Thursday, August 11, 2016

I Don't Call Myself a Parent

My dogs aren't babies.


I don't want a baby.

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I've never in my life wanted to have children.


My dogs and cats are not replacements for children.


I get that for some people, that might be the case. But I don't need replacements for children, because I don't want and never have wanted to have children. I am not a parent, and I do not want to be a parent.


That does not in any way stop me from loving my dogs. I might not love them like a parent loves a child. Since I don't have children, I have nothing to compare to.


But for parents to tell me that I don't understand love because I don't have kids, or that I only love my dogs because I haven't had a child yet, or that if I had a child my dogs would mean way less to me, that demeans what I do have with my dogs.


If I am willing to admit that I don't fully understand what it is like to be a parent, can you just admit that you don't know what it is like to be a fully committed dog owner with no desire to ever be a parent? Parents will use their own experiences here to try to slam their point home, saying that they really loved their dog, but when they had kids, they learned what love really was, and their dog meant much less to them. And that well may be true for them. But that is not true for everyone.

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Just as having a second child doesn't have to make you love your first child any less, having a child doesn't have to mean you love your dog any less. I have very committed flyball friends who have kids, and who love their dogs. These aren't mutually exclusive. There isn't a finite amount of love that a person can give away. I am not saying that they love their dogs and their kids the same. But different kinds of love don't mean one is lesser than another.

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I can love my dogs as dogs, and that love means something, and doesn't have anything at all to do with children. My love for my dogs shouldn't make a parent feel threatened in their love for their child, regardless of if I refer to my dogs as my kids, fur babies, or just as beloved pets. I don't refer to myself as a dog mom, or a parent, but other people sometimes refer to me like that, and that is fine. When I ask my dogs if they want to visit Mom, I mean my mom, the woman I have spent all my life calling mom.


A number of articles have been written by parents ranting about "pet parents" referring to themselves as parents, to their pets as fur babies, or as their kids, and how doing so demeans the actual, true, sacred part of being a parents, and that these people just don't understand and need to stop. You know what? I don't do any of that stuff, and I find it absolutely stupid that these parents are apparently so threatened emotionally by pet owners that they feel the need to dictate how pet owners are allowed to refer to themselves and their pets.

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So let me sum this up for you.

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My love of my dogs is real. It matters. It is deep, and a seriously important part of my life.

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The love that I hold for my dogs has nothing at all to do with your feelings about dogs, or your love for your child.

Bald Hill April-7519

I love my dogs. I am sure you love your offspring. You may or may not have or love dogs. But there doesn't need to be a comparison. The love I have for my dogs has nothing at all to do with the love that you have for your children. And the words that I use to express the love I have for my dogs should not in any way impact how you feel about your children.

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  1. Beautifully said! Just perfect!

  2. Nicely said! I do have a child but my animals never took a backseat after having him and I never loved them any less after having him.

    The Bell Fur Zoo

  3. Well said! I am one of those who consider myself Mom to my canine kids (and, obviously, refer to them as my kids/ babies). I am also Mom to a beautiful ten-year-old daughter. I love what you say about love not being mutually exclusive. And no, we don't love them the same, but not because of the human/ canine factor (at least, not for me) - we love everyone in our life "differently," because they are different. My love for my child is overwhelming, sweeping, intense, and in the very marrow of my bones - and so is my love for my dogs. My connection to them is just as visceral. "There isn't a finite amount of love that a person can give away" - how true and powerful. Thanks for sharing!

  4. So true, there doesn't need to be a comparison - why should there be?? Why criticize anyone for feeling one way or the other about their pets? Live & let live, I say.

  5. Very well said and I agree wholeheartedly!