Not too long ago, I overheard a conversation concerning dog parents. (For the sake of this blog, I'm using my experience as an example. The same could apply to dog dads and so on.) One person had just called themselves a mom, and the other person was "educating" them on what warrants the title "mom," and they certainly didn't think furbabies qualified one for that title. So...what's being a dog mom all about, anyway?
1. Dogs don't wear diapers. Maybe you've succeeded at this task, but I never did. Even with crate training, there were still many accidents..and sometimes it took awhile to find them!
2. Dogs don't wear shoes. When your kid gets to where they can run outside and play, what do they wear? Shoes. What happens when you come inside? Shoes come off. Not with dogs! If they were walking in it outside, guaranteed they're tracking it in on your floors. Possible solutions? A good, absorbent rug at their point of entry or teaching your dog to wear shoes...and take them off at the door.
3. Dogs can't talk. No matter how much we love Mishka from YouTube, dogs can't really speak our language. You have to try to read their behavior and body language to figure out what's going on in that head of theirs. While your 2 year old kid can tell you their head hurts, your dog can't.
4. Dogs never get old enough to be left alone. Wasn't it great when your kid got old enough to stay home by themselves all day? Well, even if your dog is a teenager in human years, you can't leave him alone for an extended period of time. He needs to be let out to use the bathroom, have exercise and some serious you time.
5. Dogs have bad dreams. Dogs do dream - I've witnessed it - and sometimes they have bad dreams. They can't tell you about it, so when they jump on your bed in the middle of the night for a snuggle, just give them a reassuring pat and let them know it's okay.
6. Dogs will always do gross things. While your kid grows out of picking their nose and sticking boogers on random strangers in Wal-Mart, your dog will always lick their butt. ALWAYS.
7. Dogs need social time. Dogs, like kids, need to be socialized with all types of people and animals in a calm, comfortable situation.
8. Dogs need good food. Would you raise your kid on Chef Boyardee and Ramen Noodles? No. So don't let your dog eat crappy dog food.
9. Dogs go to the doctor. Just like your human kids, dogs have to go to the doctor for a yearly physical and booster shots.
10. Dogs need ID. Your kid can learn their address, phone number and how to dial 9-1-1 but dogs need something else. Microchips, collars with embedded tags, dangle tags, GPS tags and the list goes on... Always be sure to have a recent photo (or 100) of your dog in case he does get lost.
11. Dogs are subject to fatal discrimination. Your kids will never meet a description that requires them to be sterilized, surrendered to a facility or put to sleep. No one will ever demand that you muzzle your child in public or keep them in the privacy of your home for the "safety" of the public.
12. Dogs can be dognapped. You worry about your kids being kidnapped...well, I worry about my dogs being dognapped. People take dogs to sell them, because they like them, to use them in fighting rings or for other sick purposes.
13. Your dog never gets old enough to clip his own nails, bathe himself, or otherwise care for his personal needs. He will ALWAYS need YOU.
14. Being a dog parent is like being a single parent, even if you have a partner. You have to play so many roles at once - leader, nurturer, trainer and so on.
15. Dogs live on borrowed time. Although tragedy can strike at any time across the board, dog parents are only granted a fraction of time with their beloved dog kids.
None of this is intended to belittle the job of being a human parent. That is a difficult and tiring job, and I commend those that take on that responsibility. This is simply meant to give credence to calling ourselves dog parents...because that is what we are.
Love, peace and pibbles.