14 May 2023 is Mother’s Day. On this Mother’s Day, I have been giving some thought to the role of us, the Dog Moms.
I know that there are people who dislike the terms “dog parent” “pet parent” “dog mom” and “dog mum” – or other variations of this theme. I hope everyone will remember that the definition of ”to mother” is “to care for or protect.”
I say, without hesitation, that I am proudly a Dog Mum (Mom). I care for and protect Sox as if I had given birth to him. As dogs have the cognition of a two-year old child, the care and protection of a dog is very similar to that of a two-year old human child. A two-year old child will mature and become more self-reliant, whereas our dogs will not.
A Dog Mum truly makes a lifetime commitment.
If anything, I think the role of a Dog Mom is underrated and undervalued by society.
- I have Sox entirely through my own choice. You may have heard that some people become parents as the result of an ‘accidental pregnancy.’ Well, there’s no excuse when you are a pet parent. You take on the role entirely through choice.
- There are no Working for Families NZ tax credits for pet parents. Our dogs are dependent on us as caregivers but we are entirely financially responsible for their care, whereas parents to human children receive tax subsidies. One could argue that a pet parent without human children is paying more than their fair share of taxes.
- My under age 13 does not qualify for zero fees at the doctor, either. Whenever Sox goes to the vet, I pay a bill for the professional time and drugs to care for him. I have pet insurance for him, but this also comes at a price.
- If Sox required day care, we wouldn’t qualify for 20 hours of early childhood education for free, either.
- At a time when our health care systems are failing us, dogs support both physical and mental health and encourage social connections. By staying healthy, we reduce the demand on our healthcare system.
On this Mother’s Day, let’s give a big thanks to all the Dog Mums. They contribute to our communities in many ways that are not recognised by our system of rewards.
Happy Mother’s Day, from Sox and Me.
Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand