Jun. 16th, 2015

diaryofarider: (canter2012)
So got into an argument with a friend on facebook the other day. She was furious about an article written by a woman who is annoyed by people who refer to their dog as their "baby" or "fur kid". I agreed with the POV of the woman in the article, which of course did not go over well (ever wonder why there is no "dislike" button on facebook? Because people only want you to agree, or to STFU).
Anyway, I explained my point of view, her other friends explained their point of view, and I was surprised, disturbed, and very curious. I was pretty sure there were a few people who were kind of out there- there always are- but, like when George Bush Jr. got elected (especially the second time?!!) I wondered what might actually be going on in the world. I wanted to try and find some facts, or at least widen my scope and broaden my experience.
So what I found is that this trend toward treating dogs like children, is indeed much more widespread than I thought, and it seems to be pretty recent- as in the generation just after mine seems to be where the growth really takes off.
What seems pretty consistent, is this-
This seems to be most common among women without children (yes, not surprising)
These women tend to say they love their dog(s) as much as a mother loves her child (even though they do not have children- my friend felt this argument was irrelevant, I felt it was extremely relevant) and get very angry if someone says a mother does/should love her children more.
They tend to talk about how dogs are better than people (dogs love unconditionally, don't talk back, etc)
They talk about how much they hate people with children wanting them to have children, and talk about overpopulation . I think most of the mothers annoyed by the "my dog is my child/fur kid" thing, don't actually want to see these women reproduce, they just want them to stop saying their dog owner/dog relationship is just like a mother/child when they have never mothered a child.
A certain population of these people immediately gets furious and nasty about human offspring.
They always mention people who can't have children, and women who are bad mothers.
They are very irritated by "quantifying love" even though they will usually say things like "I love my dog as much as/more than".
It tends to be more dog owners, not cat owners. They may have a cat also, but they almost always have a dog.

So anyway, from my internet guesstimations, about 1 in 3 childless women ages 30 or so and younger seem to be of the pro-furkid persuasion. I found that shockingly high.
What I think bothers me is that what was once commonly accepted, "your family is more important than your pets" seems to be less common, and I think that some valuable relationships between people can be lost because it is easier to have a dog. I don't think all human relationships are good, nor do I think we should forgo relationships with our pets. Just taking a general approach of "Relationships with dogs are better than relationships with people" or straight on "Dogs are better than people" is a bad thing in my opinion- sometimes for the individual- definitely for humanity in general. We need some compassion and empathy for one another. Don't write off our entire species.

There does seem to be a little selfish guilt "dog moms" actually key in on "my dog loves me unconditionally/I have more freedom/it costs less than kids", and then counter via the "overpopulation/bad mother" arguments. But it's not really logical. Because, again, I don't want everyone to have kids, and I hope a lot of people don't have kids- but if every couple in the world only had 1 kid- we would have a declining population. Perhaps there is a perception of an expectation that they should have kids, and "dog moms" feel the need to prove they are "just as good" as a person who has actual kids, in fact, they are better. But I don't think parents are actually trying to be superior individuals, they just feel the relationship is deeper and more precious. Sort of the difference between "you are a bad kid" vs "you did a bad thing". But I'm clearly biased, so this could just be from me being in the "enemy camp".

Some things I think I get- They don't want people to think less of them for not having children. I don't. They don't want people to think they are incapable of love. I know that. They might actually be trying to relate to parents. OK- this one is harder. I just...don't like...furkid, and I would prefer "I love my dog." and let's just try to relate as animal lovers, or even just as people who love stuff (people, dogs, chocolate, books, whatever).

Anyway, it was an interesting thing to think about. I would love to see someone do a large, widespread study/survey asking women with children and dogs whether they value their children more than their dogs (I think this would come back at about 90% yes, they love their human children more) but I haven't seen an official poll anywhere. I do find it interesting to see the way people bond with animals, and am curious what the future holds- I hope it is good things- that this is actually a solution to a problem for the human race, without being too problematic for the human race itself.

Some links I came across:

http://nypost.com/2014/04/10/more-young-women-choosing-dogs-over-motherhood/

http://community.babycenter.com/post/a34151140/parents_who_love_their_pets_more_than_their_children

http://www.wired.com/2015/04/people-care-pets-humans/

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