I would NEVER say having a dog is the same as having a child or children. It’s not. I would also never say being a parent is easy. I respect parents so much. But, personally, I feel there are definitely *similarities between having a child and having a dog. Loving, responsible pet owners absolutely go through “child-like” experiences with their animals.
When Cubbie was a puppy, I woke up in the night almost every half hour to let him out to the bathroom. This went on for more than a month. No, it’s not the exact same as a child, but I also lost A LOT of sleep.
Recently, Cubbie was sick when his pancreatitis flared up. I got three hours of sleep while I stayed up with him all night as he threw up. Guess who got to clean up the mess? Then, first thing in the morning I took him to the vet and still went to work for a full day. When your child is sick you can take a sick day, but it’s frowned upon if I want to take a sick day to stay with my dog at the veterinarian’s office while he undergoes tests.
I take Cubbie for regular veterinary visits and pay extra for a dog food to help his pancreatitis. He visits the vet more often than I visit the doctor. Yes, I often put the needs of my dog before my own, just like a parent does for a child.
No, Cubbie doesn’t need braces or a college education, but I still provide for him. I have to make sure he has food and water, that he is bathed, that his nails get trimmed, that he goes outside, that he gets exercise, that he has toys to play with and that he has a safe and secure place to live.
No, it’s not easy having children. On the same note, it’s also not always easy having pets. Children are welcome many more places than pets. You can take children into stores, to the movies, almost anywhere you want to go. Pet owners can’t do that. Yes, it is socially acceptable to leave pets alone without a sitter, I understand you wouldn’t simply leave a child home alone. BUT, just because I leave Cubbie home when I’m at work doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty. I absolutely hate it. I’m willing to bet most parents also feel guilty about leaving children while they go to work.
Yes, I’ve brought Cubbie to my work a few times (never for very long), but I always try to be respectful of other people. I understand people can be allergic. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. I would never say anything to someone who brought a child into work for awhile. In fact, numerous times people bring children into work and we all coo and ahh around the children. It’s fun and a change of pace to have children visit work.
Also, I’m currently looking for a different house to rent. Do you know how hard it is to find a decent house to rent that allows pets? You probably wouldn’t get discriminated against renting a place because you have children.
Just as parents love children and children love parents, I love my dog and my dog loves me. That unconditional love is the best love in the world. As children make parents laugh, my dog makes me laugh. Just as parents look forward to coming home to children, I look forward to coming home to my dog.
I believe each person is entitled to his or her own opinion. You don’t have to agree with me on this issue, but don’t tell me I’m wrong. Each person feels a certain way for a reason. My reason for treating my dog as a child is extremely personal to me, one that most people don’t know.
I don’t expect you to understand, but please don’t judge. If I want to treat my dog like the child I may never have, so what?
I think each person should choose what is right for him/her. Treating my dog like a child is what I choose to do. Disagree with me, but respect my perspective as I will respect yours.
For many of us our pets are not just “animals.” They deserve respect and love. Yes, I love my dog like a child, and I’m proud to admit it.
P.S. Yes, Tara and I disagree on this subject. That’s just fine. We are both strong women who–as Tara put it, speak loud and proud. We have immense respect for each other. Tara and I are co-workers, but we’re also friends. On this subject, we have agreed to disagree!
I want to thank everyone for your comments, no matter what your opinion. I want to say just one more thing. People ask me a lot if I’m married, and if I’m ready to have kids. My honest response is, “Not yet. I have enough trouble balancing work and my dog, so I know I’m not ready for kids yet.” I really believe in that statement. I know having a dog is NOT having a child. But having Cubbie has showed me I’m not ready for children… as some of you have also said. Knowing how much work Cubbie is, I know I’ll have to devote a lot more time to my children, and right now, I simply don’t have that time. I plan to make the time… someday. For now, it’s just the two of us, which means he gets all my attention.
About the Author: dwagner
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- Yes, I love my dog like a child | March 13, 2009