Culture of Death, motherhood, Uncategorized

To the dog mom in Whole Foods

May 11, 2015

Man, some titles just write themselves, you know what I mean?

But seriously, yesterday, Mother’s Day, did indeed find me pounding the polished floors of Whole Paycheck for a quick pickup of vegan donuts (fail. The vegans come early on Sundays, I guess) and a last minute (sorry, mom!) bouquet of peonies to bring to brunch at the in laws. I figured I’d grab a quick cappuccino for my troubles on the way out, since I’d otherwise be leaving the premises for under $30 and therefore probably stopped and searched.

I stepped into a robust line of caffeine seekers bellying up to the coffee bar and observed the friendly chaos bustling around me. Off to the cafe side of the store wound a busy buffet line filled with happy breakfasters loading up recyclable paper plates with all manner of frittatas and free range goodies. I correctly deduced it to be some kind of Mother’s Day brunch, and it smelled fantastic.

As I waited for my dry cappuccino to materialize from behind the bank of espresso machines, a young woman carrying a ceramic teapot let herself behind the bar to fill up with hot water and chat up the barista on duty. Gesturing to the busy crowd of diners she remarked on the morning’s success to her (I presumed) co-worker.

“So are you a mom?” teapot girl asked barista girl

“Oh, no. Well, I mean, I’m a dog mom, I guess.”

Teapot girl excitedly clapped her teapot lid back down and put a reassuring arm on barista girl’s shoulder while giggling delightedly,

“Well that’s a mom! Of course that’s a mom! Happy Mother’s Day to you!”

Barista girl smiled and returned the question, causing teapot girl’s smile to waver.

“Oh, I just don’t have enough to give to an animal right now. I really want a cat, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be around enough to give it what it needs.”

Barista girl nodded sagely and complimented teapot girl on her maturity and discernment and the conversation came to a close, but not without a final “Happy Mother’s Day!” and a giggle exchanged for the canine caretaker.

On the one hand it was funny, because here I was witnessing a living, breathing Whole Foods stereotype as it played out before my own eyes. You can’t Youtube parody something that good.

On the other hand, I felt a deep pang of sadness and, honestly, something a little bit like anger, because ladies, ladies…being a pet owner does not make you a mother.

I understand (intellectually, at least, because poop in the grass and shedding….ugh) that a dog can theoretically be a delightful companion, and that people can – and do – form real bonds with animals.

But at the same time my heart aches over the idea that the lofty calling, the sacred vocation of motherhood which is written into the very fabric of the feminine soul…has come to mean so little, at least in some circles.

And before anybody brings it up, yes, I realize they could have been joking, and yes, sarcasm and all that…but if you could have heard the sincerity in their exchange and seen the fervor in their eyes as they discussed responsible pet parenting, you wouldn’t be so quick to jump to that perhaps more logical conclusion. Maybe if the exchange had taken place in Costco or Trader Joe’s.

We live in a culture that has been quick to discard traditional roles and definitions of virtue, and where the rights of self definition and choose-your-own identity have come to be regarded as synonymous with freedom.

And yet the human heart still aches to do what it was made for: to give and to receive love.

Not merely affection, not only companionship, not just a salve for loneliness and a convenient prop for selfies, but real love. Demanding love. Painful and pain-filled love. A love that suffers and, yes, perhaps even dies for the beloved.

So unless you are Lassie’s mommy, this probably doesn’t carry over into the typical scenario of pet ownership.

Yes, pets can be wonderful companions and bring life and joy to the family – but they can never be your family. They cannot return life-giving love, nor do they demand it in return.

No matter how much you feel your dog loves you, the absence of a rational, immortal soul renders that sweet and furry creature incapable of truly returning your affection. Slobbery kisses, maybe, but the capacity to truly “will the good of the other” as defines human love, even unto to the point of death?

Sorry, ain’t happening.

And the other thing about dog “motherhood?” Well it’s the perfect substitution for a generation such as ours, because it’s so much less demanding than the real thing, as Pope Francis himself helpfully illustrated last summer. And we’re nothing if not stingy in our capacity for self donation. (yours truly vvvvvvvery much included in this indictment.)

