I am NOT a “pet parent” and I find the phrase incredibly insulting to both myself and to my animal friends.
I found this article through a link on Facebook, How to Keep Your Dog Safe In Cold Weather, and while it is good advice but I find that whole “pet parents” thing horribly insulting to my dogs. They are DOGS. My animals are my friends and companions, but I didn’t give birth to them, they are not genetically my species, I am not their “parent”. I am their companion and friend; we have a symbiosis that takes from what each of our species brings to the table to make something special.
I suspect that this deeply held objection of mine stems from two of the basic philosophical underpinnings of my world view. First, each species is valuable and special because it IS. Dog is DOG. I insult the essence of a species if I co-opt it into my own. Live together with respect for our differences and appreciation for what we have in common–absolutely! But I am not a dog although I do my best to be a good pack member and my dog is not human even though he also does his best to be a good pack member.
Each dog with whom I have shared my life has been a blessing to me. I cherish my memories of our friendships. How can I relegate beings of such quality to the status of permanent juvenile? I will not.
So, do not call me a pet parent because that belittles the accomplishment of inter-species friendship. I respect the dogness of my dogs, and cherish their efforts to connect to me. In return, I make it my task to train my body language and verbal communications so that I project what I need my dog to know about me. Together we make the relationship special.
“Pet Parent” demeans both species as if we cannot have a real relationship so we need to pretend to be the same species. ick!
Dear Lord, thank You for making all the many species. Thank You for the friendships I have had with animals. +Amen.