Today’s post is a tribute to mothers of both the two- and four-legged in honour of Mother’s Day. My daughter Emily suggested that I write about the similarities of raising a dog and a child. After giving this topic some thought, I can honestly say that the parallels are remarkable and that I fully understand how some refer to their dogs and their “children.”
I’ll start from the beginning. Whether you have experienced parenthood or not, the arrival of a new dog is much like the arrival of a baby; in both circumstances, there is a lot of fanfare.
I remember my husband and I getting our first dog together, a chocolate lab puppy we named Chip (he was the colour of chocolate chips)! Choosing his name was a matter of creativity and required the agreement of both spouses. For a pair of young newlyweds, getting a puppy was a wonderful thing to before having children. On the drive home I cradled Chip in my arms. I could not stop looking at him; he was a small creature who had already melted my heart. I have a huge collection of pictures of him which encompass many stages of his development. I took pictures of him sleeping, at play, eating, swimming etc. After we purchased a video camera – a big deal in the 80s – we took many videos of Chip, too. Looking back at the pictures is really fun for us – especially seeing how “crazy” in love we were for our dog. Documenting our journey with Chip seemed totally natural.
I love that today social media has given people the option to spread their pride in their families, dogs included. I know dogs that even have their own Facebook pages! I’ve heard of dogs that “chat” on Twitter or proud owners that post YouTube videos of their precious canine for others to enjoy.
The similarities to raising dogs and children are boundless. Another similarity I’ve thought of is the “potty-training” stage. For all parents, “potty-training” is no easy task. A great deal of patience is required and every “child” learns at a different pace. Additionally, there are often “accidents” and a lot of clean-up is necessary.
Both dogs and children go through teething and the “terrible twos.” I can easily remember both our daughters being cranky when their teeth began to come in. I also remember the sharp nips from our puppies when they were teething; in both cases I hoped that this stage would pass quickly.
Let’s face it – we as Mothers shop for our children and our dogs. Food is researched with care given to issues such as food allergies and other dietary concerns. Special meals are often prepared when necessitated, as are favourite treats when the spirit moves. Many are delighted to buy toys for their children and dogs knowing what they like. We often tell our friends what toy is our “child’s” favourite toy and pack it for trips or vacations.
Mothers enjoy showing off their children’s talents and take great pride in talking about them e.g. bragging about their child’s musical ability. In my mind this is no different than at the dog parks when owners talk about the tricks their dogs have mastered and their dog’s intelligence level.
Mothers drive their kids to the doctors for checkups and worry about the outcome. Accidents happen with children and dogs or surgeries are required. I wonder how many hours I have spent at doctor’s offices and at the vets over the years.
We rejoice at our child’s birthday, and many dog owners also celebrate their dog’s birthday. I was invited to Marlo’s second birthday. It was a fun party with the party girl loving the attention bestowed on her and the presents she was given; we loved the company of good friends, food, and drink.
We as Mothers also decide on when haircuts or grooming is due and manage medications when our kids or dogs get sick. We aim to instill manners in both the two- and four-legged. We set routines – and hopefully follow through – because consistency is a must for children and dogs alike. Both rely on our lead and intuition.
The best part of mothering is sharing our love 24/7 – hence part of my blog name. We celebrate the uniqueness of our children and dogs and treasure years of memories. The most important piece is the spot in our hearts that we hold for our loved ones. They teach us so much and life would never be the same without their presence, and for that I have been truly blessed. Happy Mother’s Day Ladies!
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