Why Penny Is (Almost) Like My Second Child

The post Why Penny Is (Almost) Like My Second Child by Savanna Stanfield appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

Hi, I’m Savanna! Read my introduction to learn more about me and my spunky Chihuahua mix, Penny.

What I’m about to say may ruffle some feathers, but please hear me out by reading the whole thing. When I became a mother to an actual human child, it used to bother me hearing people referring to dogs as children. I always thought, “That is in no way the same thing.”

But then, when my daughter was 7 years old, we got Penny. I’ve had Penny for 3 ½ years now. I still don’t think of Penny as another one of my children per se, but I do understand now why some people might refer to their dogs as their children.

Here’s why that sentiment originally bothered me, and how my feelings have since changed after caring for both a child and a dog at the same time.

Why Referring to Dogs as Children Bothered Me

If you’ve been following along with me thus far, you’ll know that I used to not love dogs the way that I do now. I had my first (and only) child in 2013, and as is typical with parenthood, my whole life changed. I was now responsible for another person, keeping my daughter safe and raising her to adulthood.

I had always grown up with pets in the home, including a cat and a dog, and I do think that taking care of a pet prepares you for parenthood in a sense. After all, you have to feed them, potty train them, take them for medical care, etc., just like you would a child.

But as any pet and human parent knows, taking care of a child is drastically different than taking care of a pet. So when people without children would refer to their pets as children, it would just bother me a little bit because I know it’s totally different.

I certainly wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it or call them out if I heard someone refer to their dog as their child, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me a little bit, especially since this was before I had a dog of my own.

That lump under the blanket is my daughter.
That lump under the blanket is my daughter.

How I Feel Now

After taking care of Penny for so long now and building a relationship with her, I can start to understand why some people refer to their dogs as children. I even read an interesting article that shows that younger generations (i.e., Millennials and Gen Z) are choosing to have pets over children, and dogs and cats being more affordable than children is a big factor in that decision.

Being a Millennial myself, I thought, “Maybe I was being a bit judgemental about people who refer to their pets as children.” After all, I don’t know their situation. Some people don’t want kids for whatever reason, some people can’t have children, etc. It’s none of my business. If they want to refer to their pets as their kids, they aren’t doing any harm to anyone.

But me having both a human child and a dog, I’m able to see how the two are a bit different, which is why I don’t necessarily see Penny being my child in the same way that my daughter is my child. I have to tell myself that just because I don’t see Penny as a child in the same way, it certainly doesn’t mean I don’t love her. It’s just a different kind of love than I have for my daughter. One thing I do know for sure is that I can certainly feel the love that both Penny and my daughter have for me.

You can always find them napping together.
You can always find them napping together.

Penny, My (Almost) Second Child

Now that my daughter is older and is starting to rely on me less, I’m actually glad that Penny needs someone to take care of her. It makes me feel a little sad that my daughter is growing up and becoming more independent. I’ve gotten so used to taking care of a child that I feel a little lost when I don’t have to take care of her as much.

At least having Penny to take care of gives me more “motherly” tasks to do. After all, taking care of Penny is sort of like taking care of a toddler. When she gets quiet and I haven’t seen her in a while, I immediately get suspicious because I know Penny’s probably doing something she shouldn’t do.

Whereas a toddler might draw on the walls, flush random things down the toilet, or give themselves a makeover, I’ve found Penny digging in the trash can, standing on the coffee table eating my daughter’s sandwich that she left unsupervised, or even digging around in our cats’ litter boxes. Baby gates are no longer used for my daughter, but for my dog, to keep her out of said litter boxes.

Having both a child and a dog, I’m never lacking a dull moment. It is almost like having two children in the house. My daughter has expressed that she doesn’t want a sibling anyway, which is fine with my husband and I, so it’s good that she has a dog to grow up with. The two of them are best friends, even if they aren’t “siblings”.

So now I understand the sentiment of people referring to dogs as children a little bit more, especially if they don’t have children of their own. As long as the love and care is there, who cares if it’s an actual human child or a dog?

The post Why Penny Is (Almost) Like My Second Child by Savanna Stanfield appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.