Is your Puppy your Baby?

As I sat down to write this post I was planning on talking about Poppy.

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Poppy is our 8 month old collie cross, and what motivated the post was the fact that the other week, for the first time since we got her, I had a full night’s sleep as I didn’t have to get up during the night to let her pee. This may sound a little exaggerated but trust me although dear husband (or ‘Daddy’ as we now refer to him) does do his doggy duties, daddy does sleep the sleep of the righteous and so all the nocturnal activities do generally fall to me. Now this marked a milestone as ever since then she’s slept through the whole night and so have I, and I’m not as knackered as I once was. So I started to wonder if this was the same feeling that new mummy’s get when their little one starts sleeping through the night.

Just as I started doing a little research I was shocked to find the amount of intense and passionate (to put it politely) articles and blog posts by mothers about how dogs are most definitely NOT anything like children, and how offended they are when people make comparisons.

So my post then took on a different hue, was I becoming one of those ‘weirdoes’ that these articles referred to that couldn’t discern between the love of a child and the trusting dependency of a dog? Was I offending biological mothers the world over by deigning to believe that Poppy and I had a similar bond? But as I read through these articles a funny thing happened, I not only started to question my relationship with Poppy but I was starting to feel a little inadequate as a human being, and more specifically a woman! That’s when I noticed it. One of the main defining points these articles were bringing up were how just “going to a kennel and pointing at ‘that one’ “ (which every dog owner will no doubt admit it wasn’t THAT easy!) doesn’t compare to the 9 months of growing and nurturing a baby, then the agony and elation of birth. Which is a little harsh as I can’t actually have children and so was left feeling bad about something which is a biological impossibility for me!

Then I looked at my little Poppy, curled up on the floor next to me as she always likes to be in the same room as me, and I remembered the day we got her from a farm. How timid and shy she was, and the two hours we spent on the floor of the farmhouse kitchen getting to know her. Her heart-breaking cries the first time we left her alone, and how proud we were the first time she peed outside.

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Poppy on her first day, the one and only day she was ever shy and timid.

How my heart was in my mouth the first time I let her off her lead to play with other dogs, how she runs to me when ‘daddy’ tells her off, or how she looks genuinely heartbroken when I tell her off, and I thought “bugger it! She IS our baby!”

So I do apologise if anybody finds this offensive as my post is not intended to inflame, but I find it a little unfair when people get on their high horse about the difference between having a puppy and a baby and in the process invalidating the feelings of the dog owners. Especially when one of their main points is the ‘9 months of carrying and nurturing a baby and the agonising birth’ but the joy and elation of having a child at the end of it. Well you know what? I did not have any of that, what I did have was 9 months of physical and emotional recovery after 3 months of carrying around a 2 ½ stone lump and a 4 hour operation to remove it, and the end of which I had the inability to EVER have children. So yes! Poppy is our baby. Yes! we do spoil her and arrange our lives around her, and yes! we do refer to each other as Mummy and Daddy around her, we find it fun and if we wish to believe it reinforces the idea that the bond between us is similar to that of a parent and child, so be it!