A blog by Jacqueline Tabora

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A year ago, I volunteered to bring two puppies being sold (although now I advocate for #AdoptDontShop of pet animals) by a former college friend of mine to an office colleague who is interested in buying them (I became a "puppy courier" as we joked about it). The pressure of taking them from one place to another proved to be a not-so-easy task. I do not have my own car, thus I have to take a public commute to bring the two puppies home  (two separate commutes as I fetched them a week apart) and bring them to my colleague the following day.  Add to that, these two little pups were just a few months old, and just like humans, they get tired in too much motion and travel despite minimal movement or physical activities. They stayed with me for a night each, before they met their then soon-to-be mom.

These may get some brows arch, but I'd like to say that I felt like I became a fur/pet MOM, even for only two nights. I cuddled them, fed them, cleaned their poops and wee-wees, spent playtime with them and reprimanded them when they behaved badly. Too much for just a night, eh?

However, I just realized that some people have issues with the terms "pet parent" or pet mom/dad. Yes, they do exist. These people argue that one does not become a parent to an animal, because it is an animal, and must be treated like one. But how do we treat animal really? How different is it compared to our treatment of humans or human babies?

I am not sure what kinds of people read my blog or whether they would share the same sentiment as mine about caring for or parenting, but to me, parenting --whether to a human child or a pet animal-- comes with responsibilities and commitment. I think dedicated pet parents do as much for their pets just as they do with their human children (if they have one). After all, both are dependent on people for the provision of basic needs such as food and shelter, and clothing, and intangible needs such as love, care, and compassion.

I don't see anything wrong when pet owners use the word "parent" to mark their relationship with their pets, labeling themselves "pet parent", "[pet] dad" or "[pet] mom".  Inasmuch as some people would believe that an animal can only be a pet and cannot be treated or considered to be equivalent to a human child, providing for pet animals, whether the material or non-material needs is, to me, one and the same as parenting a human child and should be commended, appreciated and should not be frowned upon . Investing time, money and attention to these living creatures not only show that a person can afford to provide for them but more importantly, they voluntarily do so and have the heart and compassion to dedicate themselves for these animals, even if they did not give birth to them.

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