Yes, I love my dog like a child

March 13, 2009 81 Comments

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.

Boating 2008

Boating 2008

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.

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  1. Yes, I love my dog like a child | March 13, 2009
  1. TS says:

    I agree with you 100%. I have two grown children and now two grandchildren. The grandchildren are my world, but so are my two dogs. I would do anything for them. If my dogs hurt my grandchildren, they get diciplined, and vise versa. My two dogs are mine and my husbands children. My husband does not have two legged children of his own, but we do have our four legged children. I do believe that blog should never have been put up by Tara, as that has nothing to do with baby steps. Thanks for your blog and output on this subject.

  2. Jody says:

    Thank you for posting this entry. I could not agree more.

  3. Angie says:

    I came to your blog after reading your comment on Tara’s blog. I don’t think you’re wrong for loving and caring for your dog in the same manner as a child. You’re obviously a great pet owner, and you can treat your animals however you choose. I do feel, however, pets are not the same as children, so they can’t really be compared. I think that’s what sparks the debate. Pets shouldn’t have the same rights to enter public places unless they are companions for people with special needs. The biggest reason for me, would be the allergies. I think animals are cute, but I’m allergic to pet dander and have severe asthma attacks when exposed. I think as mom’s, we do tend to get irritated when friend’s without kids compare their animals to our children. I know it’s not meant to offend, and I usually bite my tongue. I also realize we are not all able to have children, or some choose not to, which is fine. I think in that case animals can fill that desire to nurture. You and Tara shouldn’t have to agree to disagree about anything on this topic. You have a pet that you love with all your heart, and she has children that she loves with all her heart. That’s the only true comparison.

  4. Lisa says:

    Danielle:

    I totally agree with you :)

  5. Kelly Deke says:

    Hi Danielle,
    I agree with everything you wrote. It’s great to treat your dog as a child. Animals feel many emotions that humans do.

    I think you would be a great candidate for becomming a vegetarian. After all there’s not any difference between farm animals and our sweet dogs. Since you seem to be an open-minded person, I invite you to learn more about becomming a vegetarian. My dog is my child and I feel wonderful about being a vegetarian. (I haven’t eaten an animal for over 6 years now). My personal philosophy is “Nothing has to die to keep me alive”. It has been the best decision I have ever made…just wish I would have done it sooner.

    From one animal lover to another I just think this would be a great option for you and hope you will think about it. (there are lots of great websites out there to search).

    Thanks for your time.

  6. Karen says:

    I can not believe people would belittle anyone for treating their pets as children. These people should get a life. A dog is the only thing on earth that loves that loves you more then yourself.

  7. J says:

    You are 100% correct. You say that treating your dog like a child is what you choose to do. It’s exactly what I choose to do as well. And I feel it’s demeaning for people to belittle what it takes to own a pet (and dispensable, Pamela J.? Come on! That’s like saying that women who have more than one child experience less of a loss if – God forbid – one should die…as long as there are other siblings).

    Also to Pamela J. – I don’t feel that loving dogs like children is fulfilling biological desires unnaturally if a woman has no desire to have children, or if she’s uncertain that she ever will. Most women enjoy caring for another person (or animal) even if not related by blood. This is not an “unnatural” instinct by any means.

    Nearly all children (thank God) live longer than 10-15 years, and you don’t have to take them to the vet at the end of a long, faithful, companionable friendship and make the hardest decision of your life. I would much prefer college and braces to that decision and the heartbreak that follows.

    I plan on spending a lot more time on this blog, as I value your insight and am highly entertained by your Cubbie stories.

  8. Labs Rule says:

    I’m not sure why Tara decided to bark & bite about this but Danielle I agree 100% with you!!
    I have a grown daughter, so yes, I do know about motherhood and even breast fed (read Tara’s blog)LOL!!
    I have 3 beautiful dogs. My dogs ARE my KIDS. My dogs have allergies, one that is very severe, they all three get allergy shots every month. They get special dog food, they have manicures & pedicures, they get vaccinations, when they get sick I worry. I do this because I rescued them, they didn’t choose me and I love them more than anything. When they pass we can get another one, but it will NEVER be the same, because if people know anything about dogs (pets in general that they care about), each one has their own unique personality and their own special way of showing you love back.
    It’s great that Cubby is your dogchild and that he gets all the love & care that he does, Cubby is very lucky to have a great dog mom!
    -Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

  9. Robin says:

    I am not a mother, because of carrying a disease to my offspring I choose not to have children. I feel as though I was put on this earth to save and rescue dogs and cats.
    I find it highly immature for others to insult others for their beliefs. We all have our causes, whether it be children or pets, or whatever. I do not believe I have the right to insult others for what they choose to believe.
    I also would help a child in need or animal in need, and have. I love children and animals. I believe that if we are all working to make this world a better place for others, whether children or animals, how is that a bad thing? It is all done with love. Keep in keeping on Danielle!!!

  10. MelK says:

    Hi Danielle,
    I totally respect your love for your dog. People that have pets should all have that same love – that’s why we choose to have pets. We have 2 cats (sisters), and I grew up with cats and dogs – loved them all.

    That being said – there is no comparison to dogs (or any other pet) and kids, as far as responsibility goes. The love factor – I get that. But, to say they are the same as having kids – that’s just not true. Once I had my first child, it was life changing. Nobody should tell you that your relationship with your dog is LESS – as to you, it’s very important and Cubbie is family to you. Everyone should be thankful he/she has such a great person to take care of him!

    I see both sides of the story (you and Tara), but I’m pretty sure that once you have your first child Danielle, you will understand the true difference. You may feel guilty about leaving your dog for the day, and that is awesome that you have that love, but you still CAN leave your dog. There are so many differences – too long of a list.