No matter how tiny and needy and cute, a puppy will never, ever ask of you what a baby will.

A dog can (usually) be satiated with a dish of food and a warm place to sleep. He can be dropped off with a neighbor or checked into a kennel for a spontaneous girl’s weekend in Vegas. When a major illness or a life threatening injury strikes, he can even be euthanized to spare him from additional suffering.

In other words? Dogs don’t suffer much from the narcissistic shortcomings of their “parents,” and there’s a finite capacity of self investment required.

Win/win, right?

Well, not quite. Because there is still that pesky, innate desire to nurture and to be needed, that capacity for self gift and receptivity which every woman is uniquely designed with, whether or not she ever actually physically bears children. 

Isn’t that wild?

St. John Paul II spoke almost constantly of the feminine genius of receptivity, and that every woman is uniquely and unequivocally called to motherhood, regardless of her state in life or even her physical capacity to bear it out.

Ven. Fulton Sheen put it in plainer terms: “Every woman in the world was made to be a mother either physically or spiritually.”

To conflate motherhood with pet ownership is wrong because the object of the love is too finite, yes, but also because the lover in question – the mother – is capable of so much more, and indeed, is called to so much more. Even if she cannot physically bear childrenEven then.

Because fostering. Adoption. Mentoring. Investing in human relationships with one’s nieces, nephews, neighbor kids, homeless youth, et cetera ad naseum.

There are a hundred ways to mother in a fully human sense of the word. But adopting a 4-legged friend is, emphatically, not one of them.

So I propose a striking of the term “dog mother/ pet parent” from the collective lexicon. It might be good for a laugh, but when you start to notice real conviction and fervent practice behind the concept, it’s not quite so cute.

(Thanks for the great material, Whole Foods. And in all seriousness, your vegan donuts are absolutely delicious. Next time I’ll come earlier.)

dogmom

  • Carolyn May 11, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    THANK YOU for this! This whole “pet parent” cultural phenomenon drives me up a wall! You can be a devoted pet owner, sure, but that is not a parent. Please do not equate your pet ownership with my vocation. I do not doubt that you take excellent care of your pet, but it is simply not the same as my relationship with my child. It makes me so sad, really. That children are treated as such an inconvenience and something to be drastically avoided, but animals have become so elevated. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals as much as the next girl, but a baby and a puppy are just not the same thing.

  • Selina May 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    “Occasionally, a dog will be presented as some training method for having a baby. “My girlfriend and I got a dog. We are going to see if we can handle that before we have kids.” This is a little like testing the waters of being a vegetarian by having lettuce on your burger. Okay, maybe that metaphor doesn’t make sense, but neither does using a dog as a training method for having a baby.”
    ― Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat

    • Jane May 12, 2015 at 7:04 am

      I just love that you used Jim Gaffigan. So clever.

  • Rebecca May 11, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I love this. I’m not a mother (heck, I’m not even married) and it bugs me so much when people my age have their “furbabies” and say things like, “the only grandchildren my parents will get.” < that statement particularly irks me because it seems like a bit of a slap in the face of the so-called grandparents who understand what it means to be a parent.

    As an aside, I even know a woman who has 3 kids and three pets and says she loves her pets as much as her kids, which blows my mind.

    • Anna May 12, 2015 at 6:26 am

      Not that I would *ever* wish this moment on anyone, but I truly feel that if a truck were speeding down the road and she had a child and a pet in the road with only a split second to save one of them, I can guarantee she would not have a painstaking inner moral dialogue to make her choice of who to save!

      I think when people say they love their pets as much as their kids are only referring to the feel-good fuzzy *feeling* of affection we get when we think about the objects of our love on a surface level. I sometimes can think about my kids very quickly like that and just get filled with the warm, pleasant feeling of “Gosh, they are just so cute and I love them!” but if I sit with that feeling and meditate on it for even a few minutes more, the feeling transforms in my heart and soul to something so profound and even a little bit scary. When I think about what I would do for them, sacrifice for them… how I would move heaven and earth to provide for them… how I would never be the same if I lost them… that’s when you realize this is a love like no other.

