Viewing Your Pet As Your Child

This is a guest blog by April – one of the Pet Camp’s Camp Leaders

How many of you refer to your pets as your babies? I never used to think much of it, because to me, it’s completely natural to call my dog my son. After all, I raised him from a young age, he relies on me to care for him, and I taught him how to function in dog society. The basic duties of a parent, right? My dog comes with me everywhere. I spend more time with him than any other living creature on the planet. He’s the last one I see before I fall asleep and the first one I see when I wake up. He depends on me and looks to me for comfort as a child would a parent. My phone is filled with pictures and videos that I flaunt to friends and family (the modern-day equivalent of keeping pictures of the kids in one’s wallet). My siblings have pets that I refer to as my nieces and nephews.

But I recently had someone respond so negatively to what I assumed was a harmless habit. They said I was the type of person to put my animal’s needs before the humans in my life. That I had an unhealthy attachment to a pet.

And even if those things are true (they are), I didn’t view them as bad things. But it was when they said that calling my dog my baby meant that I was undermining mothers of human babies that I had to pause and reflect on my actions.

I didn’t reflect for very long, because frankly, that’s absurd.

I don’t see how me calling my dog and cats my children should offend anyone with kids. And I’m pretty confident most people feel the same way. The terms ‘fur baby’ and ‘pet parent’ are pretty popular in the marketing of pet products. My social media is filled with birth announcements of my friends having human babies, but announcing it by telling everyone their dog is getting a little sister/brother. Everyone I know with a pet refers to them as family members. And I don’t think by doing this we are saying we are better than people with kids or that we are comparing ourselves to people that have given birth.

But it’s very likely that I just surround myself with like minded people (don’t we all?). And I work in an industry where I not only treat my dog like my child, but I treat other people’s dog’s like my children.

What do you think? Is this kind of behavior offensive and taboo? Or harmless and endearing?  Let us know what you think.