-Erika Ray

I feel like this entire month, I should start my posts off with “I’m sorry if this makes you angry.”  But let’s be adult here, people.  I love a lot of stuff you probably hate.  I hate a lot of stuff you probably love.  And for one month, I get to spew the stuff I hate.  If I hate on something you truly love, it is what it is.  I don’t think you’re awful or a demon, I just hate that one thing you love.  So this is my very last apology for possibly offending or hurting your feelings.  We can still be friends.  I hope anyways…

So I’m going to say it: I hate when people who use the term Furbabies.  That’s quite possibly the worst term ever.  Isn’t it?  Wanna see my furbabies?  Hell no I don’t.  Get that shit taken care of.  Oh you mean your dogs…  I guess.

When I first had Coop, our good friends didn’t have children.  I had lots of discussions about him and I’d hear, “Not that I’m comparing my dog to your kid.”  And I waved it off.  It wasn’t offensive to me in the least because for a short period, their dog was like my baby.  We had our dog, Charlie, for almost 2 years prior to having Coop.  She prepared us for parenting better than any book I pretended to read.  I’d nod agree and we’d compare parenting notes.  I believe it was Charlie Harper on Two and Half Men who said, “Having a kid is like raising a dog who slowly begins to talk.”  It’s true.  You praise the same way.  Gently steer out of trouble the same way.  Half laugh when you get pee’d on.  Fall hopelessly in love with those big goo-goo eyes.  But then my kid started to talk.  He started to interact.  He started to have opinions that I couldn’t gentle steer against.  We had to meet in our house as humans. And that’s when having a dog isn’t comparable to a kid.  My dog is my dog and my children are my children.  And it’s 110% different.  If you disagree, you don’t have human children.

When my kid destroys the couch, I can get angry and say some form of “Bad Kid.”  But I have to adjust my parenting because I can’t put him in the backyard to ignore him.  I have to forgive, move on, and teach respect.  And prepare for the next action that tests my patience.  My dog does it and I say some form of “Bad Dog.”  But loving her is easy because she’s a dog and probably didn’t know any better.  And let’s be honest, if we’re starving in my house.  All of us are hallucinating from starvation.  If I was watching my children twist in pain, I would cook up my dog and give us a couple more days.  I can’t cook up my kids.  We’d all die.  Hungry and alone.  I can say this because I doubt it would ever happen, but it could…  And I would.  I’ve watched people treat their pet horribly because they’re just animals.  That’s not right, they do deserve respect.  But I’ve also heard non-kid parents give their discipline advice to a kid-parent because they’ve had to correct Sparky.  That’s not right.  Until you’ve had to deal with a screaming four-year-old while reminding yourself that walking out the door isn’t an option, keep your discipline advice to yourself.  Telling Sparky to not jump on the couch is completely different from trying to stop an irrational kid’s need to throw books.  And you have to stick around.  You can’t bail.  I’ve never wanted to jump in the car and drive for hours because of something my dog did.  But I’ve had those moments with my children.  I’d probably take the dog with me.

I’m not saying that someone’s love for their pet isn’t strong.  I will cry like a baby when our dog goes.  She was our first “kid”.  But the minute Coop moved beyond his “Dog Phase”, she became an actual dog: a much-loved dog, but a dog.  When you’re pregnant, people always laugh and say “I can’t wait for the cat to become a cat.”  You tell them with all your heart, “That won’t happen.  I love her like a kid.”  I honestly believe you do.  But she becomes a cat.  Trust me.



Post a comment
  1. September 6, 2012

    I’ve never used the term Furbabies. What the frak ? People say that?

    Great post Erika, your words always bring a smile.

  2. September 6, 2012

    uh, yeah.
    FURBABIES drives me f’ing batty.

    i don’t have children. but i do co-exist with a cat, two dogs, a rabbit. all “rescued”.
    i totally understand: they are not human.

    part of me actually feels bad because i can’t feel what parents feel when they emote all over themselves [and me] about their children. i will never know those feelings.

    i love my animals: i am part of their pack more than they are part of my family.

    so i get you. i totally truly indeedly do.

  3. September 6, 2012

    AMEN! I want to print this and hand it out to people who ever use that term and ever compare pets to children. It drives me absolutely NUTS!

  4. sidemtess #
    September 6, 2012

    As crazy as I am about my cats annie, oona and parker posey (and my sweet cairns, sidney, emmy and tess who have all gone now) I get you. Although I have never raised a child, I am the proud step mother of a lovely young woman who I know I would have put first if I were raising her–it is not an afront to my beloved pets, it is only natural. And I do adore my pets–I think that mothering instinct in me will never die!!! But I know that they are animals and they would probably get less attention if I had a little one in the house.

    The term furbaby is not my fave and I’ll do you one better: my big boss calls his dogs “furbabies” and his son his “skinbaby”!!!I really hate that!!!!!

    • September 6, 2012

      now skinbaby is just WEIRD.

    • Jill #
      September 6, 2012

      Skinbaby might be the weirdest thing I’ve heard, Linda.

    • kathy #
      September 7, 2012

      skinbaby?! thats just wrong

  5. Jill #
    September 6, 2012

    You know what I say about children when they are little: treat them like a dog that you really, really love until they are four . . . then start with conversations.

  6. September 6, 2012

    I kind of fear for the person who offers me parenting advice based upon their pet-rearing experiences. It hasn’t happened sofar, but I don’t think it would be pretty for them if it did.
    I’ve never heard anyone use the term furbaby, but ew! And if I was in earshot of skinbaby and furbaby in the same sentence, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to suppress audible retching noises. Mind you, I’m a dog lover through and through, but that is just yucky.

  7. kathy #
    September 7, 2012

    hehe…I’ve used the term furbaby…and have several friends who use it – they don’t have kids. But never once have they offered up parenting advice based on their animal experience. I would have to laugh in their faces. Then tell them to stick it were the sun don’t shine.
    I’ve been on the dog is my only child side, I get it. I’m now on the I have kids, and my dog is my wonderful, playful dog. Who is part of the family, but doesn’t get to go on vacation with us side.

  8. September 7, 2012

    Furbaby? Eeeeeewwww is right. I have kids and a dog and a cat (anybody want a cat?). None of them are interchangeable, although, in certain moments of teenage self-definition, I’ve wished… Ken

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