Everyone has something to say about parenting. Even the folks without kids. Since they were parented, they believe that they know something about parenting. How cute is that?
The childless dog people are the worse. When they hear parents complain, they will chime in with the struggles of dog ownership. The doggie “parents” rant about costs, like food and boarding. They’ll tell you about the time the dog was sick, how it kept them up late at night, and how much it cost to get medical care. And they love to ramble about challenges of managing a dog and how their dog “seems to have a mind of its own.” How special is that?
When a parent hears these rants, a million rapid-fire questions bounce around their cortex. Have you ever seen the cost of kid clothing, especially shoes? Did you use part of your 401K to pay for diapers? You ever been hit by projectile vomit? Have you ever tried to comfort an infant with an inner-ear infection and ended up hauling the kid to urgent care at 2 AM?
The “mind of its own” line triggers even more anger-induced questions. If you think your dog is strong-willed, have you ever battled a two-year-old in a store over a toy they won’t put back? Have you ever tried to reason with a kindergartener? During your dog’s adolescence, was every request met with a look of disgust, discontent, and noncompliance?
Naturally, parents are not keen on the dog ownership-parenting comparison. As a psychologist, I think that communication should always be affirming and that we should take our time explaining how certain words or actions affect our well-being. But, in this situation, I believe most parents would agree with the following advice. The only appropriate thing to say to dog owners who like to compare their responsibilities to parents is “Fuck you and your dog!”