    There is no disrespect meant towards you or Cubbie! Cubbie is very lucky to have you, and you him! It’s just a matter of actual fact – responsibility is totally different.

  11. Jess says:

    Danielle,

    I read Tara’s blog quite often, and wanted to comment on your blog.

    I have a chocolate lab and have had her since she was nine weeks old. She is now almost four years old. My now husband and I got her shortly after moving in together about 7 months before we got married. I am so thankful to have the experience of taking care of a pet. She is a house dog and there is a lot more responsibility in taking care of a pet that is inside, compared to outdoor pets, in my opinion. I love my dog and many believe she is like a child to me…she is, in a way!

    I have no experience raising children. I am in my mid 20s. We got her shortly after I graduated from college. My dog, Sadie, has definitely showed me what it’s like to be responsible. I have to find a place for her when I’m gone, feed her, water her, take her for walks, buy her toys, take her to medical check ups, love her, play with her etc…

    Now, I am expecting my first child in May. I think having a dog for four years has prepped me a little bit in taking care of a child. I understand that these are two totally different things, but I feel the responsibility for taking care of a pet has prepared me for responsibility in taking care of “something” in general.

    I do not believe I can compare the two in importance. I know that a child will be a lot more responsibility and be more important to me. If I want to ignore my dog I can tie her up outside or put her in her kennel. I will NOT do this with a child. I can put my dog in a training crate in our kitchen if she’s been bad. I wouldn’t do this with a child. I only feed my dog twice a day. I expect to be feeding my child, as a newborn, several times a day.

  12. Shannon says:

    I do not have a child myself and I always tell my friends that are considering having a child to try out having a dog first. It’s my opinion that having a dog is as close as you can get to feeling a part of the responsibility that comes along with being a parent. I have two small dogs and I love them to death. Sometimes I feel like they are my “kids” but having them also let me know that I am not ready for the amount of responsibility that comes along with having children. That doesn’t stop me from worrying when they are sick, or feeling bad if I’ve left them home alone for several hours in a day. And it definitely doesn’t make me feel like they are *replaceable*. (It was ignorant to even make that comment as well as several other comments in Pamela J’s entry). Dogs are not children but having one definitely gives you a glimpse into what it would be like to have one.

    After all, what’s wrong with having someone in your life that gives you unconditional love? If all humans were that way, our world would be a lot better of a place to live.

  13. Mary W says:

    As much as I love reading Tara’s blog, I will have to say that I think in this case, she is too quick to judge people who love their pets. But I have to agree that some people do get carried away with the designer doggie outfits and doggie manicures/pedicures. I raised two children and many pets. I know the difference between my pets and my children. I have lost numerous pets over the years and thank goodness, never lost one of my children. As painful as it was to lose each of my pets, I know there would be no comparison if I were to lose one of my children. But the pain is still real as is the love I had/have for my pets. I worked in a veterinarian’s office for 8 years and I have seen pet owners from one extreme to the other. I have seen dogs with broken bones because the owner didn’t think he kicked “it” that hard. I have seen dogs that live the life of luxury whose owners talk “babytalk” to, and get to go out for ice cream on special days. I would much rather see a dog that is treated as a child than a dog that is mistreated and neglected. I, too, have felt guilty for leaving my dog home alone all day. I also talk to my pets like they are people. But, as you said, Danielle, that is my choice. The important thing to understand is that I KNOW that my cat is a cat and my dog is a dog. I just choose to love them unconditionally as they choose to love me unconditionally. Enjoy Cubbie and spoil him rotten!

  14. Rachel says:

    You can love your dog in any manner you wish, but it literally makes me MISERABLE when people take their pets where they really shouldn’t be… given the fact I’m allergic to them. Taking your dog on an airplane — in the main cab — should be illegal. Ruins my vacation.

  15. Ava says:

    I totally agree with you Danielle. I am 50, never had children but my cats and dogs have ALWAYS been my children. I would say that I probably spend as much on my babies and most people do on their human babies. I WILL NOT cut back when it comes to my “children”. I love them just as much as my family but in a different way. I would go to the ends of the earth to keep them happy, healthy and safe.

  16. Christy says:

    Danielle~
    I have emailed you pictures of my 4 cats and was so proud when you showed them on the Saturday morning news(sadly we have lost one since then).

    As I said in Tara’s blog, our cats are our ‘kids’. We don’t call them our children but we feed them, get them vaccinated and worry when they are sick like parents to do their children. We love our cats unconditionally and they love us unconditionally, which is what I’ve heard parents say about their children.

    I recently had to put one of my 6 month old kittens asleep because she had feline luekemia (sp?), my husband was away for the weekend and I had to decide what to do basicly by myself. I cried for hours. I still feel like I ‘killed’ her, but I know it was the right thing to do. I realize non pet lovers will not understand how I can feel this deeply for a cat, but that is how unconditional love works.

    Keep up the good work advocating for the Humane Society and so many unwanted pets that only want a special person to care for them.

    PS ~ Love the pet section on the Saturday morning news.

  17. Lyn says:

    Danielle! Loved your blog, right on sister!
    The one thing I have always found with those that are anti animal like Pamela is how they feel a need to put down those that make pets and animals a priority, either in companionship or in need.
    I never hear animal lovers slam those that prefer to do human work or make human a priority. Guess those that love the beasts have a true heart of compassion. I give my time to both and would NEVER talk down to anyone that gives of their time for man or beast. Just give to better someone or something. Pamela sounds like a bitter, unhappy soul.
    Give Cubbie a hug from me and hugs to you too Danielle for all the good you do for our 4-legged friends. I look forward to the next Cubbie walk!

