Dear “Fur Parents”

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Hi.

How are you doing today?  Well, I hope.

Listen, we need to have a talk.

It’s come to my attention that you are a young, responsible, loving individual(s) that has taken on the responsibility of pet ownership.  I can only imagine how excited you were the first time you saw your little ball of fluff, snuggling it and petting it, playing with its little paws.  I have no doubt whatsoever that the love just washed over you.  You took it home, got it’s food and water dishes put together, maybe bought or made it a little outfit, and then began enjoying the playful little scamp.

Eventually you took it to its first vet visit, shelled out the money to cover its flea/heartworm prevention medicines, and then smiled as your little one hung its head out the window on the drive home.  It was at that point that I’m sure you thought to yourself, “wow, being a parent isn’t so hard.  My little baby makes it easy”.  Only one, teensy weensy, minor problem with that thought:

THAT’S NOT PARENTING.

My dear friend, if you let an actual child hang its head out the window during a drive, you would be pulled over and arrested.  If you fed a child from dishes placed on the floor, you would get the stink eye from anyone who happened to be there during dinnertime.  If the only clothing you had for the child was one or two cute little outfits, then that child would quickly end up the subject of much derision on the playground.  Don’t even get me started on letting it sleep outside all the time.

So you see my friends, pet ownership is not exactly the same as “parenting”.  I don’t say this to be mean.  I just think you need to be set straight.  Why?

BECAUSE I USED TO BE YOU.

I’ve owned a dog.  I’ve owned cats.  Before I actually had a child, I was under the mistaken impression that caring for these animals was simply the first step in preparation of real parenthood.  I was wrong.  So, so wrong.  Owning a dog or a cat is nothing like being responsible for a child.  You can’t let a child run around completely naked.  You can’t feed it off the floor.  The neighbors look at you weird if you play “fetch” with a child.  It’s just not even close.  If parenting was judged on a scale of 1 to 10, owning an animal is about a .5.

“How can you say this?” you ask as the rage within you builds, “I’m responsible for a life!  Who are you to question?”  It’s funny you ask, because my answer to that is actually some questions I would put to YOU:

  • Can you leave your house anytime you like, day or night, at the drop of a hat,  with your “baby” completely unsupervised?
  • Can you stay out as long as you want or even overnight somewhere as long as you left some food out for said “baby”?
  • Can you get completely wasted when its just you and the “baby” in the house?
  • Do you walk it on a leash (actually, cancel that one.  I see leashed kids all the times these days.  It’s not necessarily a bad idea)
  • Do you get a regular, full-nights sleep with the “baby” in the bed with you?
  • Do you allow your “baby” to defecate in the yard or a litter box in the laundry room?
  • Does your “baby’s” toys consist or a ball of yarn or chewed up old tennis ball?
  • Do you put it in a cage to sleep at night?
  • Did you pay for a procedure to guarantee it didn’t make you any “grandbabies”?
  • Was there a one-time $25 to $100.00 fee to bring it home?
  • Do you squirt it with a water bottle or hit it in the nose with a rolled-up newspaper to correct it?
  • Does it do what it’s told without any talkback?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, you are either a pet owner or need to be put away in the darkest rat-infested hole imaginable for the rest of your hopefully excruciatingly painful days.

So friends, just keep in mind that you have a long way to go until you can actually claim the title of “parent”.  It’s a long, arduous, sleep-deprived, blood, sweat, and poop-stained journey to get there.  Come to think of it, this is probably why you should just stick with the pets.  They are SO much easier, the love is unconditional, and you never have to argue with it about eating its ^&*%ing dinner.

In loving memory of Darwin and Gertrude, for whom I had to find another home when it turned out that Cray-Cray was deathly allergic.  That’s the other difference.  Unless there’s something really, really wrong with you, you don’t get rid of the children for the sake of the animals.  Don’t forget that rat-infested hole.

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