SD, rural Maine, etc... The sponsor pledges to send the family a box of needed things every month and the recieving family promises to write a letter upon receiving the box each month. The idea is for a relationship to grow and for the sponsor family to serve a mentoring role.

My BP family lives in the Delta and was spared damage by Katrina, but I read that the local stores (8 miles away) ran out of food last weekend so the effects of the hurricane are far reaching and not always apparent. Since my BP family doesn't have a car and has to pay someone to take her shopping it isn't as easy as simply driving 15 miles to the other shopping area.

BP also looks for Holiday sponors each year to help make the holidays special for families in need. So if you don't want to make a year long commitment, being a holiday sponsor might work for you.



The dog. Don't get me wrong-I love kids. We've been trying to have one for the last 4.5 years. But I already donate to a couple "kid" charities. I have 2 dogs and if something ever happened-I would want someone to donate for them.

Ha, well, I guess Egg Donor kind of got there first. Change into a tin on the counter? I'd give it to the dogs. The reason is probably because I have 2 dogs that I love very, very much, and no human children. If I had children, my answer would very probably be different. If it had been any animal other than a dog I would probably have answered "I'd give my $ to the kids" but I feel differently about dogs. Dogs are equal to humans in my personal hierarchy, all other critters come second.

Again, as with the previous few posts/comments - it's all about identifying. I.e. can I imagine the pain this person/animal is suffering? Can I imagine someone/some animal I personally love suffering the same thing? It's easier to visualize pain through our own personal filters, and harder to do it abstractly. Tugged heartstrings account for, I'd say, a huge percentage of charitable giving. I can't even look at pictures of the dogs in New Orleans, all wet and bewildered, without sniveling.

*hugs, kisses, dotes on, slobbers over, spoils the dogs*

Ok T, you know my history we go back to TLOL, I am childless, I have empty arms after grueling years of IF. My dog is my baby, she has no clue she is a dog and she went through it all with me my little Peanut. HOWEVER, the child would get my money because I value human life more than an animal and YOU know what an animal lover I am. The child is a no brainer for me.

I generally would split the money evenly and deposit in both tins,
I'm a huge animal person and my heart breaks for all the unloved/abused/forgotten ones so I donate cash in tins and doggy quilts & food to the rspca and shelters..but thats what I "can" do and I hope it makes a difference however small.
I'm a huge people person and my heart breaks for all the lonely, cold, hungry kids/people there are in this world, so I give them my change in tins but I also sponsor two kids which I hope helps not just them but their community as well, I'd do more if I could but I'm not sure what else there is I can do.

wow long way around of just saying, I'd put it in both tins. sorry for the scroller.

*disclaimer none of the above is meant as a self back patting exercie just wanted to be clear about why I choose both tins*

The dog gets it anytime.

What can I say, I'm more of an animal-lover than a people-lover.

It's not that I don't feel bad for people at all, but there are SO many people who'd prefer people over animals... and someone has to take care of the animals.

The Dog. I feel like my change can actually make a difference when donated to a local animal shelter. The scope of the problem in Africa is just so huge that a few quarters doesn't amount to anything. Besides, I think that the plight of children in Africa can't be solved with money alone and until there's a legitimate political effort to address Africa's problems, all of the pocket change in the world won't make much of an impact.

Most always I'll choose the animal charity over the people one. I've sponsored a child in another country for years, but all of my one-time donations go to ASPCA-type organizations. Honestly....I like animals much better than I like people. An innocent victim deserves help regardless of species, and the non-people rescue organizations tend to get left with the short end of the stick.

The dog...and for the same reason as mentioned in a prior comment- most will give to the babes so someone has to look out for our four-legged friends. In fact it's the images of the stranded animals from Hurricane Katrina that make me cry every time.

Of course- if you had given the option of a cat getting the donations, I'd have chosen them over the dog.

I'm a cat person. Well- I'm just a weird person...period.

If I'm by myself, I'd ignore both boxes and take my spare change home. (We save up our coins and periodically donate the lump sum to whatever charity has our attention currently. (usually one of the local food banks or no-kill animal shelters, but sometimes something overseas))

But if my daughter is with me and says, "Look Mommy! Tzedakah boxes. Can I put some money in?" I'd give her some change and let her put the money in whichever one she wants.