  18. Lisa says:

    I appreciate your post. Thoughtful, well written. I WAS a lot like you—pre children. Full time job, single with a dog. She was my life and I (thought) loved her like a child. Then I got married and HAD children. All I will say is this: Please consider re-writing this when you do HAVE children. I think you likely laugh at yourself–and I mean that!

  19. Katy says:

    Pamela J- Your comments are disgusting. To say someone is psychologically damaged simply because they love their pet is crazy. Maybe if you hadn’t been so disrespectful as a child (since you apparently are now) your mother wouldn’t have treated you as a dog. Learn to live life with a smile, it will get you much further in life than the depressing journey you seem to be on now!

  20. Joyce Aubrey says:

    Danielle,

    We have 5 dogs and a kitty and we love them all very much. We appreciate your attitude toward animals and love your weekend programs. We enjoy seeing Jennifer with the kitties. Keep on loving Cubbie and thanks for all of your work with the Humane Society. Your fans

  21. Stacey says:

    Wow… Danielle..I feel so amazing after reading your blog…I agree with everything you wrote, and thought maybe I was the only one…I have friends who have dogs who keep them in the basement and they are not aloud upstairs because there are children upstairs..and it breaks my heart…they are dear friends of mine..but why get dogs if you are going to keep them locked in your baseement….my dog Hydro..carried me through a divorce.. a man who wanted a dog, but after he left me..wanted nothign to do with Hydro….and it saddened me terribly…now I share my bed with my true love..a srong, warm, protector..who doesn’t sweat, snore, fart, or druell red wine on my white pillows…yes, he ha four legs and a tail….but he is amazing…truly amazing!!!!.Hydro is the love of my life! I couldn’ think of a better way to spend my days!

  22. Mildred says:

    I completely agree with you, I have two daughters, I always wished to have a boy. So now I am the proud mother of Sparky, our chihuahua, he’s like a son to me. I respect other people feelings, but I make clear how I feel for my baby. He’s just a beauty and he’s so lovable. So really, I do understand you. I also have a special bond with Sparky, because as my husband says, he’s the boy that I would never have.

  23. Missy says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Our two dogs are my children and luckily my husband agrees. We love them more than anything and wish so much that we could take them every place children are allowed to go.

    They sleep with us, they eat with us and they wear adorable clothes. On the plus side, we are able to have pet health insurance (do you have that, totally check it out VIP Pet insurance) and we are able to work form home some days a week to be with them… when we aren’t they go to stay with their grandparents and play all day!

    In short… you go girl. We totally understand and approve of your furry child. Our dogters are our life!

  24. Jack Holt says:

    I treat my dog like a child. I kiss on her like a baby constantly!!! I have a Female Basset Hound named Sadie. I took her in when she was 6 months old. I don’t know if I can go on with life once I lose her. I know one thing, I will be needing medication for coping with it.

  25. Andrea says:

    I agree with you 100%
    Scooter is a Lhasa Apso. I received him on my 18th birthday, two years after Carlo (my husband) and I started dating. Scooter was our life and we saw him grown, he was our son. Due to major back problems, I am not able to have children of my own, and Scooter covered that void. After 15 ½ years, Scooter passed away on December 7, 2008. We were traumatized. The love I had and will always have for him is unexplainable. He could always put a smile on our face; he would give kisses and lick our tears if we were sad. Scooter depended on us and therefore he was just like a child. But for those that are unable to have children of their own, animals become your children. Dogs love their owners unconditionally. I will never have my own children, and will never know what it is like to have my own children. But scooter was motherhood for me. People have love or feel love for different things. Who is anyone else to tell me what to love or how love should feel.

  26. MARIA says:

    I LOVED YOUR POST. I HAVE TWO CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIELS AND THEY ARE MY TWO BABIES.

  27. Jim says:

    I share my ex-wife’s 4 pound Maltese, I started puppy sitting when she went to work doing makeup…I’m a photographer and live in my studio so I don’t have to leave Sophie alone… I never do.. this little dog stole my heart….. I’m 6’1″ 225 rugged looking man.. people giggle when they see us together, I see the irony…. I don’t care… I treat her like a princess… I built a ramp so she can get in my bed with me… I have a little roll cart that brings her to table level…. because she’s not happy if she’s not in my lap or right beside me…. I have a motorhome with a generator and AC, so when I go to the store she comes with me and stays in the RV when I go in. I could never leave her alone for 8 hours.. that’s her greatest fear being left alone….. I have a grown son….. yeah, I love him, it’s not much different…

  28. Francis Douse says:

    I just came by after doing a google search. I was brought up with dogs and they were part of our family and when they passed beyond the great veil, I grieved as much I do for any of our family when they pass. I still visit the grave and say a prayer, I’m not ashamed of admitting I loved them deeply, I will not limit my affection on the basis of how many legs someone has.

    I now have seven cats, we can’t have children so we count our blessings for what we can have. I love each of them so much and they give so much back. Pure, unconditional love.. if more people were like that, we would live in a wonderful world. I get upset knowing people see them as ‘just animals’, but the loss is theirs, they really, really do not know what they are missing out on.

    Warmest regards to everyone here who understands. x

  29. kelly egloff says:

    i completely agree with you 100%. i am 36 yrs old, i’ve been married for 10 yrs, i have no kids, and i have 5 dogs. i love MY BABIES… THEY ARE MY KIDS!!! they have their own room ( they all share) that is set up like a kids room, they have their own myspace page. my babies are my world, they depend on me, and make me smile.
    people have told me i’m NUTS for being the way i am with my dogs but it has never been important to me what people say.
    my dogs are the best, i will fight to protect them the same as they would for me.
    i have all different breeds from a beagle to a shepard, lab, chow, and pitt i have had 3 of them for over 8 yrs, one over 5 yrs, and one over 2 yrs, i love them sooooooo much. they get x mas gifts, easter baskets, valentine’s day gifts the whole works. i’m so glad you posted this it has helped me relize i’m not crazy, and that this is the way it should be.

