Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I believe in dog.

Running behind and no time has become my standard state of affairs these days. So I thought I'd share something I wrote recently in response to a blog post over at Dogster.com. The post posed the question "Are dogs the new kids?"

Personally, I don't view my dogs as my children. Yes, I light-heartedly call myself mommy and refer to Jan as daddy but I don't honestly think Bella is my child. You might even still catch me using the word "owner" in relation to my dogs although I don't really believe one can 'own' a living being.

But not thinking my dog is a child does not, in any way, diminish her worth in my eyes. Dogs are dogs and children are children and each life has value intrinsic to itself. In fact, and here's what I wanted to share:

I believe dogs are a representation of just about every human relationship we will ever know.

As puppies, they are like children: in need of our care, our guidance, our support.

As they mature, they become more like our partners and spouses: someone we have chosen to share our life with through good times and bad, accepting them for all their faults and foibles.

And finally, as they age, they begin to represent our parents: we learn to come to terms with watching them lose their vitality and cope with their failing health. We begin to prepare ourselves for loss and a life without them.

No, my dog is not my child. But she's none the-less for being my dog.

For those of you in the know, yes, this image has been altered to protect the not exactly innocent.
Let's keep that our little secret, okay?


  1. Beautiful, Leslie. You describe it so well!

  2. I loved your comment over at the Dogster post. You put it so well. I agree 100%.

    I don't want to pick arguments with people who think of their animals as children. But I sometimes wonder if they're out on the adult part of the relationship. Or maybe its just semantics.

  3. I might blog as a dog but I totally agree with you. I'm not anthropomorphic, Georgia's not my child and I actually don't squirm using the word "owner" though I don't see her as property but part of our family. That is just too precious for me, like calling a garbo a sanitation expert LOL. I totally respect and adore Georgia as a dog.

    Very interesting your life phases :)

  4. Well said, Leslie! And how true.

  5. Keri @ Trinity's LoveOctober 9, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    I have to disagree with you. I believe my pets are my children. Although I do not have child like rituals with them such as reading stories to them, i do create memories with them and love them as i would a child of my own. I am responsible for them, If it were not for me they would not eat or have medical care. I have payed thousands of dollars to keep my 'children' happy and healthy and in return they give me love. Dogs were breed to do human tasks with humans that is why we have such a bond with them. As someone who does not have children by choice I allow my pets to be in my heart as a child would (but by no means to fill a childless void). If i had, had children prior to owning my dogs i would not have the funds or time to spoil and train them properly. So, yes I am a mom and if someone wants to chalenge me, well they were adopted ;)

  6. Great post Leslie!  That was very well said!  We may say Momma, Daddy and even kids but we don't actually mean it literally. 

  7. You said that so well! I honestly prefer dogs to children ;). Nola is my baby, but not in the human kid sense. But I'm still "Nola's Mom" or "Dachshund Mommy"
    Nola's Mom

  8. Very thought provoking. Yes, I guess I do think of myself as Dec's owner. Is he a child substitute? I don't think so. I've never had children and never wanted them. I doubt I could cherish them as much as I do my pets!

  9. What a really nice thing to say about us dogs, Leslie-peoples!

  10. Yes! I agree with this 100%: "Dogs are dogs and children are children and each life has value intrinsic to itself."  Right on the money.

  11. Cant seem to post my own comment from my phone so in tagging along on pamela's!
    I'm always torn about this. I know very well that my dog is not a human child, but I do consider myself a dog momma. I love and take care of this living being in much the same way a mother does her child. I believe it's possible to shower your dog with all your maternal instincts without needing a trip to the looney bin. At the same time, I am offended by people who think I am replacing a baby/kid in my life with a dog. Just because I do not have offspring and don't have plans to change that, doesn't mean I'm going to start pushing Desmond around in a stroller and buying him new school supplies every September. Many people I know really do think that I think my dog is my kid. It's semi-maddening.