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Proud to Be a Pet Parent

Author: Andrea Miller | Date: October 23, 2012

I was out with some friends the other night and a woman joined our table. I immediately recognized her from walking her dog in the neighborhood. “You’re Noah’s mom!” I exclaimed, “I’m Bosworth’s mom.” One of my friends rolled her eyes said “Leave it to dog owners to say they are moms.”

Thing is, that’s exactly how I feel. In fact, I’m proud to be a pet parent.

And most other dog owners I know would feel the same way.

It wasn’t always like that. I remember when the family dog resided only outside. They didn’t have the expensive grain-free food, or a stack of puzzle toys or all-protein chews or even custom clothes (not to mention Halloween costumes) that dogs today have. We are spending more money than ever on our four-legged family members.

According to US Census Bureau, the average family spends $58 per month on their pets. I would argue that this is on the very low end as my dog can finish a $2 bully stick in a matter of minutes. The American Pets Products Association has compiled some interesting information on pet ownership.  They estimate Americans will spend $52.87 billion on their pets this year.

Considering experts estimate raising a child to be about $13,830 a year, some are saying that dogs are the new kids.

It’s not just the amount of money we shell out of our wallets, though. Humanizing our pets seems to also be a trend. While I know it’s been scientifically proven that dogs don’t feel guilt, I’m guilty myself of anthropomorphizing, or attributing human emotions with an animal. I think it’s unavoidable when you have a dog. However, I know the difference between a dog and a child, besides the fact they are different species, of course.

I want my 8-month-old puppy Bosworth to grow up to be well-mannered , healthy and happy. And I understand that training and socialization will play a big role in how he approaches life. But I understand he has his own personality that I will have to learn, work with and ultimately live with. After all, we all know people with dogs who have issues that can’t be “fixed” but rather they have learned to manage on a daily basis. But thinking back to my teenage years, maybe you could say the same thing about kids.

What do you think? Do you think of your dog as your “furry” child?



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