  30. Lily says:

    I loved this post. But I have a problem…children dander!! I work in Social Services and I can say this so honestly…DOGS/CATS ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN KIDS! I have such a dissonance with people that say kids are better than dogs/cats.. I could give too many situations when dogs have been proven to be more worthy of a soul than humans. I am so sick an tired of “The MOM GROUP” telling us how to feel. Screw off you bags. I’m 39 years old; my net (bet you don’t know what that means) is over 140K – AND I LOVE MY DOGS MORE THAN I LOVE A HUMAN!
    Give it to me you mom’s who let strangers take care of your kids …. you make me sick.

  31. mm says:

    i miss my cat that passed away a few days ago. He was a orange cream and white tabby cat. I love him as a child of my own. I see no difference in the amount of love I had for him and a child. I cant get over his passing. I want him back. Their lives are too short and he was in pain, i did not euthanize him , i just couldnt do it. he had heart disease and possible cancer we just found out about cancer right before he died. I dont know waht to do with his body. I went to a cemetary and the lady at the humane society was very rude so I am not going to burry him there, i am not able to make any more decisions, I wish I coudl have him cyro freezed. i cant belive he is gone, i will never get over this. will i? i need to so i can take care of my daughter my life.

  32. Jessica says:

    Thank you for your post! I have 2 cats who I call the kids or the girls. I am 29 years old on the cusp of being 30 and dare I say not married and never want children and for some reason society thinks that’s awful. I love my life the way it is. I treat my 2 girls like I would if they were human children. I worry about how they feel when I leave for work or go on a trip without them. I hate that renters cannot easily find a place to move into that allows pets. I will say when my youngest was 5 weeks old and the size of my hand she did get slipped into a tote bag with her blankie and taken to the store. They get hugged & kissed before I leave for work and receive the same love when I get home. I get laughed at frequently by friends and family that I put so much effort into loving my animals. I don’t care. Animals are such unconditionally loving beings.

  33. Ann says:

    Very well put. Thank you and send my best to Cubbie.

  34. Lori says:

    Wow…after reading this just made me feel better. I just lost my chihuahua that i had for 2 years and she passed away unexpected yesterday. I have done nothing but cry, can’t think, feel numb, want to fill this void and talk about it, yet i can’t. I dont think my friends understand how i feel about jasmine. she was my best friend, my little girl, i took care of her just the way you do for Cubbie. I bathed her, trimmed her nails, cooked her chicken, made sure she had her apple snack, rubbed the belly and tucked her into bed with us every night. she left behind my legs. last night being the first night without her was devastating. i am still in shock, i cant believe it happened and today i asked myself is this normal. i am crying more than when my brother passed away. i realized it was because just like you i cared for her like i care for my 3 kids. i was jasmine’s mom…i looked for her in the mornings making sure she had her food, her water, that she was warm in her bed. and unfortanetely when we came home she had passed away in her bed. so i totally agree with you that you love cubbie as a child. i dont even want to imagine the loss of a child, but i can say that i loved my little jasmine very much and its hurting. and its not about being just a pet, she was part of my family. and i have three kids who i love very much and take care of with all my heart and love. some may or may not understand. i can only say that you have every god given right to feel the way you feel regardless of what anyone says.

  35. Princess says:

    Omg I love this blog……..I have a maltese and I love him so much. Louis V. is my life. From the moment I wake up till the time I go to sleep I cater to my dog. Dogs are great, they love you unconditionally, and they dont care if you are rich are poor, pretty or ugly and they hug and kiss you everyday for no reason at all…..

  36. Vanessa says:

    I just came across this article and it is me! I am single and get asked these same questions. I have also decided I am not sure I will ever be ready for children after adopting my dog. Some people think I am crazy for treating my dog the way I do but I do not want to have any regrets. I feel guilty when I leave her too long. I completely sympathize with you! This is a great article! I just wish people would quit saying “It’s a dog, not a child.” She is my child!! Thanks for this!

  37. BN says:

    I have three dogs and no children. I can guarantee that my dogs would be better behaved in restaurants than some children. I simply cannot tolerate children at my workplace or when I go out for a relaxing night with my husband. Dogs all the way! They only know love. “Bad” dogs come from bad people.

  38. alex says:

    ah i do love this blog! ive had my dog 2years now, i rescued him as a puppy and i couldnt imagine my life without him or what id do if i ever lost him. Although i dont agree with one comment saying ‘ bad dogs come from bad people’ milo has never and will never get on with big male breeds, ive tried everything but it seems set into him poissibly from his first 6months before i got him or maybe its inbuilt into his breed? I think dogs have there own characters, and just like a child its up to the owner to be responsible rather than ‘good’ or’bad’

  39. Kathy says:

    I have a yellow lab and to me she is my world. I Love her so much. She is my fur child and I treat her like my baby by catering to her every need from food, toys, and yes clothes (I dress my dog).
    There is nothing wrong with treating your animals like family.

  40. Danielle says:

    Hi. I don’t think there is anything wrong with treating your dog with the same love and respect you would as your child. The only problem I have is when dog owners dress their dogs up in shoes and dresses etc. A coat or top for the winter time- yes, ofcourse. But seriously, clothes? It’s ridiclous. Dogs are not humans. I have also noticed prams for dogs – it’s mad. Dogs absolutely love to walk and explore. It’s their favourite thing. I do understand that sometimes these prams are used for immobile dogs though, which is a great idea.

    The majority of people who disagree that you shouldn’t love a dog like a child have never had dogs or spent a lot of time around one. I respect this, because before I had a dog, I had no idea either. But you really can build a deep bond with a dog. I absolutely love mine. Keep loving your dogs and give them a wonderful, fun and exciting life.