      When people refer to that warm, affectionate feeling they are only thinking of themselves and the nice feeling they GET. They are not referring to the self-donative love the author mentions. The painful, sacrificial, fulfilling, life-changing love that is GIVEN freely.

    • Tina May 12, 2015 at 6:57 am

      That blows my mind too. As a mother of 5 children who owns 4 dogs and has, within months, lost a child and a dog. It is far far far from the same. Yes, I love my pets and we mourned our Katie dog but it doesn’t compare to the pain of losing my sweet Mireya. We had our dog for 14 years, we had our daughter for 8 hours, still absolutely unequivocally NOT the same. The death of a pet certainly hurts, the death of a child is excruciating. Definitely, blows my mind and insults my motherhood.

    • Sara May 12, 2015 at 7:00 am

      I say the “only grandchildren my parents will get” comment due to the fact that it is looking like I may have fertility problems. My parents know it isn’t a “slap to the face” because they know that honestly, my dog will probably be the closest thing – not anywhere near actually having a grandchild, but the closest thing.

      • paula May 12, 2015 at 6:24 pm

        Not to quibble, I know infertility is painful and I certainly don’t want to presume to know what you are dealing with…but I have four adopted children that are much better grandchildren than my dogs or cats could ever be. Not the fruit of my womb, but every bit as much the fruit of my heart, and treasured as much as my biological children. And much more than the well-loved pets. Peace.

        • Jenny Uebbing May 12, 2015 at 6:25 pm

          YES, this.

        • Marge May 12, 2015 at 7:16 pm

          There is adoption. There are living, breathing, hurting, lonely and desperate children who need to give and accept love.
          I loved my dogs, each of them, but they were not my children. My daughter is. My grandchildren, through her, are. There is no comparison whatsoever.
          I’m grateful and appreciative of this blog entry and well aware that I have family members and friends who simply would not understand the sadness underlying the “furbabies” comment. Each of them have no children, which isn’t surprising. What is, to me, is the utter disregard for those of us who do have children and don’t appreciate being compared to pet owners.
          Thanks for the courage to publish this.

  • Laura May 11, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    I was just remarking to my husband about Whole Foods seeming far less family friendly than the other grocery stores I frequent. Thank goodness for Trader Joes’s!
    Happy Mother’s Day.

  • Anna May 11, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I also hate the term “furbaby.” It drives me nuts. But I do have to say that I am a woman who feels a distinct longing for marriage and motherhood, and God has not blessed me with either yet. So, for now, the only thing with whom I have to share my love and care is my pet. I am a teacher, so I also show motherly care towards my students, but as far as what I have at home to love and nurture, my pet is it. I am not putting it up there with motherhood, but I do think my pet is a gift from God so that I am not alone. He is not my “replacement” child, but, for now, he’s all I have, and I do consider him a gift from God.

    • Jenny Uebbing May 11, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      yes, absolutely! “A gift from God and something to love and nurture,” you’re absolutely right, but not a child. Spot on.

  • Aimee May 11, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Oh yes, this, thank you! I think about this often, and I feel especially sad when I see those bumper magnets that proclaim “I love my granddog!” (Have you seen them?) I asked a lady with one of those magnets about it once, and she said, “Well, my daughter told me this is as close as I will get to a grandchild . . .” And then she shrugged.
    I used to go to a trendy hair salon in the city near my home. It was very large (it was a former warehouse) with 20 stylist stations lining the walls, and the stylists all had frames on their stations emblazoned with the word “Family” (I assume they were gifts from the salon owners because each station had an identical frame). In the entire salon, only 3 stations had pictures of actual children in those frames. All the rest had pictures of dogs or cats.
    In a sign on the front door of the salon, it was proclaimed that dogs were very welcome, and many of the stylists had dog beds under their stations where their dogs could hang out while they worked. In the center of the salon, the owners had set up a full bedroom scene: a fully made double bed with lots of pillows, night tables with lamps, a plush carpet on the floor, and they surrounded it with an ornate black fence. That was where the owners’ two dogs lounged during the work day. It was, essentially, a glorified playpen for their dogs.
    Every time I walked in there, I thought “BABIES!! You guys need some interaction with real, live BABIES!”

