I love Twilight. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you probably know I’m kind of obsessed with her.
But she’s not my baby.
We have five pets: two dogs, and three cats. When Twilight’s around our other pets, she acts like a dog. Because she is one. She’s not my baby.
Some people call their pets their “baby”, or “furkid”, and that’s fine. In fact, treating your dog like a family member is a really good thing. It encourages obedience, and socialization — you’re more likely to talk to them, and they’re more likely to listen and feel safe and secure at home. And both you and the dog get the most out of the relationship. Twilight is a member of the family, but she’s still not my baby. I don’t choose that label for her.
I’m all too aware that Twilight has different needs than I, or a human of any age, have. She eats differently, she goes potty outside, she needs more physical activity than I do, and she likes to sleep in a cage. She’s pretty low-maintenance, too. If I need to go somewhere, I put her in her crate, she naps for a couple of hours, and no one calls child services.
Ultimately, it’s a choice. I’ve known plenty of people who treat their dogs like their babies, along with their human babies. And I’ve known people who choose not to have children, but instead be dog parents. But I think being a dog owner is, in some ways, preparation for being a parent. Because ultimately, we’re paying attention to another being’s needs, and if they’re alive and healthy at the end of the day, we did alright.