Usually if I have change then I just plonk it into which ever tin is closest. Both charaties are deserving, I try not to overthink things and just give where I can.

I would give to whichever is in this country. No offense but, we are always trying to help starving kids, elders, animals, victims in other countries. We have plenty of them starving right here.

I have a doctor I work with who is trying to convince me to adopt from Russia b/c there are tons of babies who need homes there. Well, there are tons of babies who need homes HERE too! (she is from Russia). (and before the nasty comments come my way...please know that I am NOT adopting a white baby that would not have a problem finding an adoptive family.)

I am all for helping other countries in time of crisis. But in everyday life...this country needs help as well. There are tons of families who are living on the streets and starving here. There are tons of animals abused and misplaced here. There are rape vitims here. There are war vets who need help here. There are charities here that need us to help.

Great question, and I'm not sure how proud of my answer I am. My money would go to the dog. One of my biggest concerns in donating money is that it be used wisely and actually go to a real cause, and I think at a local store, the money would be more likely to reach the puppy rather than the African child.

That said, if I knew of equally reputable charities, one for starving children, another for homeless pets, I'd probably be more likely to send my $50 to the starving children. well, really I'd probably split it 50/50 (do want to be a vet afterall), but if push came to shove...


The question is not really about the tin at the cash register. Tertia is asking a legitimate question; the method of collection is irrelevant.

I would give to the dogs. I have 2 beautiful dogs who I love very much, and anytime I have been able to help animals I have done so. I used to give to the children, and their plight is terrible. I'm not just talking of third world children either. The world's richest nations also have those in desperate need. What really gets to me though here in New Zealand, is that they canvas for donations over the phone and door to door and your coins aren't enough. In fact I heard a couple of years ago (and this is the stance they all take now) when someone stood at my door seeking donations that "it isn't worth our time to collect coins" and would we please sign an automatic payment. However, the SPCA will take 5c if you have it, or a spare sachet or tin of cat or dog food, put it to excellent use and be glad of it.

The last time I was able to afford (on a regular basis) to give to charities I usually passed up the tins and gave whatever I could to the folks outside the store selling RealChange newspapers. All the vendors are either homeless or barely scraping by. My mom used to sell them during the two years we spent homeless and couch-surfing (for those that don't know what that is couch-surfing is when you go from friend's house to friend's house every few days sleeping on their couch and helping out as much as you can then leaving before you run out your welcome). The reason I passed up the tins is that I have been where the vendors are now and that I can SEE how much it means to them. How much even $1 can really change their lives. And even on the days that I had nothing to spare I could help lift their spirits with a kind word and a caring ear, something that just won't fit in the tins.

~Adi V.

Neither... I donate my money in different ways. I don't put change into those jars because you never know where it's going to :P

UNLESS it's something really specific... Such as the time I was in Seattle and I saw a tin with a picture of a cat with cataracts... The story of the cat broke my heart (they were collecting money because the money they were going to use to fix the cat's eyes was stolen by an ex-roommate) so I threw a couple dollars in.

In most cases though, I donate to Doctors without Borders or United Way when they come around to my work.

Oops, forgot to add that when I pick between two tins at the store I ALWAYS pick the one with the least amount of money in it.

~Adi V.

I give to the dogs. With hurricane Katrina I gave to the Human Society. I feel like everyone else gives to the people so someone needs to give to the animals. However, if I had food to give and the starving child and the starving dog were both sitting in front of me I would give to the child. People over animals. But, the tins and items like them seem very removed to me. As if I don't really know where the money is going so I give to the one I think gets the least donations.

I would probably give mine to the child, but honestly, I don't often donate to those types of charities, because they always seem just a little suspect to me. I'm never quite sure if the jar of money just goes into the till.

I can't donate to every cause that I would like to. Not in a meaningful way, anyway, so while I think taking care of animals is important, I think taking care of children is more important. I have a friend who is an incredible animal lover, and would definitely give to the dog. She would feel moved by the dog's plight, and would also feel that, since most people will give to the child, she will give to the dog. I count on people like that to make things balance the way that they should.

