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Are You Raising a Furkid? Confusing parenthood and pet ownership

By jim Published: November 4, 2009

Kids chase fewer squirrels and postal workers than dogs, but the way we pamper our poodles and great danes and mutts has a lot in common with how we treat our toddlers and teens.

Though I try not to over-kid-ify my canine, the bounds of sane dog owner behavior are blurry. I frequently arrange playdates for my rat terrier Monkey, and, I hate to admit, once shoved him into a Dracula costume and took him to a dog party, which included dog cake, dog champagne, and a doggie masseuse (who terrified my pooch—I think Monkey considered her a type of vet). So far, I’ve resisted the call of doga—dog yoga—but who knows what the future will bring?

The pet-as-child mindset is hard to avoid: confusing pet ownership and parenthood is a pervasive aspect of the pet world that’s reflected in money spent, canine behavioral therapists hired, and terms coined, such as “bark mitzvah,” “puppy leave,” and “furkid.” These are just a few lexical symptoms of the weird and intense relationship we have with our dogs.

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