I’ve been there: I’m a pet person. I’ve been the one relating to people with babies by thinking about my ferrets/cats/dog. My animals were my fur babies.
Are my fur babies. We finally have a pet in the house again. He is a Guinea pig named Iceberg. As in the lettuce.
The importance of having and loving fur babies should not be underestimated: as kids, they teach us invaluable lessons about taking care of things weaker than us rather than taking advantage. They teach responsibility, paying attention to nonverbal cues, and a million other life lessons. As adults, our pets become our family.
But here’s the thing: even for the nuts like me that treat animals like family, animals stay “babies.”
And there’s the fundamental difference.
Parents of fur babies don’t have to worry over much about whether their darlings are going to grow up to be polite, contributing members of society or whether they’re going to be manipulative sociopaths. They don’t have to worry that how they deal with this tantrum is going to forever warp your child’s understanding of a parent/child relationship. They don’t have to worry about indulging that baby’s sweet tooth too often and setting their child on the road to using food as comfort and, as a result, getting diabetes and dying young and alone.
Parents of human children don’t have to worry about those things, either, I suppose, but oh, do we ever!
So do us a favor, parents of fur babies: know the time and place for comparing your young ones to ours. When we’re talking about happy times, please, go ahead and pull out the wallet pictures or iPhone pictures of your miniature pooch in her sweater. But when we’re talking about grueling, hours-long tantrums, days-long fights about food, and difficulties sleeping, do not, under any circumstances, try to compare your fur baby’s circumstances to ours.