The dog. The thing about throwing money at Africa is that it doesn't seem to work--governments who are getting these huge amounts of aid from wealthier nations have no incentive to actually fix what's wrong with them, as then the aid would dry up, and they *do* have incentive to make things worse, which seems to be what happens. The dog I can probably help--all he needs is some doggy shampoo, dog food, and a chance to find an owner. If he's too miserable and can't be helped, he can be put down, to end his suffering. I'm not saying I would put down starving African children, but I do doubt that my change would make much of a difference to any African child, whereas to a dog, it really could. So, the dog.

I don't trust those boxes at the cash registers, so I voted for neither. However, when I was working (I stay at home full time with Sugar Bee now), I had an automatic deduction taken out of every paycheck that was given to charity. I had it split evenly between the local SPCA and the local Scottish Rite hospital (they offer free treatment for children with orthopedic and other disorders). I adopted my dog from the SPCA; I've done the March of Dimes walk several years. So the bulk of my charitable giving is generally split between kids & dogs, but at a local level.

The Dog, I'm sure everyone thinks i'm terrible, but i never give to kid charties, i think the kid should have parents that should be looking after it, if they cant afford to look after it then they shouldn't have had it and they shouldnt have anymore, i know strike me down. I also think animals get a hard time, they cant really fend for themselves, i always give to wspa and spca, when it comes to animals i'm a huge softie.

Also wanted to say, your babes are so big now and competelty gorgeous :)

The dog. I love dogs. I have a baby, and I still love dogs and that's where my money would go. Does that mean I love dogs more than babies? Do I love my dog more than my baby? They are both my babies. I can't say I love either one more, it's just a different kind of love. I imagine it's the same for people that have 2+ kids - I can't imagine loving another kid as much as my baby. But people do. They make room.

I agree with the posters above who say "Lots of people take care of people. Someone has to take care of the animals."

But my feelings on this subject go deeper... How can anyone judge where charity $ goes? I could take the $ home and send it to a charity supporting emaciated children in China, or India, or Iraq, or breast cancer research, or children's leukemia research, or Make-A-Wish Foundation... There are innumerable good causes. Animals are no less needy. There are billions of us on this planet that can afford to give. So we give where our heartstrings are pulled, and for me, right now, it's animals.

Neither because those tins are always so dusty I wonder if they ever even get picked up. I have a personal policy of never giving to a charity without researching the organization first so I give a rather sizable (in relation to my income) donation to 2 children's charities at chistmas time. One international and focused on hunger and one local which is focused on helping foster children get an education. I rescue, rehab and adopt out stray dogs too so i spend so much of my own money on that that there is very little left to give to organized charities. Although I was moved enough by the plight of animals stuck in the gulf region that I did make a donation to the ASPCA. And I do volunteer work with both animals and children. I find that for most people who are truly compassionate are generous with many causes. There is no such thing as too much compassion so I don't see a need to choose between the two. If I had to choose I would follow Adi V's logic above and give to the one which had the least money in it.

Dog. Animals are mute & more helpless than even small starving children. I just donated money to help pets stranded by Hurricane Katrina. However I donate tons of money to a variety of charities. I donate like it's going out of style. My charitable donations outstrip my discretionary spending on myself. So no flames, please.

I am wary of tins.

But putting my cynical objections aside for purposes of your larger question, it comes down to what I believe would do the most good. If my money was going to fund grassroot organizations in sub-sahara Africa (medical clinics, AIDS treatment, agricultural education/equipment) or to provide food/medical supplies for a specific drought or epidemic, then I would unreservedly give to the picture of the child.

But I just don't buy the quick-fix "Save the Children" slogan; the world is more complicated than my complacent assumption that putting 50 cents in the till will actually make its way into a bottle of milk for a little starving girl. The world community is too quick to throw money at Africa's problems -- like putting a bandaid over a gaping wound -- and I don't want to feel satisfied that my 50 cents (writ large) will somehow help sustain a child, a community, a country, a continent. It won't, because the problems in African countries are more complicated than surface poverty. (That being said, there are some wonderful programs where you can sponsor a specific child -- school fees, books, health -- that are clearly successful.) However, in the stark choice between a tin that purports to "save the children" and one that would go to the local SPCA, well, I'd probably choose the dog.

That choice clearly doesn't reflect favortism of the life of a dog over that of a child -- that answer is apparent on its face (I presume). Instead, it shows my own ambivilence about how well these programs actually advance the ball: do the "save the children" funds actually reach who they are supposed to reach? If so, how? And to what effect? Does my short-term funding somehow absolve the affected countries' government from addressing long-term solutions? The Western world should undoubtedly be doing so much more to help stop the vicious cycle of poverty that exists in Africa, but how to help is a bigger, much more complicated, question. In looking at the history of Western involvement in Africa, money without purpose or without accountability has not helped.

I tend to give to causes that touch me personally in some way. Although I am an animal lover and have given to animal charities and think they are worthy causes, I`m a homo sapien, so the photo of the starving human baby hits home in a way that the starving puppy does not -- though hearing about/seeing suffering anywhere in any form always bothers me and sometimes keeps me awake at night!

I think I can guess what T is getting at with the poll. My husband, who is from South America but has been living in the US for over a decade simply does not understand the US (in general) attitude toward pets. In his country animals in the home are most likely to be raised for food (chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc.). People own dogs and cats, but generally they are outside pets, never taken to a vet, fed whatever scraps and leftovers aren't used (not fed specially purchased dog or cat food) and are given away or euthanized if they become an economic burden on the family. Now that is not to say that people from his country don't love their pets and enjoy their companionship, but the status of pets within the family hierarchy is very different than it is in the US. Pets are pets, not furry family members. My parents, who are serious dog people, drive him insane. When he sees the money my parents spend on christmas gifts for their dogs he wants to shake them and ask them to donate it to charity that helps PEOPLE instead.

I live in Louisiana, and I've been working at this hotline during the past two weeks. We get calls from people searching for family members, looking for services or supplies, and sometimes we've had calls from different animal shelters in different states volunteering space for displaced pets. The general attitude of the people at the hotline has been a bit of eye rolling when we get one of those calls, because I think they feel like there is so much that is a higher priority. Certainly that is how I felt. One caller from Pennsylvania was particularly upset over media reports that dogs were being shot. She wanted to volunteer to take in any dogs that were being shot. To our knowledge, the dogs that were being shot were attacking military and police people in the process of doing search and rescue missions. After a week without food or clean water, some dogs were pretty ferocious (and some may not have been completely domesticated animals to begin with, in rural parts of Louisiana, some dogs are outside dogs raised to be hunting dogs and for protection, much more than as an inside pet). To ask the police to sedate and capture the animals rather than shoot them would be asking them to delay looking for people who may still be alive but who won't be alive for much longer. In such a case, I think it is rare the person who would argue to save the dog over the human.

I think for some people it is easier to feel empathy toward animals because they are blameless, helpless victims. They are, that is true. We don't believe animals make conscious choices (sometimes bad ones) that affect their lives, so sometimes it is easier to feel sympathy or empathy for an innocent animal than for a flawed and foolish human being. But suffering is suffering, whether an individual is partly responsible for his or her own suffering or not.

I think the type of zero-sum choice I describe above is not the norm. I mean, I don't think its an us or them proposition most of the time. I do believe that a society's humanity can be measured by the treatment of its least fortunate, and that includes animals. I think where animal cruelty exists, it is certain that human cruelty does also. I think there's enough love to go around for people and animals. I feel devastated watching the news coverage of the people who have been affected, but I feel similarly devastated when I heard about the fish at the aquarium (most died). I'm giving what I can to both.

Tins at a till? Neither. Because they get stolen by lowlifes, or they are scams and the money never gets to the actual charities. I'm cynical like that. It happened a bit here after the tsunami when so many people wanted to donate.

But - child or animal? - child first. And help animals as well.

I tend to give money to humans and rescue animals. I've rescued a lot of feral cats. We just rescued 3 adorable kittens that my husband found on the street. We took them to the vet, paid for them to be made healthy for a family to take in, and then we gave them away. I've done this many many times. At least those cats will grow up loved and not contribute to more animals on the street.

I can't really do that with humans, so I give money when I can. I generally don't like the tins on the countertop because of not knowing where the money is going. I sponsored a woman at woman-to-woman. that was really inspiring...when you sponsor a woman, you help her whole family.

i liked the box program...will have to look into that one. We are not rich by any means (I am unemployed right now) but we have SO much more than many.

I think part of why we don't think too much about helping Africans is that the enormity of the job to be done overwhelms us. If you think about the plight of those people, you would do nothing but cry. Easier not to think about it...I know it's wrong, but I think it's actually self-protection. We should all do what we could to help, AND SO SHOULD OUR GOVERNMENT! Instead of killing people in other countries, wouldn't it be amazing if all that money was used for helping people? Okay, I'm done ranting and dreaming pipe dreams.

