I was already thinking about this blog entry when I saw the headline: Company is Offering ‘Fur-ternity Leave’ for New Pet Owners.
You heard right. A Minneapolis marketing firm will now offer employees the ability to work remotely for a week, while welcoming a new pet into their home. Wait…did you hear that? The sound of moms across the country letting out a collective sigh at the absurdity of it. Even the play on words is offensive. How dare someone compare owning a dog to having a baby! It’s utterly outrageous…
Or is it? Is it really that horrible for someone to consider their four legged friend a family member? Is it so terrible to play house with a significant other, doting on a cuddly puppy? A puppy whose needs, albeit for just a few months, come fairly close to that of a human baby? If you happen to be scrolling through mom-related social media feeds, you would think it was a sin…a personal attack on mothers around the world to compare owning a pet to having a child. I’ve seen a post by a mom expressing outrage with a coworker who dared to counter her stories of late night feedings with tales of house breaking Fido. Another woman I know was once so offended by a friend celebrating Mother’s Day with her dog, that she had no choice but to take to the keyboard. Go on girl, let it out. That woman deserves your passive aggressive Facebook post…
Or does she? I submit to you a long forgotten perspective. Think back to when you didn’t have children yet. Were you ever the youngest one in the office, trying to make conversation with more experienced coworkers? Maybe you brought up your dog because it seemed like common ground. Or maybe at the time, that dog was the center of your life. I can distinctly remember bringing home my first puppy in my early 20s and spending countless hours researching (Googling!) the most nutritious dog food brands and the highest rated veterinarian in the area. Only the best for my pooch! And while I had enough sense to never compare my situation to motherhood (out loud at least!), I had a feeling that somehow, caring for my dog was preparing me for that role.
Fast forward 10 years and I now have a beautiful little boy of my own. It’s a love so incredibly true, nothing can compare. Which is why, when I hear someone younger do just that, I simply smile to myself. I think back to when my dog was the biggest responsibility I had. I remind myself that the person I’m talking to has no idea yet just how much deeper their love can go. Maybe one day, they’ll be lucky enough to find out. And if they’re really, really lucky…they’ll have their four legged friend by their side when it happens.
I hear stories about my friend’s dog, who is about the same age as my son. They seem to act the same! Sometimes I think that I have it easier, lol. When she goes on vacation she buys my son a present and when I go away I buy her dog a present, same goes for Christmas. I listen to her stories and she listens to mine.