I like cats and dogs. Let me just put that out there.
Some of you still may want to pummel me with smoked piggy ears or the little plastic shovel you use to scoop up kitty crap. That’s okay. I have good reflexes and thick skin…but I also have an opinion:
Your fur baby isn’t a real baby.
My husband and I recently hosted a party at our house. I love parties, mostly because the last minute pressure to clean, transforming my house into less of a plastic toy infested train wreck puts my anxiety into high gear and…well, who doesn’t enjoy that?
I invited a handful of friends who knew each other well enough to get through three-ish hours of small talk with minimal awkwardness, made a trip to Costco and voila – instant party hostess. I uncorked the wine so it could breathe (I’m fancy like that), shoved all of the shit I didn’t want people to see in the upstairs closet, and waited for my guests to arrive. That last thing translates into having a class of cab from the good bottle that I don’t share with anyone. Sorry-not-sorry.
Then I got the call:
“Do you mind if I bring my dog?”
The question was asked by a work friend. I knew her well enough to know she was a dog person. I’ll go ahead and say weird dog person since we’d once had an entire conversation about her dog’s opinion on her new window treatments. There was a lot of smiling and nodding on my part because really, what do you say to that? But who effing knows? Maybe her dog really does have feelings about the draperies and she was otherwise a cool person. Nice enough for me to want to invite to my house to drink my wine and stuff.
“Actually, I do mind,” was my answer. “We’re a pet-free home.”
“But you’re letting people bring their kids, right?”
Okay, getting awkward.
“Yes, a few people are bringing kids,” was my answer.
“My dog is my child. So why can’t I bring her?”
I appreciate that people love their pets. Growing up, we always had dogs and a crap ton of cats that hung out in our yard. Up until a year ago, my family always had a pet. When our beloved cranky asshole of a cat died last year, we decided to take a break from having a pet in the family. Eventually, we’ll probably get another but for right now I’m enjoying the respite from cleaning up animal shit. And cat hair. And stepping on stray granules of cat litter that those little paws manage to track all over the house.
I appreciate that people have varying degrees of attachment to their pets, their “fur babies.” Pets are members of the family. I get it. If you want to spend half your paycheck on organic doggie chow and spring for kitty behavior modification therapy, fine by me. If you want to let your dog sleep in your bed or let your cat roam around on your countertop, rock on, although if you permit that cat on the counters thing, I will never eat at your house. Ew.
Your fur baby isn’t a real baby.
As much as we might love our animals, they are not people. And although there might be some uncanny similarities between your 9-year-old dog and my 4-year-old kid, animals don’t think or behave the same way that people do. To assume that’s true is both foolish and unsafe.
Being a “pet parent” doesn’t come with the same level of responsibility. If we chained our kids up in the backyard or shoved them in a crate when we went off to work, we’d go to jail.
In most cases, children eventually leave home. We spend most of their growing years teaching them the skills they’ll need to adult and helping them map out their futures. Sure, we teach our pets important stuff, like how to catch a Frisbee and not pee on the carpets, but most of us have loftier expectations of our human kids, right?
I’m not questioning any pet owner’s love or level of commitment. My friend’s motivation for wanting to bring her dog to my party? It was too hot outside for her little doggie darling to stay in the yard for an extended period of time and she’d been in the crate all day.
I gave props for responsible pet ownership…but I still said no to the furball hanging out at my house, and that’s my prerogative. I’m sure there are a fair amount of places that my very loud, sticky children would be just as unwelcome.
She didn’t come to my party and was frosty to me after that, which made me a little sad, mostly because I had to hear about her crazy-ass pet stories second-hand, like the one about the time she dressed her dog up as Marie Antoinette.
For those of you out there that call yourself “pet parents”, do your thing. Be who makes you happy. But don’t expect me to buy that the level of love and responsibility is the same as parenting a human child…because it just isn’t.
Fur babies aren’t real babies.
And, for the love of all that is holy, please tell your cat to stop sending me friend requests on Facebook.
That’s just weird.