The kid. I love dogs & my own dog is my baby, but when it comes down to it, he's not my own species. In a pinch (a really, really severe pinch), he's my dinner. In fact, I may have snacked on his cousin in Viet Nam last year. But my grandmother was an Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor and even in those extreme circumstances, (at least to her knowledge)nobody became each other's dinner... Human life is just different than non-human life to me.

With that said, I would have said both if given the option. (Thanks for making us choose, Tertia, better fodder for discussion! The hurricane stories about kids and pets are the ones that consistently have made me cry.

I never give in tins; I only give to charities I research, and then I give donations on a regular basis (meaning, I sign up to be a monthly donor, that kind of thing, so the charity can count on my donation regularly. It makes their lives/accounting easier.) It's a rare, rare time that I make an exception (for example Rose).

But, as to the question of people versus animals, I'm always shocked when people give to animals over people. Animals do suffer; that I don't argue. But I feel that humans have souls or spirits or whatever you want to call it, and they suffer more because of it. Because they know they are worth something and should be taken care of. And they should be!

I'm giggling at how LITERAL-minded you all are!

I think the real question in, regardless of whether it's by tin, automatic deduction, or annual check, how would you give?

My answer is: by whim. By perceived need at that moment. By whether each picture pulls at my heartstrings or makes me feel manipulated.

I'm also more likely to give to something specific (animal rescues got my hurricane money) than something general, like United Way or ASPCA. Neither is unworthy, and my small donation won't make or break either. If I had millions to donate, I'd give it more thought and research obviously.

I just went back and read all the comments. Very interesting stuff here. I'll define myself as different in a few ways. If I had to starve to death or eat my dog, I would starve to death. Absolutely, no question. Just like a parent wouldn't eat his or her babies.

L. also mentioned the starving puppy vs. starving baby photo. Just the thought of the starving puppy makes me cry. I am clearly much more emotionally attached to animals than children.

In any case, I'm glad I'm not the only one in the dog camp :)

The dog. It would be a local (at least nine out of ten of the 'puppy tins' at the registers are) and I have worked for the local SPCA here. (Also another humane society in the last place I lived.) My point? I KNOW where the money is going, what exactly it buys, and how it helps. We send checks out to the Red Cross and another few charities, but don't donate in cans for them.

I don't mean to serial post - but it occurs to me there are really two questions here, not one - to which do you feel a greater obligation, children or animals? And which donation do you feel more confident will do good?

I prioritize human life over animal (by a slight margin, anyway!) but the answer to masses of starving animals - feed them, spay them, give them good homes - is morally simple. What do you do to help great numbers of starving people living in corrupt and dangerous regimes? Not so simple. Don't know if my money will alleviate suffering or create more.

The child gets the $ hands down. I am a huge animal lover, but humans come first in my mind.

honestly, that change goes home to my collection jar. as a very financially strapped mother/student, caring for my own baby is the focus. charity starts at home, right??!!

if i had money to burn (and i have thought about this for ages) i would begin my own charity orginization - a home for teen mothers.

The dog. I'm a vet.

Not a pet person, never have been. The child over the dog for me, hands down.

If I have to choose then the kid. No question.

If the kid tin is from an overtly religious charity, my money would go to the dogs. I don't trust charities that expect people to give up their spiritual beliefs to meet their physical needs. If I liked both charities, I'd put the money in the tin that seemed more empty.

In that specific situation, with one quarter, neither. I can't face choices. I'd rather deny both than have one feel neglected. I'm more likely to see the dog one, though; I don't see people the way I see animals, especially dogs.

In general... ay me. Humans come first, they really do, but I'm far more likely to feel bad for a dog. But I overthink, and get to the point where I don't give anything because no matter what, I'm a bad person. If I give to the animal shelter, I'm a bad person who think human life is less worthy of a dollar than some mutt. If I give to the people, a puppy cries.
Huh. I'm evaluating one in terms of what others will say, and the other in terms of what I can bear. I don't understand people as well as I do animals. I'm more likely to see them as individuals. It's a weirdness of me.

Good thing I don't have disposable income, or I'd be a moral mess.

