PDA

View Full Version : Substituting for a Child?



Sevens
11-06-2003, 08:22 AM
Ok, I'm sure that this has probably come up before, but....has anybody every accused you of using a dog as a substitute for a child?

I was talking to my best friend last night, telling her some dog park antics from the night before. All of a sudden, I said, "Yeah, I guess you are probably sick of hearing me talk about them so much." She said "No, I just think you are substituting having the dogs for having a child." I was pretty surprised and I told her "Hey, I am happy with my dogs. I don't wanna have kids for another couple of years until Brian and I are settled in a house and have had a few more years to ourselves (I'm only 26 after all)."

She said "Well, for the way you treat them and the way you talk about them, it's clear you want to have a baby." And I was like "Well, no, I am enjoying the love and attention I give them and they give me, but I know they are dogs." And then she starts rattling on about how much I spend on them, etc., etc.

I just get so sick of people saying this. So what if I want to have dogs? Why does everybody feel the need to psycho-analyze my wanting to have dogs? They can't just believe what I really want is a dog, not a kid? And then if I say that I would like a third a few years down the line, probably another pit mix puppy, they are all like, "OH Yeah, your biological clock is SOOOO going off. You just need to have a baby."

anna_66
11-06-2003, 08:31 AM
Well, I for one have to say that I do substitute my dogs for children. I'm not able to have children & would love nothing more than to have one. But, since that's not possible....the 3 furkids I have now will get all the love & attention I would give a baby:D
I don't think they mind;)

micki76
11-06-2003, 08:40 AM
I used to get this too. It used to just tick me off. My clock wasnít ticking. In fact I donít even like children, nor have I ever had any desire to have any. (People who have/like/want children - please do not be offended, itís my choice to like them or not.)

Now that Iíve had a hysterectomy and ďcanít have childrenĒ, people donít say things like that anymore. :D

Of course, now I get the looks of pity. :rolleyes:

Pam
11-06-2003, 08:44 AM
When I first got married we were not immediately financially ready for children. We bought our first house 4 years after we were married and within a month of being homeowners we were poodle parents. A year after that we got our second poodle. I am sure they were a substitute in a way for children because I was able to lavish 100% of my love and time on them. However, that said, I did have children of my own a couple of years later, but I still treat my dogs like children because in a way they are like them. They are totally dependent on us, just like kids. I think your friend probably should have kept her thoughts to herself though. People often open their mouths without thinking. :rolleyes:

Dawn
11-06-2003, 08:47 AM
Yes-I hear similar remarks, but my dogs are my kids-basically. I am 35 and am single (by choice) I have been married - but I am not able to have children, at least not naturally, and so I see it as there being a reason for that. I think I was not meant to have children, that I was meant to make a difference with animals instead-and so that's what I do.
I prefer dogs to children and even people for that matter. Let's face it, when I come home from a rough day-they greet me and are always happy to see me. They never cheat or lie, and as long as I love them-they will love me and never turn on me. And when they grow up-they won't leave home. They are never ashamed of me or embarassed to be seen with me, and when I'm upset or down-they are always there to chear me up!
They don't steal from me, and I have never come home to find Tyr in my bed with another woman! (ha-ha)
So when people judge me for preferring my dogs to having kids or to an intimate relationship - I laugh and tell them - they should try it-they might be a happier person.

Smilla
11-06-2003, 08:49 AM
I haven't heard anything like that--yet--though I imagine I might at some point, especially now that I'm in my 30s. Like Micki, my clock just isn't ticking either. My husband and I have listened really hard, but we just don't hear parenthood calling out to us.

You want to hear something really ignorant and offensive? A journalist named Caroline Knapp wrote a wonderful book called "Drinking, A Love Story," about her addiction to alcohol and her accomplishment of obtaining sobriety. A few years later, she wrote a book called "Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs" which was about her relationship with her dog Lucille. It was supposed to be very good (I haven't read it), but some people actually accused her of being "addicted" to her dog, and of somehow substituting that relationship for the one she lost with alcohol. Unbelievable!

Logan
11-06-2003, 08:56 AM
Smilla, Pack of Two is a beautiful book. Any of you should definitely read it if you haven't. :) I totally associated with her relationship with Lucille. I was single for ten years, with one child of my own, and lots of pets! My mother always loved to joke (and she really was joking) that every time I took in another one that it was my next "baby" or "husband". She knew that I had always wanted to have more children, and of course, she wanted more grandchildren! :)

More babies weren't in the cards for me, and by the time I met Scott, I was approaching 40, and we agreed that we really didn't want to add to our huge family of skin, fur and feathered kids.

It's a personal decision, and I can completely understand the frustration of hearing all the "advice" and commentary from people who truly don't understand. I think there are a lot worse ways we could all spend our time than loving on our pets!!!! I get as much joy out of ours as I do anything in life!

Logan

lovemyshiba
11-06-2003, 09:42 AM
I know how you feel, but it's my grandmother who won't let up on us.
In August, I was home for my cousin's bridal shower. My other cousin, her sister, had just had a baby. When I finally got a chance to hold him, my grandmother looked at me and said "that looks natural." I found mommy, gave the baby back, and picked up my cousin's puppy--THAT was natural!!!!

My husband and I aren't ready yet. We've discussed it, and we don't want children right now. End of story. I wish people could understand that.

Right now my dogs are all we need, and we're content with that.

Kfamr
11-06-2003, 10:19 AM
When I get older and the time comes -- I'd really love too have a child.

But really, A dog is like a child. You have to feed it, bathe it, play with it, take it to the doctor, socialize it, teach it, potty train it -- and so on!

Dogs are so much like children, some people don't even realize.

IMO -- They are much Cuter!:D

Some people say I'm *sssoooo* obsessed with my dogs that I should marry them. :rolleyes:

GoldenRetrLuver
11-06-2003, 11:40 AM
I'm not going to have children when I'm older...I already know for sure. I'll stick with dogs. :)

Smilla
11-06-2003, 11:42 AM
Logan, I just requested "Pack of Two" via interlibrary loan. I love working in a library! :)

Smilla
11-06-2003, 11:48 AM
I'd never say "never," but interestingly, I never felt that "pang" of desire when I'd see a mother with her child--however, I would occasionally get it when I'd see someone with their dog. I mean, geez, I hung out on Pet Talk when I didn't even own a dog; what does that say about me? :)

The decision whether to have a child is so personal, and so impactive, that I'm always surprised that people feel so free to hand out advice, etc. on the topic of whether to have one or not.

mugsy
11-06-2003, 11:51 AM
No one has ever said that to me because I always say, "Yes" when asked if I have kids and I quickly follow with, "the 4 legged kind" and that pretty much shuts them up. I have enough kids at school everyday. I do NOT want any 2 leggers, never have and never will. My mom thinks I weird and always tells me not to say what I say because people will think I'm nuts, but, guess what...DON'T CARE! lol

Kater
11-06-2003, 12:11 PM
Originally posted by Smilla
You want to hear something really ignorant and offensive? A journalist named Caroline Knapp wrote a wonderful book called "Drinking, A Love Story," about her addiction to alcohol and her accomplishment of obtaining sobriety. A few years later, she wrote a book called "Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs" which was about her relationship with her dog Lucille. It was supposed to be very good (I haven't read it), but some people actually accused her of being "addicted" to her dog, and of somehow substituting that relationship for the one she lost with alcohol. Unbelievable!

I've read Pack of Two. It is beautifully written and very touching. I guess there were times in the story where I worried about her social skills but to claim that she was addicted to her dog (or that being addicted to her dog is a bad thing :D) strikes me as way off mark.
I would recommend this book to PTers! It's really moving!

