Dogs are more like children than they are different. It's true, dogs are cheaper to feed, and they can't say something embarrassing like "Mark said I have to wait until I'm 14 to get pregnant" at a teacher conference, or "Dad, I know what the French are: Cheese eating surrender monkeys!" (Simpsons?) in the grocery store, in front of people who are obviously speaking French.
But other than the no thumbs or talking part, dogs are almost as much work as real children. I can't leave them alone for too long. I can't leave them in a hot car. They randomly decide that they are hungry, hot, cold or have to pee. All my dogs have some version of the two year old child version of pulling on my pants and saying "daddy--daddy--daddy--" A trip to the doctor runs about the same.
A Chihuahua is orders of magnitude cheaper to feed than a 16 year old boy on the football team. When I say "Jesus, you ate what?" to a dog, I'm never talking about what it cost. Feeding four Chihuahuas runs about the same as I remember feeding a single 3 year old boy.
Riding in the truck is about the same as multiple little kids. Same work to load up all the crates, same seatbelts and some of the same whiny "no, but this time I really do have to pee" behavior. Instead of dressing them in pants and shirts, it's harnesses and collars.
All the joy, none of the embarrassment, for about the same amount of work, but much, much cheaper!