  41. Amelia says:

    Hello,

    I love your story. It’s nice to know that I am not the only “crazy” woman, like some of my friends call me, for loving my dog so much. He is the love of my life. I treat him like a child and he acts like one. Whiskey is his name and he is a Yellow Labrador. One example that dogs are like children is that he knows when he does something wrong, and he gets sad when I get mad at him for not behaving; for instance: One day he was outside on the backyard and he was eating figs (I have a fig tree). I got really upset when I saw him eating figs because he gets sick, so I told him really upset: “No! what have I told you?! you are going to get sick again! get in the house!” He slowly went back into the house and I just stood in front of the kitchen sink and pretended that I was washing the dishes. He then started to rub his face on my legs. I wanted him to learn his lesson and I just ignored him; he took a deep breath and stood there for a little bit more and then he walked out of the kitchen, but before he left he turned back and looked at me with this sad eyes. They really are like children. Whiskey is my baby, and I would do anything for him. Thus, enjoy your baby, and ignore those who don’t understand this kind of love; they are missing something beautiful by not knowing what is like to love a dog the way we do.

  42. Steffie Rizos says:

    I am a mother of two grown boys and also a mother of four very loving dogs. We never asked for them but we got them and now that we have them,we cannot imagine our life without them. We had one of our own, a vivacious cocker spaniel that our family adopted from our local Humane Society. Nine years later we came across 2 neglected shitzus that we rescued and then a 3rd terrier puppy that we took into our home and love so much. Without offending anyone, if you’ve never had a pet, especially a dog to care for, you’ll never understand. They are my babies, but I must tell you that I did not always feel this way until I had the pleasure of bringing one in my home due to my sons’ persistence. They are like humans; they are very smart and know when they are doing something wrong or if we are upset. They depend on us and need us. And I know that we need them in our lives. I look forward to going home and taking long walks with them despite my long hours at work. I treat them like my kids. I get up in the middle of the night and take them out to do their business. They sleep on my bed with me and I would not have it any other way. My husband and I lost our jobs due to the 2008 market crash but that did not stop us from caring for our little guests regardless of our financial woes. We love our dogs. All four of them.

  43. Heidi says:

    Hi Danielle,
    i came across your blog when i was looking for “Dog therapy for depression”. I have never had a dog as a pet and i am 29. I have depression and i believe that a dog can help that. My brother had a dog and i loved taking it for walks but it was not my own.
    I do not think that there is anything wrong in treating your dog like a child. You obviously love Cubbie and if you love something beit a pet or a child you will do the best for it.
    There is only one thing i do not think about pets and that is that they should be alowed into shops and places alot of people go. Some people are allergic and if i got a dog i would not want anyone else to suffer
    Anyway thankyou for putting up this blog it has been interesting.

  44. Rachel says:

    Hello!
    Thank you for the lovely website! You and your dog look so happy! I relate to you and Cubbie as I love my Pomeranian so much! There are a very few places I do not take her. If a pub doesn’t allow my dog in with me I don’t visit there anymore, and I make a mental note of those establishments who happily welcome us. Only problem with this love for our dogs is that when they are unwell we are sick with worry!
    Dogs are so special like a lot of other animals, I feel really blessed to have her, she gets so much love and is looked after by my parents during the working day! All the best to you both!x

  45. Tiniesha says:

    I totally agree with you! I love my two dogs so much, I think I’ve spent more on their health care than my own.

  46. Lei says:

    I have just come across this after googling ‘I love my dog’. Mine’s in the kennel while I’m writing exams and I’m missing him dearly. I’d love to have children of my own but sadly I don’t. I have never had a pet in my life until I got Milo. He’s my baby and is the child I don’t have and don’t know if I’ll ever be able to have. To those of you who have children, you are extremely blessed. To those of us who don’t have children of our own, our pets are our children. You will never be able to understand the pain of not being able to have a child and the alternative of being able to pour the love inside of you and to nurture a beloved pet, who loves you unconditionally and has brought so much joy to my life. There are many places that people can take their biological children to that I wish I can take my Milo to, in order to share the experience with him e.g shopping but sadly, I’m not allowed to because of restrictions in these establishments. It’s a shame that they don’t restrict incessant screaming children whilst they’re at it. If you’re so blessed to have children of your own, please do not discriminate those of us who don’t or can’t have and who choose instead to give our love to our 4 legged family members. It is not only cold but heartless.

  47. Paul says:

    Danielle, I cannot agree with you more. We recently lost our 7 year old Maltipoo, Niki, in an automobile accident. It all happened so fast. I was in shock, and devastated. We rushed her to the local emergency clinic, but there was nothing they could do. She was hit hard, and killed instantly. Niki was our only child. She was what kept us balanced, very much what a child does to a household. She teaches you selflessness, kindness, and patience, just like a human child would, although a dog will always need you, while a human child will eventually grow up and be independent. My wife feels she was brought to our home to help us improve our character, and once her mission was accomplished she had to return to help others. She is now an angel again. I felt pain and anguish like I have never felt before. Compared to close relatives dying, this felt deeper because Niki was closer to us than anyone. My wife and I both cried like we’ve never cried before. I have to believe losing a child must be a very traumatic, deeply painful, and like losing a piece of oneself. I will not experience this, but losing a deeply loved pet must be close.

  48. Courtney says:

    I don’t know why I’m responding to this blog…I just came across it while looking for a Christmas gift for a dog-loving relative. But I want to say that I have two children and no pets (I’m not even much of an animal lover beyond the basic hating-to-see-animals-suffer stuff) but I hate it when parents belittle pet-owners’ love for their animals. Sure there are plenty of differences in raising a child and raising an animal, but the experience of deeply loving and selflessly caring for another being has plenty of similarities, too. I can tell by listening to my pet-loving friends how deep and sincere their relationships with their animals are.