Corinna
11-06-2003, 12:30 PM
I too have read a pack of two. It is very good . Also very enlightening, I learned a lot about myself and my family. I readily admit merlin was gotten to help my hubby deal with getting back in the world after surgery and me to deal with empty nest which is soon to be totally. Not just ny daughter but son soon.

amoore
11-06-2003, 12:57 PM
When we moved away from all my family and friends . I was very lonely . That was like 12yrs ago . I had loved and owned cats ,birds ,and dogs before, i was just so lonely that i decided that i wanted to get a dog and a cat again. They really did help ease the loneliness i was feeling . I already moved here with cockateils and they meant a lot to me . I do love my pets like babies . They mean a lot to me . I can't say i got mine because i needed a baby . I just needed to have friends and family . Now i have babies ! :D

robinh
11-06-2003, 12:58 PM
My boyfriend and I have been together 21 years. When I met him he had three dogs. He called them his kids. Said he never wanted skin kids, so he never had any.

He helped raise my skin son. As we were doing that we raised and lost a couple of furkids. Now that my skin kid is married and on his own we are raising more furkids. Maybe they are not a substitute for skin kids, but a chance for both of us to pour out the love and affection we have to share. When and if my son and his wife have children, I don't expect they will suffer any less for our having furkids.

I'll agree with Dawn on this
Let's face it, when I come home from a rough day-they greet me and are always happy to see me. They never cheat or lie, and as long as I love them-they will love me and never turn on me. And when they grow up-they won't leave home. They are never ashamed of me or embarassed to be seen with me, and when I'm upset or down-they are always there to chear me up!
So if people tell you that you should or shouldn't have children, I'd ignore them. They may mean well, but they don't have all the facts. Lord knows there are enough people having children that don't have a clue what's happening. And you know if people had to spend a little time raising a puppy, they'd think twice about having a child. It's good training, but it's a lot of work.

tomkatzid
11-06-2003, 01:07 PM
OK, just got on hold for 'Pack of Two' at the library. Love it when I can get another good book.

Co-workers have often said to me 'you are so good with your pets you would have made a great Mom'. I usually just say 'Thanks, my dogs love their Mommy.'
Katz

popcornbird
11-06-2003, 01:18 PM
I don't have a dog, but people tell me the same thing about my birds...........except they tell me I'm substituting them for baby brothers/sisters, cause really, I'm still young and not married and it would make no sense for them to tell me to have a child already! But I know I will get that, when I get older.........because my love for animals is not going to fade, and I'm not going to have pets just because I *want* a child and to substitute for it. I will hopefully, probably have both children and pets when I'm older. I honestly like animals more than kids most of the time, but then when I think about it, I think I would want to have a little human girl, and maybe a boy too, sometime in my life, when I'm older.

Now I have this girl........my friend, tell me WHENEVER she comes to my house.....*Oh, you love your birds SO much! As if they're your babies*

Me.......*:D They are my babies!*

Her.......*Well, you see them as your babies now, but when you're older and have kids of your own, I'm sure you'll love them even more!*

Me........*I'm still young and don't want to think of kids right now........BUT, I will definitely love my kids if/when I have them. That doesn't mean my love for pets will fade. It only means that I'll have love for something else as well.*

Her.........*Of course you'll still love your birds! I'm just saying kids are special!*

Me........*I know..........but pets are just as special to me as anyone's kids are to them.*

:rolleyes:

Seriously, that girl's my friend and I do like her, but it gets on my nerves when she says this! I'm not substituting my pets for a human child, be it my babies or my siblings or whatever. I love them for who they are and nothing can substitute them in my lives.....I can say that.......but THEY aren't sustituting for anything in my life!

