“Can’t believe my little guy is already 6 months! #prouddad”
“A sneak peek from the photoshoot we did with our little princess, we are proud parents!”
After a few minutes of scrolling, I pulled these quotes directly from some friend’s Instagram pictures. Now, it’s perfectly acceptable to assume that those pictures were of parents with their small children. But alas, these were people talking about their pets. I see it all over when scrolling my various feeds – people referring to their dogs, cats, or any other non-human creature that they own as their “kids.” Y’all, this is getting out of hand.
First off, I get it. I’m not some animal hater. Quick story: in my adolescence, my family had a dog named Blackjack (I got into gambling pretty early tbh) and I loved her to death. She hated thunderstorms and I can’t even count the number of times I stayed up with her for hours and hours to comfort her while she freaked out. I’ve still never cried as hard in my life as when we had to put her down (#FuckCancer). So I know what it feels like to have a great dog.
I understand that any pet can feel like a member of the family – they don’t call dogs “man’s best friend” or cats “man’s sneaky little pain in the ass that does all sorts of evil shit and makes great memes/YouTube videos” for nothing, do they? A pet is a wonderful companion for any person. They’re there for you whenever you need them (because they’ll starve if they aren’t), and they offer an incredibly strong bond.
It’s almost impossible not to feel remarkably fond of, if not deeply love with, any pet. You absolutely should love your pets and treat them with nothing but affection and kindness. Whatever pet you have, whether it be your standard glorious golden retriever named Buddy or your lethargic iguana named Lester, that pet is an incredibly valuable member of your family. But your pets are your pets, and kids are kids.
Your pets and your kids aren’t playing on the same field. Some similarities? Yeah, I’ll give you that, but even the similarities thin out pretty quickly. In their younger stages, you’re trying to teach both communication and life skills. Slight difference, though. With a pet, you’re hoping that in their later years they’ll just be house trained and won’t bite people. With a kid, you’re preparing them to be a respectful and productive member of society, not commit crimes, and just generally not be a complete dick. I think the stakes are just a bit higher when raising a small human as opposed to a hairy beast.
Not to get too high up on my soapbox here, but yeah, as much as taking care of a pet can be a hassle, when compared to taking care of a kid it’s like the difference between installing a shelf as opposed to completely remodeling a house. Let me know how much your dog is like a kid when you get to sleep in on weekends. Want to binge watch Game of Thrones all day? Go for it, it’s not like it’s inappropriate for your cat to watch all that sex and violence. Heading out of town for a weekend? It’s a tad bit easier to get someone to come feed your pet and let them out to piss than to watch your offspring 24/7 for three days.
It’s not all negative either. Parents get to burst with pride when their child hits milestone after milestone. From first words to first day of school to first “Hey dad, they said my bail is $300.” There’s only so many times you can tell your dog, “Aw you fetched it, good work buddy” or “Great job sniffing that other dog’s ass today, way to go.”
Like most things in life, the difference between kids and pets can be summed up just like NFL draft prospects. Pets are high floor (most likely not going to suck, just kind of be lazy around your house for 10 years) low ceiling (pretty cool animal, lives 15+ years), while kids are low floor (Zodiac Killer), high ceiling (President of the United States or Hugh Hefner).
Pardon the pun, but kids and pets are just a completely different animal, and neither deserves to be compared to the other. By all means, love the absolute shit out of your pets like family. And hell, go ahead calling your Yorkshire Terrier your first child. Just wait until you pop out that first screaming human, then tell me how much of a kid that furry creature is. Stop the “pets are kids” movement before it’s too late..
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