  49. S. Lee says:

    Came across your website wondering if other people love their dogs as much as I do. I love my dog like a child, too! I know exactly how you feel.

  50. Terri says:

    Hey – Cat Stevens wrote a song about his dog – It’s called “I love My Dog”. His first line is “I love my dog as much as I love you, you may fade my dog will always be true”. See, you aren’t the only one to love their dog like that. I have had children, I have a husband, I have even had other dogs, but my current dog is the absolute love of my life. My constant companion, my shadow. She goes every where with me – even shopping and like, every where. She is beautifully behaved, far better than most children in public, and just a joy to be around.

    There are a lot of people who love and adore their dogs – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise or make you feel bad because that is the way you feel. A dog can be a best friend, a buddy to hear you when you are sad, a friend to play with in the park, a pal who makes sure you get daily exercise, a lap warmer, a travel companion, and the love of your life.

  51. Lilly says:

    I know that, without a doubt, my dog would die for me. I think that is reason alone to treat him with as much love and affection I can give.

  52. McKenzie says:

    Recenttly we took our dog to the vet for a torn ACL surgery. Guess whoses medical bills are the highest?…Not the kids. On top of that we’ve been up all night with a crying, hurt dog. Even though raising kids vs the dog is completely different – dogs are truly part of the family

  53. Kris says:

    Love this post so much!! Couldn’t agree more!

  54. may says:

    I only agree with you. My dog is my family, he is my baby. I don’t care that people disagree, I love him and that’s what matters.

  55. jenny says:

    I will never have children(human) but I dare anyone to stand outside my house for 20 minutes and tell me I have no kids:)”what’s in your mouth, leave her alone, who’s my baby” are on repeat. I just lost my Scarlett to an incredibly, aggressive intestinal cancer at age 5–all the more difficult to bear as my husband is a vet tech and has helped animals for more than 20 years! However, my Bella is my new ‘baby’-9 weeks old–and I’m up about every hour to make sure she;s ok. She sleeps by me so I can hear if she need to potty. I’m up now b/c I spend every moment between waking up and working caring for 3 rescued dogs, 1 rescued parrot, and 9 rescued cats(all fixed w shots-4 indoor and 5 outside feral and fixed)I DO HAVE A BABIES:)

  56. Jennifer says:

    I came across this website as I too was interested in reading about others who have a strong love for their dogs as I do. I am 52 now and have had many loves in my life… Family, partners, friends…but nothing prepared me for the all-encompassing love I was going to experience when I finally made the decision to share my life with a dog. I had always had a busy career, travelled a lot, and although I had always dreamed of having a dog some day my circumstances were never right… I just wasn’t at home enough to care for a dog properly and give it all that it needs. Then finally I started a new career which meant that I would be working from home, and felt the time was right to have my dog! Well… Six years on I have my precious little dog and he is without doubt the love of my life. We go everywhere together, I can’t bear being apart from him for long, I don’t even take holidays anymore unless he can come with me… He is always at my side, sleeps beside me every night, even sits in the bathroom watching me when I’m on the toilet or having a bath!!! I can’t be in any room in the house without him sat by my side, and he sits at my feet all day when I’m sat at the computer working. I miss him dreadfully when I’m without him (which is rare!), and every time I come home, even if I’ve only been out for a half hour, he is so ecstatic to see me as though I’ve been gone for weeks! But the best way I can describe what I feel for him, is that when I’m with him, looking at him, my heart just “smiles”. No matter what awful things life throws up, he brings a smile to my face and in my heart. I could have the most dreadful day that leaves me in tears but just looking at his adoring little face will bring a smile that I couldn’t fight even if I tried. Every day I am astounded at the capacity this little animal has to bring me such joy and warmth inside, and this is coming from someone who has spent years living “the high life”, full of romance and career success and adventure. I have a partner now who is wonderful to me, and an exciting job that pays well and that fulfills me. I only say that to point out how that is all overshadowed by this precious little dog I share my life with, and I’d give it all up in a heartbeat for my little man. One day he will be no longer, and I can’t even begin to imagine how that will utterly devastate me. I expect the intensity of loss will be matched only by the intensity of joy he has given me. Does this all sound crazy? I don’t care if it does! It just is what it is, and I feel fortunate to have been able to find a special little animal that gives me such joy. You hear stories every day about the sickening cruelty people are capable of doling out to dogs, and all animals for that matter, and it breaks my heart and shocks me to the core. Even at gunpoint I couldn’t betray that trust. I’m sure that many of you out there relate to what I’m saying, even though many might think I’m a bit pathetic! But it feels nice to be able to share the love I feel for my dog with other like-minded people, and to read the stories of others reminds me that not ALL humans are as disappointing as those who betray and don’t appreciate the pure and unconditional love of man’s best friend! I wish all of you and your precious fur babies a long and happy life together!

