Why Having A Dog Is Like Having Kids

“Can you be a good boy? Mommy will give you a treat!” Do you know who I’m talking to? Me neither.

Either I’m raising a pack of wild animals (completely possible) or furbabies and kids have more in common than I once believed.

Several months ago I read a piece from a mother who was so over people comparing raising kids to taking care of their “furbabies.” The annoyance and eye rolls practically leapt off the page. Part of me wondered why we needed yet another thing to be offended by, and part of me nodded my head in agreement.

Oh, how the sanctimonious will fall.

Fast forward many months, and I’m the proud “Mommy” to an 11-pound, 10-year-old senior rescue dog. And in the few short weeks since he’s joined our family, I have noticed some distinct similarities between taking care of him and raising my two boys (10 and 6). So either I’m raising a pack of wild animals (completely possible) or furbabies and kids have more in common than I once believed.

I talk about myself in the third person.

My kids know my name and have for years. Imagine my surprise when I found myself referring to myself as “Mommy,” my boyfriend as “Daddy,” and my mother as “Grandma” — while I was talking to the dog. How else will the baby dog learn who we are?

I dictate where everyone pees.

I have said the words, “We do not pee in people’s front yards” to both my children and the dog. Yes, all three have ignored me. At least with my dog, he’s on a leash, and I can sort of move him to a different area. But let me tell you, dog or child, people will totally give you dirty looks if you let someone pee in their yard.

Poop breeds fear.

While out walking my dog one day we ran out of poop bags. (Yes, I’m the dog owner who will actually pick up after her dog, and yes, I’m judging all of you who refuse to put your hand in a plastic bag to clean up poop). Most of the time, he’s a one-poop kind of dog, but not always. The feeling I experienced was the same fear that happens when you use the last diaper in the diaper bag — with no Target in sight.

Leashes are the best!

OK, full disclosure, I did not use a harness/leash on either of my kids. But damn, now that I’ve seen how it works for an 11-pound dog, I should have. Where is my dog? At the end of his leash. Do I have to worry that he’s wandering off? Nope, because he’d take my arm with him. I so could have used that when my kids were little.

Everyone loves the park.

My furbaby has the dog park. My kids have the playground. Both might be hesitant to go (no one trusts Mom when she piles everyone in the car — are we going to the dentist, the doctor, the vet, school?). But once we get there, everyone is having a good time, and I get a few minutes to mindlessly scroll through my phone.

No one has good aim.

I haven’t watched my kids go to the bathroom in a couple of years (thank God!) but I have cleaned their bathroom. The dog? Well, he has an audience every time. Want to know what I’ve learned? None of them can hit the broadside of a truck. I’m not sure what the boys are doing in the bathroom, but I know the dog is trying his best (and it’s just not happening).

Gross things are less gross when you love them.

I’ve been peed on, vomited on, touched poop, and dug in mouths to retrieve things that shouldn’t be there. Yeah, it’s all still sort of gross, but I haven’t made anyone sleep outside because of it. Not yet, at least.

Bribery works.

“Can you be a good boy? Mommy will give you a treat!” Do you know who I’m talking to? Me neither.

The older they get, the later they sleep.

No one is ready to start moving until about eight in the morning. Yeah, that makes getting ready for school a pain in the ass, but weekends are great, and you have to love a dog who refuses to get out of bed before the sun is completely up.

No, I don’t think my furbaby is like an actual baby (although, putting cute sweaters on him is kind of fun, and I wish I had some onesies left over from when the boys were little) but you can’t deny there are some distinct similarities between them.

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