I'll be honest, I've experienced more than my fair share of infuriating moments when, well, my dog feels even more frustrating than my toddler. Sure, I didn't house the dog in my body for months on end and, no, I didn't birth the dog into existence, but I swear that dog can be just as temperamental and just as adorable (well, close, but definitely not as adorable) as my kid. However, now that I’ve been a pet owner for 15+ years of my life, and a mom for 2+ years, I feel qualified enough to say that having a pet is not the same as having a kid. Sure, there are some similarities (depending on the pet) and, yes, people love their pets and I'm not one to say that love isn't legitimate. However, I’d be remiss if I led anyone to believe that a kid and a pet are interchangeable.
The pets I've owned in my lifetime include a dog, rabbits, and a fish. I also had a roommate in college who briefly brought in a cat (which turned me into a hot allergic mess, so you'll understand why I don't and can't identify as a cat person). All of those pets required time and effort and patience and love, but not in the way my son does. Did I love those pets? Of course, but not in the way I love my son. I know that pet ownership is important and there are pets that become family members, but no matter where you fall on the wide spectrum of pet ownership or how you compare your pet to other loved ones you may or may not have, you have to admit that there are some pretty huge differences that make having a kid and having a pet, well, not necessarily comparable.
I have a ridiculous amount of love for all the pet moms and dads out there, and never want to downplay how you feel about your pet but, well, here are a few reasons why it's nothing like having a kid:
I've got like a solid decade until my kids are old enough to be left home alone. But my dog? He's an old pro.
In fact, I think the animals I've had would prefer it that way. Putting it anywhere else would make their lives pretty difficult, actually.
Speaking of putting food on the floor, it's pretty nice not having to, you know, supervise every bite they take.
Um, can you imagine having a dog that doesn't get housebroken until two or three years old? That sounds really unfortunate, both for the owners and for the floors.
Unless, of course, we're talking about my dog, in which case he might shed some tears of joy over those french fries.
Now that I think about it, I'm really going to miss the Peek-A-Boo stage. I may need to start training my dog so that he can fill that inevitable void.
Technically, I have had seemingly well-meaning strangers ask to touch my young son, but those exchanges are few and far between and, well, at least they ask. My dog isn't as lucky, as most strangers tend to interact with our dog by running up and petting without so much as a casual, "please."
Wait, who am I kidding? Yes, they do. They totally do.
...As far as I know? I suppose totally could and they're just not communicating it, but I think it's a pretty safe bet that, well, they don't care. I mean, they have Elmo and your undivided attention. They're living the dream.
Unless, of course, the rest of it says "...because this baby is the cutest ever and you will be forced to abandon the rest of your plans for the day to snuggle him/her."
How could they? Your pet is adorable. Why wouldn't they want to see pictures?