  • Mallory May 11, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    My husband and I are young parents (well…26 isn’t that young, but among my cohort it certainly is). In one circle of friends, we are the only ones to have a baby. One guy in particular who is pleasantly mystified by our parenthood asked us, in the most innocent and genuine way, if having a baby was as fun as having a dog. My response, quick and surprisingly full of love, was that having a baby is so much better than having a dog. He asked why, and I told him, “Because the exchange of love between a parent a child is so much more meaningful.” His response, “Ya, I can see that.” MAN, so great 🙂

    • Tina May 12, 2015 at 7:01 am

      Haha, perfect. What a beautiful witness to your vocation!

  • Diana May 11, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Ugggg…yes!! I’ll admit to not being much of an animal lover (not that I wish them harm but I certainly don’t want any in my house, of any sort, or touching me) but I do not get this one. An animal is not the same as a human child! Just, no. It’s not. And don’t call your pets siblings to your actual human children. That’s just weird.

  • Feisty Irish Wench May 11, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    After 5 kids ages 1-21, a business, a marriage, a household, and my sanity to maintain, I have enough crap to clean up, and as such, do not accept the responsibility for pet ownership.

  • Lady May 12, 2015 at 5:39 am

    I am a mom to kids, and I agree. The term fur baby is annoying to me.
    On the other hand, I have a couple friends who cannot conceive or haven’t yet at least, and the animals are counted as babies temporarily for comfort. I say let ’em find fulfillment in that and say they’re “moms”, because I know their hearts ache to be real moms.

  • Caroline May 12, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Confessions of a former Cat Lady.
    Before I had kids, I had a cat. (I still do, the same faithful old kitty, nearing sixteen grand years.) But wait! Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I never thought of myself as its mom, or it, as my child, and became really inwardly annoyed when anyone called me its mom…usually the veteterinarians… And I usually made a point to correct them by saying I was not its mother, but it’s owner. However, I did have a picture of my cat on my desk…. Oh the shame! I agree with everything that you said, except the part of the pet not giving it’s life to defend it’s owner (unless it happens to be Lassie). Of course, it doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s happened enough times that a dog, will defend and give it’s life for it’s owner if they are being attacked. I’m not equating it to human love, you understand, I’m just saying! And, to her credit, at least Teapot Girl did say she didn’t have time for an ANIMAL! Perhaps she was just a giddy girl who was spreading her brand of sunshine around- and at least Barista girl acknowledged she was not a Mom. What I find troubling are people who should know better – I recently saw an article of a priest, I think it was in England, who held a funeral for a parishoners dog, in the church, little casket for viewing, and all (though he defends the action by not calling it a funeral but rather a saying goodbye or some such thing to offer support for the parishioner.) Life is a slippery slide downhill, and not quite so easy to climb back up again. What a world we live in. Let’s pray and make reparations for all the insults and sins we send God’s way, and teach others along the way to do the same.

  • Amanda C May 12, 2015 at 6:43 am

    I get what you’re saying. I agree with what you’re saying. But, as someone who’s on year six of infertility and desperately wants a child, I feel the need to point out that maybe it isn’t by choice that she has a dog and not a child. Sometimes that answer is so much easier than the truth. Sometimes it’s easier to joke and laugh than to show how much pain you’re dealing with inside, especially on Mother’s Day.

    Again, I know that plenty of people choose to have pets as opposed to children and that it isn’t the same at all. Trust me, I know. But I also know several people that can’t have children and cling to their pets as something to love and nurture…and they know it’s not the same too. I’m just saying, there may have been more behind the words than what you could ever know.

    • Jenny Uebbing May 12, 2015 at 7:28 am

      I’m sorry, I tried really hard not to step on those proverbial toes because I know – both online and in person – several couples who are struggling under the heavy cross of infertility (check out the week before last if you’re inclined, I did a whole series of guest posts from women facing infertility). I’m especially sorry that you have personally been tasked with that immense and painful burden.

