The other day, on facebook, I read a comment saying in a rather sarcastic manner that some people see pets as kids but the only connection is the responsibility. I know that not all people have that kind of connection with pets. And it’s true that the most beloved pet is not the same as a human child. I don’t know any pet parents that don’t know the difference.
We say kids because it’s the closest analogy to what we feel. I’ve always thought of my pets, my babies, as somewhere between toddlers and teenagers. Like children, we don’t adopt a pet with the idea that if it doesn’t work out we can always get rid of it. Like human children, our furry kids have different personalities, they seem to know just what buttons to push to drive us mad, and we love them more than they probably love us.
One of the big differences between human and furry children is that we know, we know that they will die before us. We love them anyway. We risk the hurt of the loss that we know from the beginning is coming. The loss of a furry child is very hard. I will come to tears if I think about the deaths of any of my beloved pets. But I know that does not translate into the loss of a human child. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.
We know the difference. We do not talk about our love of our pets in order to disparage the love you have for your human children. But please do not tell me that I’m crazy for loving my little furry friends. They each were family in their own way. Their loss was real. If you don’t understand that, then I feel sorry for you.