I recently read an article on another site that was titled – Saying Your Dog Is Your “Baby” Is an Insult to Moms Everywhere. Now, I urge you to have a read of this article before you go any further into mine, it will make much more sense.
My Reply to Elizabeth Broadbent
I found the whole article, quite frankly, insulting and although we generally, as a magazine, do not write personal pieces, on this occasion the rules have changed. Whilst I agree that everyone is entitled to an opinion, Ms Broadbent no less than any other, I feel that sometimes people just want to get a rise out of other by writing inflammatory and aggressive posts. Yes, I am rising to this and maybe my opinion would be better left unsaid, but something about this really irritated me.
I would like to start by saying that I don’t use the terms ‘furbaby’ or ‘furkid.’ There is no real reason for this, other than I don’t like the terms, they get stuck in my throat but, and it is a big but, that doesn’t mean I agree with Ms Broadbent at all.
The author begins by telling us that she herself had dogs and spent her time over indulging them, as if this excuses the tirade of nastiness that ensues, then hits us with –
But never did we call those beloved canines “furkids” or “furbabies.” Because the last I checked, dogs ain’t people.
It is an astute observation, it has to be said, that ‘dogs ain’t people,‘ indeed they are a completely different species to humans, they even have four legs and a coat of shiny fur to help us tell them apart. She reiterates this point in the next paragraph, ‘kids and dogs are not same.’ Yes, I agree, completely different on a biological level.
My problem really starts when Ms Broadbent insinuates that any dog owner can just go down to the local RSPCA or Dogs Trust and pick out a canine companion willy nilly, whilst having a child is, in her eyes, a body invasion of nine months or even months of agonising over adoption.
Whilst I am not a mother, it is not through choice, life and health issues have meant that for us children just wont happen, so I may not know the feeling of a ‘body invasion, followed by one of the most intense physical experiences of her life‘ but I am not a moron, I am well aware that birth is excruciating and that it must be uncomfortable to say the least to carry another little human being in your belly for the best part of a year. I can also understand the agony of adoption, but, unlike giving birth to children, adoption is regulated for the safety of the children, to know they are going to be in a safe environment and well cared for. It is an important part of the process and I am sure everyone who goes through it can grasp that concept, after all they want to give a loving home to a child.
Now, I don’t know about you, but whenever I have enquired about a dog the process is called adoption, it is not a case of popping to the shop and picking out an animal that makes you go ‘awww’, there is a complicated and stringent process to adopting a pet. You need to be able to provide a loving and caring home that is safe for them. It can take weeks, months even. It can be agonising and worrying, not everyone will be deemed cut out for an animal in their home, just the same as everyone who tries to adopt a child will not be successful.
Adopting an animal is a big commitment, dogs, in this case, need constant care and are completely reliant on you to feed and look after their needs – clean up their waste, wash them, feed them, make sure they have their vaccinations, look after them when they are sick, comfort them when they are distressed and lavish them with love.
Ms. Broadbent goes on to talk about newborns – humans and puppies, although they are very different of course. Baby proofing a house is a chore by the sound of it, I would have thought it something any responsible parent would do, likewise pet owners should make sure to make their homes safe for their new addition, it is your responsibility to ensure that this small creature (human or otherwise) is safe. However, Ms. Broadbent states ‘If I failed in my duties, I’m not facing a chewed-up family heirloom; I’m looking at a dead kid and a DSS inquiry.’ There are laws about animal neglect and cruelty as much as there are about children in these situations, both are living breathing beings and both deserve a place that they can explore without their lives being put in jeopardy. Not being a mother I of course wouldn’t know, but I hear on the grapevine that children like to chew up things too.
‘You can mostly ignore your dog. Yes, your dog lives in your house, and yes, you love it. But your attention is not focused on the dog every moment it’s awake.’
I beg to differ, I spend all day with my gorgeous pooch Hendrix who you have seen throughout this article and when my god daughters, who are 3 and 6, visit they spend all of their time with him. He is part of my family and is included in everything we do, but Ms Broadbent argues that you can hop on a plane ‘guilt free’ with a pet after leaving them at some kennel or other, not like kids you’re stuck with them. Not the case! I couldn’t leave Hendrix with strangers and jet off on holiday, if we go away, he comes with us, not that people who do this are wrong, everyone is different, but for us we decided to welcome him into our home, it is not right for us to just abandon him and go off on our jollies! Parents can’t do this apparently, leaving a child is just not possible, I really wish that someone would tell all of the irresponsible and down right disgusting people in this world who neglect their children daily, who have kids and then just leave them to go partying, who don’t provide them with proper meals. It pains me to see children or pets left in awful conditions, uncared for and treated like a burden.
