Riddle me this: are you a pet owner or pet parent?
I ask this question not to anger, insult OR upset anyone. How you choose to identify and/or associate yourself with your pet is of course a pawsonal choice.
I’m curious because of something I recently experienced the other day.
A very friendly couple walking past our house complimented me on how well the Boys remain on our porch without a leash…
Are you their owner?
Believe it or not, at first I blurted out –
Then I said –
Rightfully so, they stared at me like I was either crazy or I’d started “wine-time” early that day!
This created a much longer (then needed) convo as to why I initially couldn’t answer their question with any degree of certainty.
WHAT AM I? –
Do I gravitate towards “pet parent” because it sounds more affectionate and personal?
Or is it because my feelings towards them and the role I play in their lives mirrors more like the parent category vs. ownership?
PIease know, I would never look at nor compare the Boys to my birth children…
HOWEVER – I also don’t view the Boys as possessions resulting from ownership.
The definition of a pet parent is –
- a person who looks after a pet animal.
The definition of a pet owner is –
- a person who owns a pet.
WHO AM I? –
So, if I see myself as a pet parent, who am I to Harley & Jaxson?…
Do they see me as their parent?
Immediately after I read this question, my immediate response was “no.”
And I was wrong!
According to researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria – to some extent the answer is “yes!”
They used a theory called “secure base effect.”
Secure base effect is the theory that children use their parents as a secure base when they are interacting with their environments.Do Dogs Think We’re Their Parents?
The discovery is fascinating as they examined behavior in three different scenarios –
- absent owner
- silent by present owner
- encouraging owner.
PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES –
There are some expectations to parenting. When blessed with the opportunity, we are asked to –
- provide an environment that is safe
- make sure they have all their basic needs
- teach them
- provide discipline
- develop mutual respect
I love the last bullet – develop mutual respect – we nailed that one. Jax doesn’t lick me and I don’t lick him…
I AM NOT ALONE –
I would love to know how you see yourself in your pet’s life. Are you a pet owner or pet parent? Is he/she “just a dog” or is your relationship much much more?
As I stood on a neighbors porch yesterday engaged in idle chit-chat waiting for the rain to subside, I saw this…
Another neighbor – caught in the rain – was carrying his dog home. This Princess Beagle doesn’t like it when her paws get wet. I smiled as I thought –
Apparently I am not alone…
Be the reason someone smiles today ❤️