me tell you about my boy. He’s 6 years old, smart as a
"Jeopardy!" champion and as cute as a baby
bunny at springtime. He’s my very own little bundle of
joy, and I burst with pride every time I look at him.
the bundle in question, also happens to be a dog, and
the fact that I call him my baby apparently irritates
get what they’re saying, sometimes in strident,
preaching tones. Dogs are dogs, cats are cats, and they
shouldn’t be treated like our children.
lovers know the difference; we’re just asking
"What’s wrong with it?"
is a dog, but does that make him less a favorite son?
had a long line of pets starting, like most people, when
I was a child. Tippy, Tippy Two, Pandora, Fritz and
there were the cats, far too many to name. As we lived
on a dairy farm, there was little chance of the cats
hanging around the house, not with field and barn mice
and fresh milk luring them away.
first cat that was mine and mine alone was Andy, a
bruising Siamese tomcat who was given to me by a friend.
Andy had been the pet of her friend, but when he kept
spraying the furniture, the woman wanted him out of
there. My friend, Sandy, had Andy fixed and that stopped
did not like me much in the beginning, or so it seemed.
He would knock things — heavy things — off a
bookcase and onto my head while I slept.
eventually reached an accord and became devoted to each
other. Andy was a great cat, and I loved him deeply.
Like a son.
Andy died, I got Sarah, another Siamese with an attitude
problem. My mother, who was living with me, decided to
get a cat, too, so we also adopted Matt, a Maine coon.
They lived with us for 15 years.
was the sweetest cat I’ve ever known, but he didn’t
like children. My then-2-year-old nephew, Brycen, found
that out pretty quickly. Ask Brycen what a cow says and
he’d say "moo." Ask him what the dog says,
and he’d answer with "ruff ruff." Ask him
what the cat says and he’d hiss.
came Bailey, a black Chihuahua and, like Matt and Sarah,
a rescue pet. He was 3 when he came to live with me and
cozied up inside my heart.
were all my children. I spoiled them with toys and
treats and, for the cats, pricey scratching posts, kitty
condos and the finest catnip money could buy.
is no stranger to my largesse, either. His toy bin
rivals Brycen’s, and I never tire of talking about him
and his antics, like the one about how I bought a set of
stairs for him to use to climb up on my bed (because he
didn’t seem to be able to on his own). I was trying to
lure him up those steps using his favorite treats when
he suddenly jumped up on the bed beside me, proving that
he could do it all along; he just needed the right
take him every year to get a picture with Santa. Like
most children, he does not relish sitting in Santa’s
lap, but he does it for his mommy. That would be me.
not apologizing for loving animals and for calling them
my children. I celebrate his birthday. I hang a
Christmas stocking for him. I fill my iPhone with
pictures of him.
am sorry if that offends people with, you know, actual
human children. Dogs may be dogs and children may be
children, but love is love.