When I was growing up, owning a dog was more about you than it was about the dog. We walked our dogs, but it wasn’t a priority. We fed them what we could buy at the local supermarket Treats were in the form of bones you took home as a “doggy bag” from a restaurant. There weren’t many pet shops except the ones where you went to buy a Goldfish or a Budgie. And there certainly was no such thing as Doggy Daycare or a Doggy Hotel.
When we decided to get Archie, our Rough Coat Jack Russel, we were adamant that we were not going to be those dog owners. You know the ones! Pandering to their every whim, feeding them dog food that needs its own mortgage and closely monitoring every poop to make sure they are absorbing all the right nutrients. We were not going to let him sleep in our bed or jump up onto the sofa. He was going to be a dog that fitted into our lifestyle. Well, it took all of about 10 minutes for that entire plan to change, drastically!
I can now officially call myself a “Dog Mum” (insert facepalm emoji). I am now boiling chicken bones to give Archie only the best broth with his uber-premium dog food. I have every treat you can possibly imagine. He goes to puppy school. He goes to the dog park, the pub, coffee shops, friend’s houses…basically, he goes everywhere we go. He has more toys than any toddler I have come across and yes, he sleeps in our bed and on the sofa. He has his own personal groomer who comes to the house for goodness sakes.
Recently, I woke up to him sneezing and coughing. I woke my husband up in a panic. We needed to take him to the vet that instant. My husband calmed me down and told me to wait until the vet opened at which point we could call them to find out what to do. I did not sleep another wink that night (Archie slept through by the way). It turns out, he had Kennel Cough. I was distraught. The mum-guilt set in. Was it my fault? Let’s just say I took dog parenting to a whole new level…I realised this when I sat with a tea cloth over Archie’s head with a cup of hot water and Echinacea. That’s right! I was creating a steam tent to clear his sinuses. Then came a teaspoon of honey to soothe his throat, obviously!
Another prime example of me becoming a “Helicopter Parent” is when Archie is around other dogs. If I feel they are playing too rough I do that thing with the owner where they know I am not impressed with their dog’s behaviour. It’s in a look, you see. I know that I should walk away and just ‘leave them to it’ but I am now too deep into it. My husband asked me the other day if I think I will be like this with our child one day. It is hard to say, but I have come to realise that everything I thought I would never do, I am doing! A typical pre-parent move, right?!
It might sound crazy to some, even to myself at times, but I would much rather be this kind of dog mum than the dog owners I came to know growing up. I think any Dog Mum will tell you that there is no dog more loved than her own dog. And there is nothing like seeing the joy in Archie’s face every day, knowing that he could not have found a more loving home. I am officially one of those Dog Mums! And I am ok with it.
by guest author, Juliet McGuire, Proud Dog Mum!