‘Five minutes of inattention on my part, and my toddler’s drinking bleach and bathing in the toilet…And at the risk of sounding like an annoying parent here: kids do some amazing things dogs just can’t stack up to. Sure, you can teach Fido to fetch, but that pride is nothing compared to your kid learning to read.’
This has to be one of the more insulting parts of Ms Broadbent’s tirade. Firstly, if you have bleach within reach of your child, after pointing out how painstakingly you had to baby proof your house, that within five minutes of you being on Facebook or answering the phone, your kid can open and down it, YOU ARE AN IRRESPONSIBLE PARENT. I don’t have anything like that anywhere near where my god daughters could get it, and they are nosey like all kids, in and out of every nook and cranny, it is also nowhere near where my faithful little boy Hendrix could get at it, he has those big teeth you know and picking up that bottle could result in piercing it and him drinking it, but he is just a dog right? No need to keep my eye on him.
Kids do amazing things, I am constantly in awe of my god daughters, they ring me and tell me about their days and I see them improving in reading and writing, their skills becoming more apparent and their personalities shining, they fill me with joy. I have to say though Hendrix is pretty amazing, now hold on I know he is just a dog but let me tell you just a few of the things he does.
He knows when I am sad and instantly comes to me, cuddles, kisses and snuggles, he even brings me his favourite toy when I am poorly, which is often, he pushes it into the nook of my elbow until I cuddle it, then he will sit next to me, not leaving my side. Being disabled has its challenges for me, but I get by, the incredible thing is that without even teaching him – oh sure, we taught him sit and paw etc – he has learnt to shut the front door, bring the post, he helps me up from the sofa, to move from room to room, to get up the stairs, to the toilet and into bed. He has been known to help pull a rug into place brings things he find interesting to me as presents. He is just a dog though, along with the fabulous Guide Dogs, Companions, Bomb Squad Dogs and the other amazing pups that work hard looking after people, protecting people or just making the world a better place.
She goes onto to talk about toddler melt downs and pooping, apparently dogs just go outside, no potty training needed or cleaning of their doggy doo and they don’t sulk or show off when they can’t have their own way.
The fact is dogs and children are very similar, even though they look very different. They have many of the same needs and depend on us for everything. I may not be a mother and it is not through choice, but I am not going to apologise when I say that punching out a couple of kids doesn’t make you a mother either. Watch the news, read the papers and online stories, plenty of children are mistreated by their natural birth parents and this is horrific, it turns my stomach. How dare you have a child and then treat them so miserably, put them in danger and neglect them? I feel just as strongly about animal cruelty too, you have no right to do that to another living, breathing being.
My point is, and thank you for sticking with me here, that when it comes down to it if you have the love to give and the commitment to a child or a pet, if you do everything you can to make their life full and rich, if you marvel at their achievements and watch them grow with pride, whilst ensuring they are safe and happy, healthy and most of all loved, YOU ARE A PARENT. It makes no difference the species and there is nothing wrong is calling you dog your baby, Hendrix is my baby and I do share my heart with him like I do my god daughters, they are my family, equally. If people want to say ‘furbaby’ what is the harm, it is just a word, one I might not like, but it gives them a way to express just what their baby means to them.
In a world full of prejudice and hate we don’t need to be attacking people for opening their hearts, it is ridiculous, insulting and arrogant. Everyone has the right to be happy, to attack something so dear to them is ludicrous.
If you have a wonderful four-legged baby that you love to treat, then we would definitely recommend Artmitage’s Good Boy treats. We have been feeding Hendrix these as rewards and treats for a few weeks now and he just cant get enough of them, especially the Captain Jack’s range of fishy sticks and chunks.
When you first open the packet the smell will hit you, but this is good because it re-enforces the fact that these treats are all made with natural ingredients. Filled with nutrients and goodness they are simply healthy alternatives to biscuits. They only have 3% fat and are made from the skins of fish, such as Cod or Salmon.
Hendrix gave these a paws up before I had even finished opening the first bag. He adores the fishy bits, but also loves the Pawsey & Co Tender Beef Fillets, Chewy Chicken Strips & Chewy Chicken Twists. His tail starts wagging and he gets really excited!
You can pick up Captain Jack’s and Pawsey & Co by Good Boy at your local pet store, trust me your babies will lap up these treats and you can be safe in the knowledge that they are healthy! Find out more about Good Boy and where to buy here!