      That being said, I’ve been a Denverite long enough to know that dog “parent” culture is deeply, deeply ingrained in our midst and that most (not all, certainly) but most people who would patronize Whole Foods are much more likely to be speaking from a serious misunderstanding/lack of formation concerning the dignity and difference of the human person versus the animal.

      Our local pet superstore has even been running a popular ad campaign lobbying for dog mother’s day, etc. Trust me, it’s a thing, and these young and college-aged girls without wedding rings were almost certainly members of the “pets-as-people” camp and not young wives struggling to make sense of the suffering they were facing in their marriages. I’m 99.9% confident in that, which is why I felt free to use the story in an illustrative manner.

  • Mary May 12, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Yes! I have 5 kids and 2 dogs, and I’m very much a dog person, but the kids ALWAYS come first. Yes, we give our dogs plenty of love and affection, and consider them part of the family in a way, but they are still animals without an immortal soul. They bring us joy, but we know it is finite. I used to joke that a puppy is good practice for a baby in that you have to actually think of caring for another being and get up in the middle of the night for them, but it is so very different. My children are (hopefully) being trained to make it to heaven. My dogs have been (mostly) trained to poop outside and behave. While the dogs can help the kids learn virtues like kindness and caring for the vulnerable, the kids cannot help the dogs get to heaven.

  • Mandi May 12, 2015 at 7:58 am

    I am a HUGE dog person. I am so anxious to buy a house not because of the house but because that means we can get a dog! We love our pets and always consider them “members of the family” but not human members of the family, dog members of the family. There is a distinction. We don’t treat them like humans, we treat them like dogs. And they are so much joy as dogs, just exactly what they are!

    So many of my newlywed friends got dogs. We got pregnant. Then when they got pregnant, their dogs wore shirts or held signs that said “big brother/big sister”. And I love dogs, like I said. And I love dogs and babies together. What an incredible bond! But siblings they are not!

    • Jenny Uebbing May 12, 2015 at 9:48 am

      yes! bingo, Mandi. (pun intended.)

  • Anna May 12, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Growing up with both parents being veterinarians I saw this a lot; it always broke my heart because most of the people who claimed this of their pets were older women who were alone in their lives. I pray for these women, because I have witnessed their loneliness and longing for companionship that can only be supplemented, but not found in pets. As a mother, I agree that “fur babies” is a term I abhor, especially when a cousin or other young, single woman says it. However, I think we should pray for these people who either don’t understand, or who suffer to fill a deep longing to give love. I recognize that some of this is a cultural thing, but what it says about our culture is that people are longing for love; we should be praying that people find this love in God and each other, rather than in creatures who cannot give it fully in return.

  • SMS May 12, 2015 at 8:53 am

    I suspect you have never had to put down your daughter’s sixteen-year-old pet dog…the one she grew up with…or adopted a cat you are allergic to after experiencing five miscarriages because your husband wanted a pet…or gotten up five times every night with a sick dog that you take to the vet twice weekly for fluid infusions because she has failing kidneys…or adopted a dog that turned out to be diabetic and that requires insulin shots twice a day…shots that eat into a fixed income…an income you supplement by working when you are well into your 70s because your savings were impacted by the economy a few years ago so you can’t retire. This is my life and the life of some of my friends. They are all good, Christ-loving, prayerful women. One works for her parish.

    I understand that some young people are selfish. Some older people are, too. Please do not assume that people who love their pets are incapable of the love you define. The “desire to nurture and to be needed” extends beyond the life-giving vocation of motherhood…and in fact, when we have raised our children and they go off to conquer their worlds and no longer have time to call or spend time with us, the desires to love and nurture do not stop. Our pets can challenge us, teach us to love more unselfishly (and isn’t that one reason why parents get pets for their children?). Archbishop Sheen’s quote “Every woman in the world was made to be a mother either physically or spiritually” is true. That desire to love and nurture…that urge doesn’t stop when our children have left the nest. And no. Pets do not replace our children. But they do allow us to give unconditional love…even when it is inconvenient. Even when it costs money. Even when it requires sacrifice (like not being able to shop at Whole Foods or even go to the hair salon).