amoore
11-06-2003, 02:08 PM
Popcorn :I think you are such an admirable young girl ,your so mature in your thinking ! I would be very proud of you if you were my daughter ,your parents are so luckey !
I love my Bird Babies too. How else can we say it ? :)

stacwase
11-06-2003, 06:53 PM
I won't hesitate to admit that I use my animals as a substitute for more children. Since bob's girls are slowly leaving the nest the house is so quiet and we've been trying to have a baby and can't. So - the animals satisfy that need! In fact they satisfy it so well that I don't want to have any more babies anymore. I want to actually go on the pill! I wouldn't mind having a foster child or two though, in addition to the animals. I think Jake would be really good for a foster child. He'd sleep with them, etc. He'd be a good comfort.

carole
11-06-2003, 07:52 PM
Gosh what if you do subsitute your pets for children, what on earth is wrong with that, as kay-ann pointed out, you almost do the same things for them as a child anyhow.

I never ever judge people who choose not to have children, for me I could not imagine my life without them, ok maybe for a minute, when they are annoying me, but seriously, my life would be just plain empty, but thats me , and its not for everyone.

To be frank even though I have children, my cats are still my babies, and I am sure even when my children have left home,and maybe I have grandchildren, my cats will still be my babies and treated as such., probably even more so than now.

Sometimes I think comments like that made, are through plain jealousy, they probably want something you have, maybe they are not capable of showing such devotion and love to a pet.

People just naturally assume if you are married you want children, today a lot of people are choosing not too, can you really blame them , with this unsafe, insecure world we live in.

I have two girlfriends who never had children, and honestly knowing them as I do, I think is was meant to be that way.

KYS
11-06-2003, 08:10 PM
My whole family knows my dogs are my children.
Believe me they have learned to accept it.
I even get a mother's day card from my dogs,
that my AUnt give me. lol

wolf_Q
11-06-2003, 10:48 PM
Yeah, I've heard that. I've also people, including family and a close friend, telling me that I "talk about my dogs too much." It upset me...but I'm not changing. I can't say "I'm sorry" for loving my dog too much. It's just me, and that's that. If you don't like it, then I guess you don't like me. I will never stop "being obsessed" with my dog.

Kfamr
11-06-2003, 11:17 PM
Oh, I've got that too Amy. :rolleyes:

Some people just don't get it! :p

CathyBogart
11-07-2003, 12:03 AM
Hmm...I've never been outright accused of substituting pets for children...because anyone who knows me and my feelings about children knows that I love my pets VASTLY more!! ^.^

I don't see my love for my pets as "maternal instinct" because I think I lack that entirely. *chuckles* My co-workers think I'm completely bonkers because I swooned when a scorpion gave birth but I think skin babies are creepy looking.

shais_mom
11-07-2003, 12:36 AM
I have to agree with what everyone else has said, do not have much more to add!
I get it all the time "you take more pics of the dog/cat'' "if you ever have a kid you won't be able to afford the processing of the film'' :rolleyes:
I am 28 years old, very single, and have no desire to have kids at this time. Do I get a pang of jealousy or sadness when I see people my age/younger with engagement rings/wedding rings on their fingers, spouse in hand, children in tow? Sometimes yes.
Do I get happiness and fulfillment and unconditional love from my pets. Definately Yes!! Never just sometimes.
I had a patient at work the other nite that was a SCREAMING one year old. The mother ( who was a nasty witch btw) kept asking me if I saw anything on the kids xrays. I kept telling her 'I am legally not allowed to tell you anything, that is what the Dr. does. If I tell you something that is wrong, I could lose my job, and my license (xray)" Finally after the THIRD time I told her that she says nastily "FINE" then "DO YOU HAVE CHILDREN?" I said "No" she said "WELL THEN"....... I was soooooo upset. It makes no difference or not whether I have children. My job depends on me NOT telling the patient anything. I am not a doctor.
The only good thing is that legally I didn't do anything wrong. Morally either b/c the law would stand behind me b/c I did exactly what I was supposed to. Like the excuse, "Well I don't have children" would have stood up in court when the witch of the mother decided to sue me b/c I told her the wrong thing!!! But if she might have been paying attention her kid wouldn't have pulled a dresser down on himself. Tho accidents happen. gggrrr :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
My sister had her first child, got a puppy then had her second. She refers to herself and my brother in law as mommy and daddy to Scooby. And her sons as Scooby's 'boys'. She is extremely protective of Scooby and Keegan when the boys are around.
A couple weeks ago I went to the Nat'l weiner dog races and there was a woman there with her family Holding her 14 year old weiner dog like a baby and she kept passing her around to her kids. They all took turns holding her and kissing her on the head and loving on her. They were all teenagers. I thought that was so cool b/c it takes a special person ( just like us pet talkers) to raise your children to be that devoted to a little 14 year old weiner dog that was so content when those kids were holding her she simply fell asleep.
:)

