Dog staring off to the side with a green background.

A Dog Mom is still a Mom

By Piper Blake
Assistant Web Content Manager

It’s every parent’s fear, that once they break and allow their child to get a puppy, it will turn into the real-life version of Cujo. 

An article from The New Yorker describes this perfectly in another Stephen King reference. Colin Nissan uses “Pet Cemetery” –a horror film about the resurrection of a dead cat and then a dead boy– to describe all of the responsibilities his child will have to think of when committing to owning a dog. 

I read this article recently and it had me laughing from beginning to end, mostly because I am a new dog mom myself. I could picture this as exactly how my parents felt when I first got my very own puppy. They thought I would kill her in a week by either forgetting to feed her, forgetting to give her water or forgetting my responsibilities for her altogether. 

However, I took my job as her caregiver very seriously, to their surprise. She became my sole focus and creating a bond with her was my main goal. 

This surge of responsibility definitely didn’t come when I was given a puppy at 10 due to my lack of knowledge on how to train and fully take care of a living thing other than myself. I still loved the puppy I was given, but she became attached to my parents due to them being the ones to feed her every morning and being her primary caregiver. 

At 19,  I took the opportunity to own and train a dog that would be mine full-heartedly. What is it with women hitting a certain age and having the urge to nurture and care for another living thing? Is it hormones or nature that calls us to adorable things that need caring for?

We all see the posts on social media about “baby fever” or “puppy fever” that seem like a joke to get you to look at adorable pictures of babies or puppies; however, I have learned this is no joking matter what so ever. 

Ever since I got Aspen (my puppy), she is the most adorable and perfect thing in my life. She can do no wrong in my eyes. I have gotten this overwhelming need to always be with her and always wanting her attention. Who is this person I have become?

A mom. That is what I have become. 

I believe that the caring of an animal is a woman’s test to predetermine her instincts as a mother. Whether you’re a cat mom and dog mom or any other animal type of mom, you are showing the instincts that a mother would have to a child. 

If this is true, my instincts as a dog mom are leaning to borderline obsessive with how much I want to take care of her when I am away at school.

Moms create connections with their children by the physical touch they have when their baby is born. This is not the same for dog moms. We have to build connections based on how we interact with the animal and how we assert ourselves as their pack leader in their eyes. 

Also, we don’t get the neurological changes that a mom gets after giving birth to trigger her nurturing and motherly instincts. Dog moms create these instincts by necessity when caring for another living thing. 

I’m not saying only women go through these changes when caring for an animal, men can experience this too. However, I am drawing a comparison to how being an animal mom can prepare you to be a real mom. 

Dog moms are moms too. It should be a recognized fact that if we prioritize our animal on a “more than normal” level, it’s just because our CHILD is needing us to come home and let them out to go potty and be played with.

Featured image by Piper Blake.

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