    I’d like to revisit this blog entry with you in about thirty years. I wonder if life will have changed your perspective by then.

    • Jenny Uebbing May 12, 2015 at 9:48 am

      I’m really sorry you took it that way, but I think if you read back over it keeping in mind that I was in no way implying pets are not important or deserving of love, you’ll see the real message: animals are not people, and choosing (not having to settle for, but choosing) a pet over a child isn’t a parallel choice. And I’m sticking by my disdain for the term “pet parent” out of respect for authentic physical and spiritual motherhood and fatherhood. It just isn’t the same thing.

      • Ella May 12, 2015 at 7:37 pm

        Completely agree with you, Jenny. I know of some women (including a very close family member) who have deliberately chosen not to have children and insist they are “dog moms” of their “fur babies”. One was upset I did not return her happy mother’s day salutation but instead simply said thank you. Owning a dog does not equal bearing (or adopting) a child. Period.

    • AH May 12, 2015 at 10:41 am

      I love your post, SMS. I am perfectly happy raising and living with pets at this point in my life. I don’t feel that children are the right choice for me, and although there’s no saying I won’t change my mind down the road, I certainly don’t feel unfulfilled or like there’s something missing.

      “The lover in question – the mother – is capable of so much more, and indeed, is called to so much more” is very irksome to me because it seems to imply that if I don’t have children, whether it be through procreation or adoption, I’m not reaching my full potential as a woman.

      We are fortunate enough to live in a society where women can decide not only whether to have children, but also to plan their lives accordingly. Whether someone finds happiness in their career as a full-time mom or working their way up the corporate ladder (and everything in between!), choosing to have pets instead of children does not mean that I am ignoring my higher calling. As SMS mentioned, the “desire to nurture and to be needed” is not limited to human children.

      • Jenny Uebbing May 12, 2015 at 11:26 am

        No, that’s precisely not the point. All women are called to be mothers, but to human beings – whether through physical motherhood via childbirth or adoption or through spiritual motherhood through teaching, mentoring, friendship, charity work, sisterhood, aunthood, etc.

        The point is that motherhood can only ever rightly find its end in a human person, not in an animal which, no matter how beloved, can never return nor be fully capable of receiving the immensely sacred love which women are capable of and magnificently designed to give.

        • Caroline May 12, 2015 at 12:27 pm

          Jenny, I think in a situation/subject such as this, you are preaching to the choir (to those who readily agree), as the saying goes, and will not change anyone’s minds about it either way. When it comes to society today and the culture we live in, which so often focused away from God, it is a reminder of how much we all need to pray, do penance and pray again. The Rosary is a good place to start. After all, how many times does Our Blessed Mother have to ask us? For our own good? I enjoy many of these Catholic mom blogs, but I don’t often see much mention of the absolute necessity of prayer. At least not in the more visible, popular blogs.

      • Jenny Uebbing May 12, 2015 at 11:32 am

        Again, not knocking women who are working in fulfilling careers or feeding their pets well, but it’s not.the.same.thing. as parenting, which is a very, very difficult sell to our contraceptive, self-centered and fulfillment-focused culture. The phenom of the “pet parent” is the perfect encapsulation of this. Not because animals are bad (oh my goodness, I was the ridiculous kid bringing home strays and causing my parents endless amounts of grief in the process, I’m an animal lover, promise) but because human beings were made to be loved and to give love to other human beings in a unique, self-sacrificing relationship which mirrors our relationship with God as our Father (and Mother.)

        That’s just not the same thing as being the master/owner of an animal.

  • Nicky Rothmann May 12, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I really enjoy your posts, but this one, this one lacked something.
    It may be Gentleness.
    You quote St. John Paul II and Ven. Fulton Sheen, how do they NOT apply to those who mother animals.

    What would you say to St. Francis preaching to the BIrds?

