I was recently asked to write about what makes me “The Ultimate Dog Mom.” And more often than not, the phrase “dog mom” elicits an image of a ritzy woman walking down the street with a froo-froo dog named Tink sticking out of her pink purse. Well, at least that’s what I picture.
So, I got to thinking–I know what makes me a dog mom. After all, I have a column on DogTime called “Dog Mom,” which you’re reading right now. But what about others? What is it that makes some of us dog moms and dads? And how many people consider their dogs to be their kids?
I took a poll on Facebook asking whether people with dogs considered themselves parents, and their dogs kids; and why or why not? Of 165 votes (at time of publishing), a whopping 96 percent confirmed yes, they are a dog mom or dad, and only four percent disagreed.
None of the people who voted “no” elaborated on why they chose that answer, but here are a few reasons people gave as to why they call themselves a dog mom or dad.
Dog Mom Danielle Loranger
“I’m a dog mom for sure. I have no human babies and my dog is my world. My sweet Dolce, who passed in October 2018, was with me through eleven years of some of the best and worst moments in my life.
“There was a time where the only reason I didn’t end my life was because I couldn’t stand to leave her. I was a broke college student and went without food so I could buy her kibble.
“Now she’s gone but I’ve still got her baby brother, Cecil, and he’s the best part of me. I would walk through fire to keep my baby safe and happy. Anyone who wants to tell me I’m wrong or not a mom because ‘they’re just dogs’ can fight me.”
Dog Mom Julie Lopez-Hernandez
“I don’t consider my boy as a dog. I had him since he was six weeks [old] and treated him like my baby.
“He knows who momma is and who cares for him, loves him, cuddles with him, takes him to the doctors when it is needed, bathes him when he smells like butt, washes his blankets and ‘yamas when they smell, gives him his medicine when it is needed, and mostly spoils him to the end.
“They only know how to love, be loyal and support you in times of need. You are their voice and eyes for everything else. This is why I am a dog momma to my boy Soxx. Love him to the end of time!”
Dog Dad Ken Lu
“I am 100 percent a dog dad. The love I have for my two sons is something that I feel if I had ‘real children’ would feel like this. My love for my two boys is so strong, and I say it all the time that I hope I go before them. I could never be able to deal with burying one of my kids. No parent should have to do that.
“Also on a less depressing note, I chose to start my own business so I could work from home, just so they didn’t have to be alone during the day and I didn’t have to leave them with a babysitter.
“Whenever someone in my family has a holiday and it’s at their home, they know that my two boys are automatically a package deal. If you think for one second I am not going to bring my kids to your home on a holiday because they have four legs, you got another thing coming to you. I would rather and will stay home if that is ever the case in the future.
“The love I have for these babies is unlike any other love I felt before, and the empathy I feel towards dogs now since becoming a parent is crazy. I can’t say I feel the same for humans, but humans let me down a lot over the years, so it is what it is.
“In conclusion to my rambling I can 100 percent say that being a parent to a dog is 100 percent being a parent in my eyes, and if anyone in my life does not agree with that or understand, well then eat a nice pile of dog [poop].”
Dog Mom Laura Ibsen
“I never wanted to be anyone’s mother. But I got Kelty, and she showed me that it’s not such a bad thing.
“She’s my baby and my best friend. I’m proud to call myself her momma.”
Dog Mom & Grandma Ruth Ettinger
“I’m even a dog grandma! Because I think of them as my kids, they are more than pets to us. We take care of them like they are our kids; [we] feed them, clothe them, and put a roof over their heads and take care of them when they are sick.
“And most importantly we love them unconditionally!”
Dog Mom Shannon Noble
“As a dog mom, I treat my pups just as I treated my human kids when they were little. We have our daily routines and whenever I go shopping I always look for a treat or toy for them. I talk to them and they talk to me. I hurt when they hurt.
“They comfort me when I need it (and I’ve needed it a lot here lately!). I love them unconditionally as they do me.”
Dog Mom Gina McCann
“I’m definitely a dog mahm. I consider them in almost every situation. Such as purchasing a vehicle (size wise), leaving the house, how long we’re gone, etc.
“Also, I treat them just the same as my kid.”
Dog Dad Brian Goldspink
Dog Mom Sara Mason-Peña
“I am definitely a dog mom because I take care of them just like I did with my kids who are 18 and 19 now.
“I feed them when they are hungry, take them out to play, baby them when they aren’t feeling good, discipline them when they are being naughty, have birthday parties and spoil them rotten!
“I give them unconditional love just like I do with my human kids.”
Dog Mom Monica Anderson
“They are my girls; they look to me for food, potty breaks, discipline. They sleep with me. I don’t like to leave them alone.
“They have helped me get through some tough times. I [love] them.”
Dog Mom Tara Shackelford
“I have five dogs, and I love each one equally.
“My daughter asked where she ranked with the dogs and I had to pause for a minute–lol. Jk!”
Dog Mom & Grandma Robin Rowe
“I’m a dog Grandma too. My grand pup, Charlie, calls me G-Ma.”
And Me, Dog Mom, Katelyn Hoglund
The dictionary definition of a “mother” is as follows:
- noun 1. a woman in relation to her child or children.
- verb 1. bring up with care and affection
While I didn’t give birth to my dogs–sometimes I truly question this with how attached and needy they can be–I do bring them up with care and affection. So many people get very technical when discussing motherhood, and more often than not, we may be ridiculed for seeing our dogs as children.
But, the definition is very simple. If more people lived out the action of mothering, less people would care what we call ourselves when it comes to our four-legged family members.
My dogs aren’t just dogs. They are my kids.
Katelyn Hoglund is a proud dog mom to five pups, and you can see what her fur family is up to on Facebook by following Dogs and Other Unsolicited Advice – L O N G bois and the House Hippos. You can also catch more of her dogs and her unsolicited advice at dogsandadvice.com and on YouTube at Dogs and Other Unsolicited Advice.