  57. Shannon says:

    I agree with you 100%! I treat my little girl like my baby. She has a nicer wardrobe than I do! She is my world, I can take her almost anywhere because she is well behaved and she’s hypoallergenic (yes ik there’s no such thing but she is a teacup poodle who is shaved year round, so she poses no threat to allergey sufferers). She’s also very well behaved. She hops in her little bag that’s disguised as a purse. You will not believe how many times I’ve snuck her into walmart and how many times she’s eaten at olive garden with me. She just sits in her bag and when no ones looking I slip her some food. I would willingly die for her. We have a special, amazing, strong bond, that no one understands. You really have to have a bond like it to understand it. One of my favorite quotes is ‘If she is just a dog then I am just a man.’ I’ve had her since 3rd grade and I will hopefully live a long life with her. Everyone calls me crazy and insane. But everyone that knows me knows for sure to never come between me and my dog because if my little Maggie is ever hurt I will hurt who ever hurt her. And there’s no question between you or the dog, it’s always the dog :)

  58. Alice says:

    I have 4 children and a grandson, and I love them all.However, my relationship with my dogs is very very special. When my Holly dog died 2 years ago I was devastated. I still think about her every day and will love her forever. Her ashes are buried in the family grave and there is a little holly leaf now on the headstone. Six months after losing Holly, my family and friends convinced me that having another dog would help me recover, and it has. Tara gets treated with the same love and respect Holly had, and therefore is turning out to be the same kind of loving confident laughing dog as her. I promised myself I would never get so attached to an animal again, But I couldnt help myself. they are so adorable and the unconditional love is perfect. I do have problems when the family want me to go abroad on holiday. We cant all go because i can only leave my pets with people who really love me, because I know they will take great care of them I have promised I will go to Spain this year, but only for a week, then Im off home to Scotland and my Tara. Im already worried about leaving her and I think this is the only downside of loving your pets so much. I have found a wonderful villa in Majorca where the owners only allow you to stay in it if you love animals, because their house is nearby and they have loads of them. I am looking forward to meeting them all, but will be quite happy when the week is up and I can come home to Tara. I also look after other peoples animals, who like me, find it hard to leave their pets. Although I can honestly say that I havent found anyone as bad as me. I would be asking many many more questions and asking for loads of references and checking out the house and garden a lot more than they do. I know I can be trusted but they dont. Wish I had a clone!!

  59. Carlos Ruano says:

    I, too, love my dogs as if they were my children. My wife and I do not have any children, but we do give our home to five wonderful, loving and loyal dogs. Now that two of them are showing their advanced age in the way that they move, play, and act, my mind sometimes wanders to places I wish it wouldn’t. I cannot imagine my life without my best friends.
    My wife and I do plan on having children one day soon, but I can promise you, the way that I feel about my dogs will not change, and they their place in my heart will not diminish one bit.

  60. NJ says:

    My Yorkie Santi means the world to me. Me and my ex wife have joint custody of him. He brings me so much happiness to our lives as his brother Hank did before his untimely passing last year. I would literally risk my life for him.There are some people that will never understand that..but in the end it matters what you feel.

  61. Nick Johnson says:

    I hope your baby is OK today.. I Love all my dogs (10) But my pit bull girl is my sweetheart, she’d never hurt a bug, unless they were gonna eat her food or hurt me.
    I believe she would do anything a loyal friend would do .. as I would her. and all my others.
    Dog-God both unconditional love for their children :o )

  62. Brittany says:

    Something about conceiving and giving birth to children triggers the “self centered and entitled asshole” gene in many people, and they proceed to disregard other people’s (including other parents’) feelings and decisions as not as important or valid as their own.
    Thanks for writing.

  63. donna davis says:

    I love my dogs, they are my babies, my one has hepatitis so I spend a lot of time at the vets with him and giving him all his meds,when he doesn’t feel good it breaks my heart,but I love him dearly

  64. Cheryl says:

    Oh I just love this! I love my two daughters and I also love my two dogs! Animals have feelings just like we do! Why can’t people see that????? They all need a safe and loving home! Thank you so much for posting!

  65. Hunter Hutchinson says:

    My wife and I share our lives with two precious canines, a full blooded Yorkie boy a mixed Yorkie-Poo girl. Our Yorkie boy w acquired from a breeder, and our Yorkie-Poo girl is a rescue. We love our babies. Their happiness and welfare are of paramount importance to us. We adore them. They bring such infinite joy into our lives. Dogs are truly God’s greatest gift to humanity.

    We have adult human children whom we love and adore. And now, we have canine children!! Yes, our two dogs are our children. Only someone who truly loves dogs can understand that the dog is like one’s child, and is a full fledged member of the family, with the same rights as every other family member. I thank God every night before I go to bed for our human children, and for the precious gift he has given my wife and me of our two canine children. The joy they bring is impossible to describe. It is deep and profound. The bond between human and dog is deep.

    We love our human children. We love them very much, and would do anything for them. We would sacrifice ourselves for our human children. But, we love our canine children just as much as we love our human children, and like with out human children, we would do anything for our canines, even sacrifice our selves for them. Our human children understand our love for our two canines, and are happy that mom and dad are happy in their old age with two precious little dogs.

  66. Dave says:

    I love my cat as much as Ash loves his Pikachu (Pokemon).
    People tell me that if I could only save one, I should save a human stranger instead of my cat. Or they call sick and disguising for putting my pet’s live above a human’s.

    People dont know how much relationships matter to some people.

    My loved ones matter more to me that anyone else.
    Without them my life is meaningless.

  67. Sarah says:

    I am so proud of you for standing up for this! I have 3 cats and a dog and they are my “children” too. I love them so dearly! While I can understand both sides of some of the issues presented, I do think that responsible pet ownership is a really important issue that is not rewarded, much less even acknowledged in this country. It is costly and time consuming, just from a practical standpoint, aside from the stress, sleepless nights and care involved when you have a sick animal like Danielle describes. (We have had our share of issues including kidney failure at my house.)

    I just think it’s beautiful that people see and experience that animals are complex, emotional creatures. They may not have human cognition, but they are far more intelligent and capable of physical and emotional feeling that people give than many people give them credit. Danielle highlights that & I hope we can keep evolving as humans to better treat all animals in our care (whether they are on farms, in zoos, or in our own homes). If we spoil a few along the way, well, they probably deserve it.