    There is a place for what you say.
    I feel as though you may have done it with the wrong spirit.

    Let Love and Gentleness in Christ always speak through us.

    • Jenny Uebbing May 12, 2015 at 11:27 am

      I did my best to speak gently (though it’s admittedly not my forte), but I think the nature of this conversation is just painful to some people, and I think any time there’s pain there’s an opportunity to self examine and ask “am I overly attached to this?” or “is there something true here that is hard for me to hear, because it’s touching a real nerve?”

      • Nicky Rothmann May 12, 2015 at 1:16 pm

        Like I said there is truth in what you say, but it lacks gentleness. If you feel that your spirit was at peace and in the Light of Christ whilst writing this, then I do apologise.
        World without end.

        • Nicky May 12, 2015 at 6:19 pm

          She is writing about and confronting a serious, cultural malady. And all she has presented here is most definitely informed by scripture and the Light of Christ. Jesus whipped the tax collectors out of the temple- sometimes strong words informed by TRUTH are necessary.

  • Jac May 12, 2015 at 11:14 am

    I have family memebers of the Dog-mommery sort, and I sometimes wonder if that “dog mom” phenomena is reall good for the dog? I mean, they’re a different species with different needs. Focing them into the role of little faux-humans might be a disservice to them too. Let them be what they’re created to be, and everybod’s happy.

  • Nicky Rothmann May 12, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Dear Dog Lady,
    You make good sense…

    “oh and to the person whose dog and child is standing next to a street with a semi barreling down At them, your pet should be on a leash and your child should either be holding your hand or in your arms either way its animal and child abuse. I just had to point out the absurdity in that.”

    Much Love, Fellow Dog Mama of 4 and 2 Kids!

  • MemMom May 12, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Dude. Take a chill pill, Dog Lady.

    If everyone always rebutted everything with “You don’t know what I’ve been through” all conversation would be permanently shut down. It doesn’t mean anything when you say that.

    Calm down. Buy your dog a sweater or something.

  • Jac May 12, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Gosh, I did not detect people hating animals or judging people for owning/caring for them in this article. Just the distinction that motherhood, whether physical or spiritual, is not the same as caring for pets. It’s obvious you care very much for yours, but just to be a peacemaker here: everbody makes judgements about the rightness/wrongness of how others think and feel. You yourself made jugements about others’ opinions and feelings in your comment. Deliberating about things and making judgements is part of how we come to truth, and searching for the truth IS a Christian thing to do, even if that means we sometimes disagree with people. Jesus did that all the time. We just can’t be deliberately harsh or cruel about it. Peace be with you.

  • Lizzy May 12, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Great post and I think a necessary one for our day and age. I didn’t think it was harsh and I’m also a big animal lover. Agreed, there is a big difference between loving an animal and growing through life with a baby turned child turned teenager turned adult, etc. Thanks for posting, Jenny! This was a fun one.

  • Neil May 12, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Somebody quoted Jim Gaffigan, so I want to quote a different comedian, Louis CK: “Raising kids is easier than dogs. Because children develop and dogs just stay dumb.”

  • Diane May 12, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Calling to make a vet appt for my cat, the receptionist asked “And what’s the baby’s name?” It took me a second to realize she meant the cat, since I had just had my third baby the month before. “Umm, my CAT’S name is Francesca…”

  • Kit May 12, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    The dog had a mother. You took it away from its mother. If it was a human, you’d be a kidnapper. 😉

  • Jack May 12, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    As compared to all of us who could never afford to shop at Whole Foods, consider a vegan brunch, or sip a quick, well deserved cappuccino, your views are a cartoon. Open your eyes, Mother, and smell the coffee. Not all LOVE is the white-bread bourgeois variety. People hurt. For some – the rabble- companionship often means the unconditional love of a pet.

    • Jenny Uebbing May 12, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      I was pretty explicit in saying that pets can and do offer real, lasting companionship. But they’re not your children.

      (oh, and cappuccinos are like $2.00. So, less than a Big Mac. Just had to throw that out there as a PSA.)

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