That's an easy one for me. People over animals any day. I woudl never put a dog before a human being. (Then again, I'm not a dog lover, so that probably skews my viewpoint.)

My money goes to the dog. I believe that the dogs stand a much better chance of seeing the results of my donation than the starving kids do. Yes, the charity may be legit, but who knows what happens once the money hits the ground in the countries of need?

Plus...to parrot many posts prior to mine...most wil pick the kid, so someone has to give to the animals.

The dog tin. Mainly because I know so many more people will choose the kid can. And for no other reason than animals play a such vital role in our well-being. We have been domestic partners for thousands of years. I think a child growing up without a pet is one of the saddest things in the world.

In reality, I would probably divide the money.

Why? Because the dog can go and scrounge in bins or look cute at people, but the kid needs feeding for at least 13 years before it can make it on its own. Ergo, more cash needed for children.

Always the child, or for that matter, adult. As much as I love animals, people come first. That's just my opinion but I do respect others who donate to animal causes - each to their own.

A child's need trumps an animal's need every time in my book.

The child. There is absolutely NO contest between humans and animals. Humans are more important.

Interesting question.

I came face to face with the hierarchy. We are staying at a very posh hotel; the hotel "maid" came in today to clean the room and didn't speak any English. She averted my eyes totally. When I came back in the room it was sparkling clean. I mean, not a THING out of place. She changed the sheets on both beds, vacuumed, dusted, polished, emptied the dirty diapers out of the trash cans, etc., all in about half an hour. The girl was about 19, and tiny. She looked exotic, with long dark hair pulled back. My heart just went out to her and I gave her a healthy tip. She probably makes about $6 an hour.

It sort of sickens me that that made me "feel" better. I am not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but then again, if this girl were to see my lifestyle, she would probably beg to differ.

Whenever I think about the disparity between rich and poor, I think of the rich as hard-working and having earned their money, and the poor as being lazy; getting handouts from the government and not doing much of anything but sitting on their asses. (A HUGE problem in the U.S.) But then there are the people like this girl, so hard working and just trying to make it. How does a government avoid the problem of "teaching someone to fish" instead of just "giving them the fish" so to speak? I think of Rose and Beauty and I would imagine they are very hard workers as well.

RE: Lucy's allergies...whenever she gets dairy of ANY kind (even in a biscuit) she breaks out, and it looks alot like excema. Make sure Kate's formula is lactose-free. That might clear up your problem right away! Sorry it took me this long to respond! It very well could be that K has a dairy allergy. She is a little DOLL!

My best friend has a twin brother. Her parents went through all sorts of fertility treatments, gave up, and had my friend and her brother within the year. They chose not to have another child because they didn't want that child to feel "left out", not being a part of the duo. I thought that was insighftul. They are now 26 and their parents have never regretted not having any more (I asked... :) )

Keep up the great questions!


Ive been vegetarian since I turned 13, and an extreme animal lover from the age of 6. (Mum and Dad wouldnt let me stop eating meat at 6 ! bah!)

Most of my life I have felt so strongly for the plight of Animals, how helpless they are to ouruse and abuse of them.

But since I became an adult my sympathies shifted to include children. (When you are a child you dont really think of children in the same way, for some reason.) Now, while I would do alot to save an animal, I would kill to save a child! I find it very, very hard to think of children suffering, and now that Im a Mummy, it really becomes just so personal.

So, like alot of the posters here, I would give to the childrens fund, and as someone else said, preferably a local one. I would make sure that I had enough change for both next time.

I'd definately give to the kids. I LOVE dogs/pets but humans come first.

As far as the hierarchy question, I do think it happens everywhere. I'm white and grew up in an almost all white community-one Native American family-we were also in a border state. Since we were all middle-class whites-we made ourselves 'higher' than our neighbors to the east! They were 'stupid', drove too slow, and just generally beneath us. If you wanted to insult someone, you would accuse them of being from that state! One time there was an actual riot in our small town after a football game between the two states!

Love your blog T!

Child. Because of multiple things, one I heart Africa. I lived abroad there during college. My heart belongs there and I will return one day to do field work again. 2. If it was the WFP I would totally donate. I work for a company that sponsors a US philanthropic effort coins4kids with the WFP and all my change goes there. 3. I was a poor hungry child growing up. i routinely went without meals for days on end.

