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Mother’s Day is not the easiest of holidays for me. I have no human children and have never been called “mom.” No one has ever said, “Happy Mother’s Day mom, I love you!”
But, can we be mothers to species other than humans? I am the single provider for two dogs, Sanchez and Gina. But, I usually think of them as my companion animals, not my children. Even though others may see me as a dog-mom, with my children being of the furry sort.
My 81-year-old mother is 3,000 miles away. I am very grateful that she is in good health, and we will have some time together at the end of the month. And, even though my dogs are not my children, I am very happy to be spending Mother’s Day with them. Whether I take them for a hike, drive them to the beach, or they sit by my side at an outdoor cafe, they are still my full responsibility.
I pride myself with being a very conscientious care-taker for them, providing a very healthy diet, plenty of exercise, daily reward-based dog training, environmental enrichment, participation in dog sports, playtime, and an infinite amount of love. They won’t ever graduate from high school, leave for college and produce offspring. But, when I adopted them, I promised them a forever home. They get room and board with medical and dental for life. I am their provider, care-taker, training partner, agility partner, canine freestyle partner, and human snuggler, even if I am not their mom.
A study in New Scientist reported that pet dogs rival humans for emotional satisfaction. After playing with their pets, dog owners experienced a burst in a hormone linked to infant care. I honestly have had more experience playing with puppies than taking care of infants, so I can’t compare. But, I do know that my engagement and relationship with my dogs is extremely emotionally satisfying and bonding. It’s not surprising to me that Dr. Rollin McCarty, Director of Research at the Institute of HeartMath, conducted an experiment and found that heart-rhythm entrainment, or synchronization, occurs between people and their dogs.
There are 75.1 million children in the United States. Stats.gov projects that number will increase to over 100 million by the year 2050. At the end of 2009, The Humane Society reported there were 77.5 million owned dogs in the U.S. and 93.6 million cats. The pet over-population problem is out of control.
So, this Mother’s Day, I’m going to enjoy being a mom, if only for a day. I’m not going to feel guilty raising good canine citizens instead of good children. I’m going to be proud of my choice to not add to the over human population and remind myself that I am helping the pet over-population.
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Mother’s Day is ABSOLUTELY for dog moms too! Although I don’t have kids, I have three dogs and I swear I love them as if they were my own kiddos. Thanks for pushing the idea that dog moms are moms too! Happy Mother’s day!
I truly believe that dog moms also deserve to be recognized. We work hard to provide our dogs with the love and training they deserve. I love my dogs and care for them with all my heart. Happy moms day for dogs moms!!!!!!
What a great post. I have to agree that Mother’s Day is not easy for me either. My husband and I have three dogs that we adore and I do honestly feel like I am their dog mom. Many may not agree but at this stage in my like I could care less. Enjoy your day and all the days you feel like a mom.
Thank you for writing this incredible pet health article. it is true that dogs do emotionally help their owners for emotional sanctification. I personally miss my german shepherd. he was an incredible dog! Any new research on dogs for emotionally uplifting people?
Wow what a great article. I did not know that dogs had that kind of power to heal our hearts.