Kater
11-07-2003, 01:15 AM
Originally posted by shais_mom
A couple weeks ago I went to the Nat'l weiner dog races and there was a woman there with her family Holding her 14 year old weiner dog like a baby and she kept passing her around to her kids. They all took turns holding her and kissing her on the head and loving on her. They were all teenagers. I thought that was so cool b/c it takes a special person ( just like us pet talkers) to raise your children to be that devoted to a little 14 year old weiner dog that was so content when those kids were holding her she simply fell asleep.
:)
Awwwww, how cuuute! Great mental picture too! :D :D :D

amoore
11-07-2003, 08:07 AM
Our sweet pets fill the loving parts of our nature . It might be a need for a child , or a friend .
No mater if you have a bad hair day ,or don't get dressup pretty ,they still love us . Maybe we need an unconditional love . they serve our needs to love and be loved .
:)

Smilla
11-07-2003, 08:09 AM
Oh, tell me about it. Lefty doesn't care HOW bad I look when he wants to go for a walk ALL around the neighborhood! ;)

Rio and Me
11-07-2003, 09:12 AM
Im hardly old enough (19) to have children anyhow but i have no wish for a skin kid at all, now or ever, but things may change who knows??? (i doubt it though,lol)
but i will allways allways have a furkid or 2,3,4 and they would/are a substitue for a skin kid!!!
Ky and furkid Rio

Kendra
11-07-2003, 12:05 PM
Great responses to a wonderful thread!

Even though I've never wanted/had children, I am thankful that I hardly ever get questioned for my decision. Also, I'm glad that no one has ever accused me of substituting my dog for a child because I don't think that loving an animal is the same type of love that loving your own human kids is. Just like loving a friend is different than loving a parent or a spouse. Please don't get me wrong, I love my dog more than I can say. As a matter of fact, I am crazy for him and I love him more and more as time goes on. Basically, I am head-over-paws :D over my furbaby!

mahayana
11-08-2003, 08:26 AM
Great thread!

The need to nurture, to love and be loved, is universal. Whether you have pets, a garden, kids- or some combination- you will be changed by caring. And you'll want to share your joys and concerns, naturally!

Too bad some folks will try to dampen your spirits by criticizing and trying to pigeon-hole you. It might not have been so upsetting, had your friend just asked "are you planning to have children too, someday?"

What I think non-pet owners miss is understanding the relationships that form between humans and animals. Dogs are different from us, but also so like us (if you think about it). They may not communicate with words, but like a small child you learn to recognize their emotions and needs.

And like babies, each pet has a distinct personality...

Tonya
11-08-2003, 08:50 AM
That is so rude! I hear that stuff too sometimes. I have a child, but I tend to talk about my pets more then him. :eek: People make fun of me because I am so into animals.

