I recently saw that a lot of drama started last month due to this article on Saying Your Dog is your baby is an insult to moms everywhere. Rare is the time that someone spewing mass amounts of self righteous bullshit actually pisses me off. This is one of those times.
I've had a lot of pets. Dogs, mice, fish, frogs, and now cats. Ever since the mister and I picked up two of the sweetest little mice to give a home, I've been referring to us as furparents. Stormy and Juniper, our darling cats, don't have owners, masters, or whatever other random title you'd like to attribute - we are mommy and daddy. There are days I wonder if they would look at me if I was referred to by name to them.
I don't know who the author had been talking to - but I have NEVER seen someone say raising children and raising pets were the same thing. However, just because they are different, does not mean a title, or titles, cannot be shared. Should we say step-parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, etc should not be permitted to be called Mom and Dad because they didn't push the child out or lay the seed for said child, because they are different? She claims that because of the wait time they get the greenlight to be parents - so why cut it off there?
I fear for this woman's pets. Our furbabies were never abrupt, five minute run to Petco ordeals. Stormy had a short waiting period, in which time I wondered if someone else would snatch him, if they'd find something wrong with him, if we had everything we needed for him. When I went to the shelter to pick him up, I worried that the carrier would be too big for him, that I'd get into a horrible accident that he would get harmed in on the way home, amongst other concerns. When we arrived at home, I followed him around the house the better part of the day because I became afraid when he'd hide behind something or investigate under the couch.
No, adopting Stormy was not just a matter of pointing at him and saying 'That one.'
Likewise with Juniper - I'd been looking at her sad little face for months prior. It was only after talking everyone into it, that we went to look for another kitty to be Stormy's companion, and we went to the shelter Juniper was. She was adorable, just like her picture - but we learned at the shelter that she was skittish, fearful, and appeared to physically just not be entirely well. Small for her age, bristly fur, broken meow. We took her anyway, knowing that she could very well cause a lot of pain for us in trying to socialize her, take care of her, and love her when she wasn't really willing to be loved. It'll be a year in August since we adopted her, and we're still trying to get her to let us pick her up.
Yet again, adopting Juniper was not just a matter of pointing at her and saying 'That one.'
The fact she thinks that caustic chemicals are a problem posed only in child-rearing is laughable - in all the reading and researching I did prior to adopting, both mice and cats, one of the things I saw repeatedly mentioned is to be careful with chemicals - keep them where curious cats can't get to them. Clean them up ASAP, least a kitty decide the floor needs a good cleaning, or walks through it and cleans their paws; clean all toys and equipment put in with the mice with the precision of a surgical nurse, because even a miniscule amount of dish soap can kill them. And unlike children after a certain age, you can't have a reasonable conversation about why drinking out of the toilet is bad with a cat.
No, DCS, DSS, etc are not a concern if I were to fail in doing so - but I would still have a deceased loved one to handle and grieve for, caused by my own negligence, no less.
As for the commitment - any actual serious pet owner knows that it is NOT true that you can just drop them whenever you want. We couldn't just plunk down a credit card and put the family dog into a kennel - because depending on how long we'd be gone, she'd of starved to death, regardless of the kennel's ratings on Yelp. We had to go to loved ones to find one that not only would be available, but that we knew she'd eat for once she adjusted. Our cats are a different matter - we can give them everything they need, and have someone come by to check on them, look out for them, etc, but even when we do leave them for a day or two - there is concern whether they could hurt themselves, one another, get caught in something and not be able to get out, not to mention other outside disasters that could occur while we are gone.
No, we don't need to watch them every second of every day - but you can bet when I hear a crash in the next room over I'm out of my chair and in that room in a heartbeat.
No, our pets can't learn to read, talk, go to school, go to college - but that doesn't mean we can't be proud of them for what they can learn. Seeing Stormy finally reach the top of a cabinet he's been trying to for months, or watching Juniper slowly learn how to trust people just enough to let them pet her - they are not ground shattering, but they are achievements that I can celebrate and be happy for. Just because they are unimportant to some, does not make them unimportant, period.
Our cats can't draw us pictures or say I love you or any of the numerous things a child can do - but they can jump on our laps and cuddle us without warning, lick our hands and faces, and lay with us when we are feeling down. Their means of showing love and affection are different, but no less inspiring.
And yes, I would say she is a self-righteous parent, and did - because she is. Her love and devotion to her children is no better or worse than a parent of a different type. The concerns and issues and means of solving them are different, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to one thing - ensuring the health and wellbeing of a living, breathing being of this world that relies on you for everything, from the food they eat to the lessons you teach.
One day I may have children - if and/or when that day comes, I'll consider myself the luckiest mama in the world, with the best damned child and furchildren in the world.