This Dog Parent Barks Back

According to the Huffington Post, the fifth most annoying thing people without kids say to people with kids is:

“I know exactly what you mean. I have a puppy.”

Well. The number one most annoying thing I have read so far this year is… see above.

Um, Huffington Post. Have you met Emma the Beagle?

It’s well known now that our girl suffers from separation anxiety. Because of that, the only time I can leave her alone in the house is when I’m working to desensitize her to our absences (walk into mudroom, return; open garage door, close garage door, return; pull out of garage, close garage door, wait 20 seconds, open garage door, pull back in, return, etc.). This means that for approximately 23 hours and 30 minutes a day, Hubz, I, or a baby petsitter must stay with her.

Since May 2015, I haven’t even been able to go for a jog without scheduling a sitter for Emma.

Does any of this sound familiar, People With Kids?

The irony is that I always say that the friends I relate to the most right now, are the one’s with young kids. I’m desensitizing Emma to my leaving the house; my friends are teaching their babies to sleep alone. I’m looking for restaurants that allow dogz on the patio; my friends need kid-friendly places.

And the thing is, all of my friends with babies laugh because they can see that we are indeed experiencing the same exact thing right now.

So, I was annoyed when I saw this stupid blog post. I relate my experiences with Emma to my friends with babies all the time, and we all giggle and moan together about the challenges of rearing a newborn puppy-mill rescue.

But you know, Hubz’s reaction to the blog post actually hit the deeper issue: “I don’t like it because it sounds like a human baby is a higher value than another species,” he said.

Boom.

That’s the deeper issue for me. Hubz and I have made the decision to care for the animals of this world. We don’t see dogs, cats, mules, or other furry, feathered, or finned creatures as subservient play things or food stuffs. We don’t eat them, we don’t wear them, and when we adopt them, we share our homes and our lives with them — no different than we would if they were human babies.

The only difference?

My friends’ babies will grow up one day to flush their own toilet, help out around the home, and drive themselves to their own veterinary doctor appointments. I can train Emma the Beagle to do all kinds of amazing things, but drive a car to the vet will never be one of them.

My wish is that we could all stop judging and labeling each other. Your life is not better or more difficult than mine simply because your baby is human. Why don’t we instead talk about how wonderful it is that all of these children — two-pawed and four-pawed alike — are lucky enough to have caring parents like us?

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7 comments on “This Dog Parent Barks Back

  1. Bang on Tracy.

    I share the same philosophy and if I am completely honest, I often prefer the company of my animals and other people and their animals – who share the same philosophy. It really isn’t all about the humans. We are absolutely privileged to SHARE this planet with the most incredible variety of other animals. And hey, humans are animals too right? Just because we are a successful species in our environment doesn’t make us the ‘best’ and an automatic priority over other life.

    Out of all of the social mammals, we are possibly the most flawed, destructive and yet brilliant too. However, those flawed cognitive biases and our lack of rationality at times means people get a platform to write blog posts at the Huffy post that clearly suck!

    Ear scratches to Emma!

  2. Hey Tracy, I have a biomedical background by ‘trade’. However, I have a huge passion for animal welfare and endless curiosity about evo biology and anthrozology. Our relationships with dogs is surely a miracle of biology?

    However, the battle for me is remaining optimistic and curious in spite of how the human species seems to be doing a good job of repeating the same mistakes over and over. Including people writing stupid uninformed blog posts on widely accessible platforms. 😐

    However, what you write on your blog is informed, enlightened, compassionate and empathic for our canine friends and their humanz and we need so much more of the informed and kind stuff spreading around. Thanks for sharing the good stuff Tracy!

    • Aw thanks. Take this is a huge complement: You sound like a student or graduate of Jean Donaldson’s Academy. I empathize with the battle you face. There are so many wonderful people doing amazing things for animals, but it does feel like an uphill climb some days. Great to meet you! So nice to know there are more good ones out there. 🙂

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