  68. Mark says:

    Couldn’t say it better, SO very well written….you sound very respectful of others, and yet, made a great point of view I agree with….I love my Dog more then most people….he has taught me a lot in the 6 months I have had him. LOVE HIM!

  69. Cheryl says:

    New studies have said that we are supposed to treat our dogs like a child..all those old school dominance theories do more harm than good!I agree 100% with you! I have my dog when I first went to a new country & he was my only friend, & best friend ever as he went everywhere with me, was my passenger in car when no one dared to sit in my car coz I was a new driver!He still is today & I am putting off having kids as I know my dog very well & when you have a reactive dog & a baby, they don’t go together very well!He was there for me when I needed him & eventhough life is better now, I’ll always be there for him in return.I love my dog like my child & I’m proud of it!

  70. Yvonne Gurge says:

    I totally agree with you. I love my dog so much she was really sick and was in the hospital all because I didn’t have her spayed. I thought I would ruin her personality but becuase I waited she develop an infection in her uterus called pyometra which is bacteria that could be fatal. So just in time when she was sick I rushed her to the emergency vet clinic I would do anything for my dog. After 1,200.00 later I am completely broke but we love her and she is a very big part of my family and I am just the happiest mommy to go pick her up today and just knowing that I can spend many more years with her and give her the best life.

  71. Shirley says:

    I’m so happy to hear so many out there love their furry babies as much as I love my, precious BoBo! My boyfriend and I have no children, don’t plan on having any. BoBo is our baby. We both treat him like our son. We take him almost everywhere we go. Vacations, grocery stores, dept. stores, Costco, and restaurants too. He goes to doggie daycare everyday while we are at work. We do everything possible to avoid him having to stay home alone.

  72. Ashley says:

    I feel the same way. I’m 24 and I have a dog, Jack, who will be 5 next month. I adopted him when he was 7 1/2 weeks old. The first 2 months he was with me, I cried every night because he was up every hour whining needing to go potty, then eat, and then I had to hold him until he fell asleep and to keep him asleep, wrap him in a blanket…just like a baby. I grew up helping my parents with my little brother and sister and while you are right, animals are not children, there are so many issues to worry about with both. Jack is my best friend and my child. When he doesn’t feel well, he can’t verbally tell me, but he curls up to me and gives me that look. Just like a boy he hates baths, but loves to roll around in the mud. Maybe it’s just practice until I have human children, but he is my baby…and he knows it!

  73. laura says:

    Melk,
    I find it a tad patronising that you think this poor woman will grow out of her beleif that dogs are like children when she has kids… I have a daughter, whom I adore with all my heart. I have a dog, whom I adore with all my heart. My dog is no less my baby than she is. I don;t think becoming a mother will ever change the writers mind either. You either love yoru pet like a child; or you don’t. Having children doesn’t have to change how you feel about your dog… any more than having a second child makes you change how you feel about your first.
    Truely loving them means you woudl do anything for them; I would do anything for my dog and I would do any thing for my child. I miss both of them when they are not with me. I really don’t think that just because you don’t feel the same about pets and children, that you can assert the idea that the writer will one day feel the sameas you just because she has a sprog.

  74. Dave says:

    I completely agree. I had my little Papi for 11 years. My family always knew that if i am coming to visit, Papi was coming too. He was my child in almost every sense of the word. My little guy was my life. If it wernt for Papi, I don’t know that I would have gotten through. Four days ago, my Papi passed in his sleep. I don’t know how to function without him. I don’t know how to make this horrible pain go away

  75. nicole says:

    thank you for writing this. i stumbled across it while i was researching for a blog post i wrote about how i’m feeling right now, which is this: i have two dogs that i have had for five years, i love them so deeply, and now i am pregnant with my first child…so i am living in fear that once the baby comes along, my feelings for the dogs will change (as some commenters here have implied will happen…but i am also relieved to see some parents of human children commenting about how they love their dogs just as much!). i can’t imagine not loving my dogs. i can’t wait to meet my baby, and i can’t wait for my pups to meet their new little brother or sister. :) and by the way, i heartily disagree with the commenter who said that dogs shouldn’t be allowed on planes. every time i travel, i wish that a dog-friendly airline existed, one that would allow me to keep even the larger of my two pups in the cabin with me. as it stands, i can’t travel with my big pup without putting him in a cargo hold…and i can’t imagine doing that. he would be terrified, and he wouldn’t know where i was, and i wouldn’t be able to comfort him. even thinking about it breaks my heart. i have major allergies, too (which is why i own two hypoallergenic dogs, a yorkie and a labradoodle), so i know that excellent medications exist for treating allergies. and i would gladly dose up with whatever it took to get me through a plane ride if it meant that a fellow dog-mom got to take her (non-hypoallergenic) baby in the cabin with her.

  76. Mymomlou says:

    I love my dog like a child. Once you chose to bring a living being into your life, it is your responsibilty to make the best possible life for it. My six year old puppy wants for nothing. He sees the doc at least twice a year and is on a special diet (prob better than mine!) He brings us so much unconditional love and joy! Of course he is not a child,but he will be dependent on us until he is no longer here, and I will do whatever it takes to make his time on this earth happy.

  77. Michael Bowers says:

    I was very impressed by your remarks and thought they were extremely well-written. You are a very good writer, regardless of any debate about the subject.

    I think pets can be wonderful and actually bring you closer to God as you view unconditional love from both ends and try to marvel at God’s unconditional love for each one of us. I want to be the kind of person my beautiful dog thinks I am!

  78. Miriam A. says:

    What a beautiful story. I feel the same way about my two dogs. I love them more than anyone in the world. I don’t have children.

  79. micah says:

    You are so right! Me and my wife just love our rescued dog sooo much.she is everything to us. She shows nothing but love towards us, she is never in a bad mood and always by or side. I love her every bit as much as i would love a child.

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