We don't support only foriegn charities. We are a big supporter of our local foodbank as well as America's second harvest. But mostly, I just heart Africa.

Honestly... neither. I don't trust those tins at the cash register. Too easy for someone to take the money without it going to the right place. I'm all for giving when I can to whomever needs it, I just want to write a check for it and make sure it gets delivered to the proper place.

I'm all for kids... my job is in child care... so I hate to see any child suffer. But, I love my dog dearly and can't imagine life without her, and hate to see/hear of animals suffering. So, if I had to, I'd probably split the money between the two.

I am ashamed to report what happened here in Australia a few months ago. One of the news networks ran a story on the RSPCA (an animal protection society) needing blankets to keep dogs warm in their shelters. That is a very good cause, and you'd hope maybe a few ratty old blankets would go their way. But the response was overwhelming. People sent BRAND NEW blankets in the hundreds. Companies which made blankets sent new blankets, old ladies knitted blankets. No-one could see a dog go cold, and it was a "trendy" cause.

The sad part was that several charitable institutions could not get blankets for people who were freezing on the street. It wasn't a worthwhile cause, apparently. The RSPCA had enough blankets and urged people to give to the "human" charities instead, but people weren't too interested.

I love dogs, any animal. They deserve to be cared for an protected. But I don't put their life above a person's. To be honest though, some money would go to the child, and a little would go to the doggy. I guess it's in my nature too.


The child. Or the human, to be more to the point.

You forgot a tin. You know, the one for the stranger's nanny's tits.

Neither, but if I have to choose one, it's going to be the child.

Without reading the other comments, I would say that in practice, I don't often donate spare change (not sure why -- I'm not much of a shopper / errand runner, so maybe I don't have much opportunity). But if I had to choose, I would go for the child.

On a related note, I once had a friend with what I thought was a great philosophy for "charitable giving" -- how to decide which of the very many worthy causes she would support. She chose one charity that really spoke to her (Amnesty International was her pick) and she donated significant time, energy, and money to that cause. And she trusted that other people were focused on other worthy causes, so she didn't have to feel guilty about not supporting them. While I'm not as good at supporting my chosen charity (Planned Parenthood) as I'd like to be, I don't beat myself up for not supporting all the rest. Though I always donate to major disasters like the Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina -- I believe everyone has to pull together for those sorts of events.

With spare change I'm a bit of a pushover when it comes to tins and people collecting with buckets (except for the Wilderness Society koalas - for some reason they annoy me so I avoid them). But I would pick the kid over the dog.

I have a similar philosophy to Jenergy's friend. We have chosed Medicins sans Frontieres as our principal charity and so they get a regular donation. I don't care where they spend their money as I know that they do great and invaluable work. We've also had a sponsor child in Africa since we first got married, he's almost an adult now. I sometimes wonder what (or if) he thinks of us.

One time I was on a mission trip in South America. There were tons of street kids as well as many mangy sad sick dogs. One of the girls on our team said something like, "Ohhh... those poor dogs. Someone should do a mission trip for the dogs." I totally felt sorry for the dogs too, but a mission trip?! Come on. This topic seems very black and white to me because dogs don't have souls. People do.

The fuckin' kid gets the change, man! Jesus!

The dog. I don't know why. Of course, I think a human being is more important than an animal, but... maybe it's the fact that I know, at some point, that child will become self-sufficient. The dog will never be anything but dependent on a human.

I dunno. Preferably, I'd be able to give to both.

My dog has a soul. God told me.

I voted for neither. The charity might be legit, but that doesn't mean the collection cannister/tin is! I am WAY leery of those charity tins, especially after hearing story after story of people pilfering through them for extra cash (and they were EMPLOYEES, not customers). I save my sheckles and send my money exactly where I want it to go.

We actually have a bank in our house for all of our loose change at the end of the day. When it is full, it goes to the bank and is deposited, and that amount is tagged for donations to groups like UMCOR and UNICEF and Heifer project and our local food pantry. So, I guess my loose change DOES go in a tin - the one in my home!

The kid gets it everytime. Always. easy. I am a huge huge huge animal lover, but the human life wins.

Bekah: How can you be so sure the dog doesn't have a soul?

Maya T.: My dog also has a soul. God told me too. In fact, I think she is more soulful than me.

