I Don’t Call Myself a Dog Mom, But I Don’t Care If You Do

by Lara of Rubicon Days

Laraa with Ruby and Boca

Laraa with Ruby and Boca

There has been an editorial circulating lately, not unlike articles before it, written by an oddly bitter mother of three admonishing pet guardians who choose to refer to their dogs as “babies” or “furkids.” It’s not the first of its kind, but it’s drawn a lot of attention because it is particularly critical and overly defensive, and the author attests that it is an insult to “real” mothers for people to compare pets to children. This woman is really angry. I’m not going to link to it here, but if you haven’t seen it, just Google “No, Your Dog Is Not Your Baby.”

I don’t call myself a dog mom. I prefer to refer to myself as their guardian, because my dogs had mothers, and I’m not their mother. It’s a semantics thing – perhaps being a poet, I want the exactly right word to describe my relationship to them, and to be completely honest  I haven’t found it yet, but ‘guardian’ sits well with me. By that same token, my friends, family and pet professionals often refer to me as such. When my dogs greet me after work my dad says to them “Your mom’s home!” When my vet brings Boca up from the back of the office she say’s “There’s mom!” My best friend says “You’re such a good dog mom.” My girlfriends threw me a dog shower to celebrate Boca’s adoption. Sometimes I use the hashtag “dog mom” on my Instagram pictures because I know it will get them more views. Plenty of my blogger friends like Amanda from Dog Mom Days and Kimberly from Keep the Tail Waggingrefer to themselves as dog moms and it doesn’t bother me in the least – why should it? Their dogs, their families, their identities. It doesn’t infringe on my relationship with my dogs or what I choose to call them.

Why, then, are some of these mommy bloggers so up in arms about it? I must admit that it reminds me a little of people who feel threatened by gay marriage. Why is someone else’s idea of motherhood an insult to your own? I also wonder if it is one of the last holdovers of the perceived threat or discomfort with the unmarried, single and/or childless woman. So what if someone wants to dress their dog up or push it around in a stroller (as long as these things don’t cause stress for the dog)? So what if someone wants to call their dog their baby, furkid, son or dogter? I have trouble understanding how this is a personal affront to someone who has chosen to have children. Read more . . 

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2 responses to “I Don’t Call Myself a Dog Mom, But I Don’t Care If You Do

  1. Reblogged this on Lisa Lanser Rose and commented:

    Something I’ve often pondered. I don’t consider myself Mick’s “mom,” and I have given birth and raised a child, so I know the difference–and the similarities. There are enough that I’d say my role in Mick’s life is inescapably maternal. And more neurological studies than are mentioned here show the overlap is large and real for both species.

  2. I’m Ralph and I need a Mum as much as the next dog, just saying… loved your blog.

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