Cincy'sMom
11-08-2003, 11:16 AM
Since Ralph and I have been married almost 3 years now, we often get asked if we have kids or when we are going to. Yes, we have 3, all with paws and tails :) Do we want skin-kids? Most likely, just not quite yet. For now, our dogs are our babies (and even if we have kids, they still will be :) )

My favorite answer to the kid thing, is well, we are still busy having fun and you can't leave babies home alone...even if you put them in a kennel and give them lots of toys to play with :)

lovemyshiba
11-08-2003, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by Cincy'sMom

My favorite answer to the kid thing, is well, we are still busy having fun and you can't leave babies home alone...even if you put them in a kennel and give them lots of toys to play with :)

We say the same thing!!:)

CamCamPup33
11-08-2003, 12:50 PM
YES! Cami is like my moms 6th child! :p She calls cami Sweetheart and she calls me Amber.. She says cami is the best girl ever, hello Daughter! She will cook food for cami, and we have to find something to eat in the Cabniet.. Cami goes everywhere with my mom, me, i usually have to stay home and watch my brother.. She will make me take cami out and hold the unbrella over *cami* and make me get soaked.. Cami gets more hugs than i ever have before, should i keep going?

:p

K9karen
11-09-2003, 12:12 AM
I totally agree! I'm 52, broke off an engagement years ago, have no regrets..after I got Cody, I thought I'd rather spend my life with HIM rather than the ex! When you come down to it, really, our pets are "kids" . It's our responsibility to take them outside regardless of weather or how we feel at that moment, to feed them nuroshing food on time, take them to the doctor when necessary, only they can't verbally tell us what they want. Human babies grow up, get potty trained, feed themselves..our pets will always rely on US. They are babies that will never "grow up" like human kids. I love kids but never wanted rhem. I'm a toddler/dog magnet (I should have been a politician.. :rolleyes: ) I have a wonderful boyfriend who loves (d) Cody and Klo. I feel fullfilled in my life. Some people shouldn't have kids and some shouldn't be animal owners anyway. On a sad note, Caroline Knapp died this year (I think April) of lung cancer. Lucille was laying next to her on her bed when she passed. Her boyfriend has custody of Lucille. It was one of the best books I've ever read. From the 1st page, I thought she was reading my mind and expressing my feelings. The book is a must!!

Shelteez2
11-09-2003, 01:05 AM
Hmmm my dogs are not a substitute for children as I don't want children but I do want dogs....LOL
I'm young and maybe my thoughts on wanting a child will change, but I doubt it.
My thoughts on owning dogs will never change though, that I know.

Also someone brought up the issue on different types of love. I agree that there are different types and well I don't really believe in love, for myself. I don't think it's possible to love a person the way I love my dogs.

pitc9
11-09-2003, 07:51 AM
Cincy'sMom.... I say the same thing!!!

I am 28, I met my hubby in 93, and we got married in 2001. I think because we had already been together for 8 years, people expected us to have kids right away. So when people ask about kids, I whip out a pic of the pups!!!:D

I used to want kids real bad, but now I think I wouldn't mind waiting another few years!!!

mugsy
11-09-2003, 08:02 AM
Originally posted by Cincy'sMom
My favorite answer to the kid thing, is well, we are still busy having fun and you can't leave babies home alone...even if you put them in a kennel and give them lots of toys to play with :)

AND no one will call Child Protective Services....

Twisterdog
11-09-2003, 01:16 PM
But really, A dog is like a child. You have to feed it, bathe it, play with it, take it to the doctor, socialize it, teach it, potty train it -- and so on!


Yes, you have to do all those things ... but raising a child is 1,000,000 times more complex, difficult, important and emotionally draining/rewarding than owning a dog. I'm quite sure anyone with children will agree with me, and anyone who only has dogs and no kids will not necesarily understand.


I have one child, and ten dogs. I love, love, love my dogs. But they are dogs. They are not my children. They are my dogs. If I would have never had a child, I would still have lots of dogs and I would still love them dearly. But they would still not be my "children". They would still be dogs.

petlover
11-09-2003, 01:33 PM
Yes, many people have taken my dogs as a substitute for children. I on the other hand, do not take them as my children. I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters. All 6 of my dogs are female dogs. So, when someone asks me how many brothers and sisters I got, I just say 5 brothers and 9 sisters!:p :D :D :D