pet parenting

Must Love Dogs

Honoring puppy (and doggy!) love in all its delightful weirdness

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A wise person once said, "Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve, nurture and care for all life."

May is Responsible Animal Guardian Month. Well, isn't every month? There's actually a whole month set aside as a time for pet parents to honor their cherished pets.

In celebration, let's bark about some of the fascinating-and a bit neurotic-traits that make pet guardians truly remarkable, quirky humans:

You appear to be a little crazy. I can't speak for all pets, but my mom finds it physically impawsible to refrain from giving me a human voice. It's true that dogs are expressive creatures, so it must feel instinctual to verbalize what our derpy little faces are trying to communicate to you. To non-pet people, this is a bizarre phenomenon they absolutely do not understand. But that's OK, your pet gets it.

You're great at sharing space. There's an unspoken rule that when your pet is sleeping on you, you don't move. Ever. Nuzzling is just one of the sweet ways we say, "I love you." Making your pet move from your lap or a spot on the couch is not an option. If your dog, cat or even pig is cozied up, wedge into an open space and snuggle together.

You look like your pet-—and it's not on purpose. It's often said that people eventually end up looking exactly like their pets, or vice versa, each making the same facial expression at the same time. Which is not creepy at all. When people tell me that I'm a canine version of my mom, I take it as a compliment. Pets and their owners are just like married couples—they get more alike over time. The longer an animal has been with an owner, the more likely it is to acquire that person's characteristics. If you don't know anyone who resembles their furry friend, you're not paying attention.

You share photos of your pets on social media. If I do something funny, embarrassing or straight-up awesome, my mom uploads a picture immediately. Pet parents are shameless, flooding their social media pages with pics of furry friends, and the comments are proof positive that these peeps are also pet peeps and totally get you.

You take the day off to care for the ill. Your animal companion is sick or just had surgery, so you call in sick to work because, well, you don't feel good if they don't feel good. Logical to loving animal guardians? Absolutely!

The responsibility of pet ownership also includes keeping us safe, healthy and loved. My mom reminds me of this every time she catches me eating something from the street or sniffing the garbage. It's because she loves me and doesn't want me to get sick. And though I may get miffed, I know in my heart she means well—and may be a little smarter than I am, sometimes.

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