Croupier: You are correct. You win the car... "The fuckin kid gets the change, man! Jesus!"

missy: The third tin would, in fact, get the most change from this group as has been demonstrated... the one for the stranger's nanny's tits!!!

A tin at the counter? No. But of all the charities around at the moment, I've chosen two anyway RSPCA and World Vision so I guess you could say both.

Having said that, I have to admit to having used some form of hierarchy in choosing a child to sponsor. I chose a little girl. I heard something a little while ago that was quite sobering but made me think twice when choosing who to sponsor. The person said that $$ spent on a girl tend to help the entire village where as $$ spent on a boy only really help the boy. Your money helps more people if you give it to females.

It would be both or a toss up for me, which is probably a cop-out answer but true. The thing with saying humans outrank animals is that if that's your answer all the time, no money will ever go to animals. There is always something more deserving than anything we could possibley choose to spend our money on. I mean, the arguement could also be made that maybe we should return everything we just bought and put all that money in the tin as well, because I highly doubt we need it as much as a starving child needs food. But thatway lies madness.
I tend to lean slightly towards giving to animals over humans in many situations because their entire existence is so dependent on us. A child with no resources is no better off, though.

I would give to neither, unless it was an organization I'm already very familier with. I like to know exactly how my money will be spent. As for the kid, I wouldn't feel guilty because I already sponsor a child from Haiti. I love writing and receiving letters from her and I love that I know my money helps HER. As for the dog I probably wouldn't donate anything. Yes it's sad but dogs aren't people. I've rescued one dog and have spent time working in a dog kennel. If I *had* to put money in, it would obviously be for the child. =)

I'm not actually that keen on people, despite being pregnant with one and being married to one. On the whole I always prefer animals to humans, so I will always give to the animal charity in preference. So much money gets spent on foreign aid and such and such, but very little government money is ever given to protecting the other inhabitants of the planet.

The child EVERY time. And I'm completely astonished at how many people are choosing the animals...

Am I allowed to go off-topic and give a big YAY!!!! for Kevin Pietersen?


I usually donate to a wishing well in our local supermarket, it supports the Royal Flying Doctor Service - a great organsaition, but the main reason I do it - keeps the kids occupied while I am finishing the groceries - very charitable hey!

Kid every time. I'm not a pet person, while I wouldn't harm an animal they are just that animals and I personally think that people come first
Oh hell at the risk of getting lynched.... while I understand the strong attatchment some people have for their pets even to the extent of them becoming extra chilren or even child substitutes, this phrase 'furbaby' makes my skin creep!! so shoot me!!

The doggie gets it, if there's no tin with a matted cat.

I personally care more about animals than kids, and I figure most people will probably donate to the kids anyway, so I'm going for the under, uh, dog.

Dog. Vast majority will donate for child anyway. But also, would not donate at the till.

The child of course. Much as I love animals, people come first, especially the little ones.

The dog.

Humans are not the only species on the planet in need of help.

The children win every time- I have no particular aversion to supporting animal charities (and have done and will continue to do so) but there is so much human need and human suffering in this world, particularly amongst children, and they are the future, aren't they?

Totally the dog--just look at your poll. Most people will donate to the kids, but domesticated dogs are usually just as helpless and dependent as a child. Besides, just as I don't hold my life to be inherently more valuable than anyone else's, I don't hold human life to be inherently more valuable than another species.

Coming out of lurkerdom for this. I would give to the local organization.

I live in an area with a lot of affluent people and a lot of invisible poor people (many are North African refugees.) I give to local organizations, because I can see the immediate effect of my meager donations. I wish I could give more and I wish I could spread the money further from home. But unless I win the lotto, my salary from a social services org. can only go so far.

That is not a fair question - and not because I always put my change in my pocket. I would pick the child, every single time.

The dog.The dog.The dog.

I am a complete sucker for animal causes. A mangy animal makes me cry.

The dog gets my spare change. Actually, reading through the comments here made me decide to start taking a bag of food to our local Humane Society weekly.

I can't stand that I was hesitant to admit to this. Why are people made to feel bad for donating to one cause over another? (Obviously not you, T.)

Why should I feel bad? This is terrible.

I feel like a horrible person for saying this, but, neither. I can't afford to give away my change, even if it seems like a small amount. This question of children OR pets was a reality for me, and it broke my heart to leave my cat behind so I could flee with my children.

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