I planned on sitting down and writing a blog post about a fabulous new dog product to hit the marketplace. That’s for another day. Today I am all defending dogs and what we loving pet parents call them. You know how there is a straw that tends to break a camel’s back (and I hate that expression but it fits here)? I found that straw today. I am broken. But I am not defeated. If you love pets and consider him or her to be more than a “pet,” this one’s for you.
There is a movement taking place online, IRL social circles, and no doubt near water coolers and over coffee and bagels that goes something like this:
Stop calling your dog a kid. He isn’t one.
Your dog is not a child: I am a mom and I have a child. You have a dog, so stop saying “child.”
I am not anti-kid. I am childless by choice. I never had the innate hunger to bring human babies into the world nor adopt human children. I am continually inspired by and have respect for those who do and are truly caring dedicated moms and dads.
I am not anti-kid.
I am pro-dog.
I don’t want to give them any further blog traffic, but suffice it to say if you Google, “stop calling your dog a kid,” you will get a certain amount of “hits.”
But if you Google, “my dog is my child,” you get a whole helluva lot more “hits.”
Note: If you share life with a pet and you prefer to call them a pet, a dog, a cat, a whatever…and you in no way, shape, or form want that being viewed as a child, a kid, a baby, or a furkid: That’s your right and I am not here to strip that away. More power to you.
I am here to tell those who claim ownership of the word “child” or “kid” or “baby” as if Webster bequeathed it to them from his dictionary to KNOCK IT OFF.
I am tired of defending myself for the usage of a word and why I feel that my dog is more than property.
I will even side with you on some of this. My dog isn’t my child in many ways.
If the fates honor me with my dog-sharing life for a solid 15 years or more, unlike a teenager at age 15, my dog isn’t asking for the car keys, won’t enter the dating world, and will never become a source of gray hair as I worry because he is out 10 minutes past curfew. His time is getting limited, at this ripe old age.
The lifespan of a dog is short — a flicker, if you will, compared with a human’s. He will pass from this world and leave behind a hole in my heart where it used to be, well, “whole.” I’ve been down this road, and I will again and again.
I live a bit more vicariously and in the moment since becoming a dog mom: And after all, aren’t dogs always living in the moment? I’ve yet to see my dog worry about what just happened, or panic at something that’s going down tomorrow. Dogs have taught me to live life to its fullest because at any time, it can end.
I spoil my dog, some might say. He certainly does not need eight leashes, four water bowls, a weekly trip (or more) to the pet supply store, organized play dates, and (the horror, get ready): a blog inspired by his life with mine and a canine-centric career choice.
It’s my life, and it’s fun. Dexter is happy, too. Dogs need to be well cared for and doted upon to the degree it makes dog mom or dog dad happy and does not put Fido in harm’s way. In fact, if you reread that sentence, there’s a mantra in there.
Here’s where it gets real meaty and juicy. Here’s where I tell you what to tell people who are angry that you call your dog a kid. These people are vitriolic in their response to such name claiming and they blog about it and get inyourface mad when comparing dogs to kids.
You have two options:
(1) Ignore them: The best way to handle ignorance is to let them stew in it and own their ignorance. You don’t believe their rhetoric so let them swim in their stew of anger.
(2) You state fact, and fact is what wins court case. Fact is what laws are built on. Facts are what settles debates and quiets a village idiot.
Here are the definitions of words that a select group of people feel ownership to…as in they should only be applied to human beings.
Case closed. Seriously, what more is there to say? The definitions apply to both children and animals.
Ah, the P word. The elephant in the room. Elephants have elephant mommies, btw, and that makes them kids, too! Trunks up to that!
Here’s the official definition of parent:
There’s that ambiguity again. Beings with flesh don’t own these words: They can be applied to any number of species.
It behooves me to mention a blogger who is angered that those of us who are of the pet parenting movement are somehow lesser of a parent than those of the human variety.
She feels that loving and caring for a pet are in no way comparable to the amount of energy involved in parenting another human being. The responsibility levels, the stress, and even the money, they simply aren’t in the same hemisphere.
Ho ho. Ha ha. Hee hee.
She didn’t LOL at the end of her rant so I will do it for her.
As in live outside (the) lines, lady.
Love is love. Science agrees. Parenting is parenting. My dog isn’t a kid. But my relationship with my dog(s) is very mother and child in nature. I know he isn’t a human. He does dog things.
Wait, babies do dog things. They pee whenever and need a diaper.
We have that stage: It’s called house training, right dog parents?
Kids write on walls.
Dogs chew shoes. And furniture. Sometimes.
Kids mouth back.
Wait, dogs don’t do that.
Lifestyle bloggers who blog about kids: Your kids will grow up and then the cuteness, the giveaways, the life with children stories will all dissipate. When your kids want a driver’s license and you stop blogging about fruit punch and sippy cups, my dog will most likely be on his last legs: He doesn’t live as long as your child. We’ll all end up in the same place, see? And many of my good buddies are lifestyle bloggers. I support what you do. Just be happy for me and my application of the words I choose to call my dog.
In the course of any given week, I get at least 3-10 notices from people telling me their pet passed away. Some are young, some are old. Some got sick suddenly and others had a prolonged illness. Grief unites us all, and Emily Dickinson said that. She was a cool pet mom, too.
[Tweet “Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell. Emily Dickinson”]
So this week when three dogs of close friends died within four days, it seriously became too much to bear. As a dog mom who stood over her baby as the veterinarian injected the needles to stop her anguish and give her comfort and eternal peace, I know too well that all-consuming hellish feeling that comes with death of a loved one. I can prove no more to naysayers that I am a mom than in that moment, when I make the ultimate sacrifice with one eternal act of love. And yes, I felt like I murdered my
dog kid for a long time. People with big hearts tend to do that.
If any of you who are angry about pet parenting as a term are annoyed by this, let me know when you have a version of the dictionary that makes its way into popular mainstream. I’ll pick that version up and let my next furkid use it for house training.
Off to kiss the kid!