There are two kinds of people in the world: people with pets and normal people. Because those of us with pet, well, we’re a little fucking nuts — at least when it comes to our little fur babies. Case in point: We call them fur babies. Puh-lease. Even I, the proud and slightly neurotic mom to two canine fur babies, can’t say the word “fur babies” without throwing up in my mouth a little or pulling a muscle from rolling my eyes so hard.
As if calling them fur babies alone weren’t annoying enough, we dress them in ridiculous outfits and costumes. We put boots on them in the winter, raincoats in the spring, and sun hats in the summer. We dress them up in reindeer antlers for Christmas and as pumpkins for Halloween. We buy them tutus, wigs, and color-streaked hair extensions.
We spend a shit ton of money on them, cashing in our kids’ college funds to pay for emergency surgeries and medical treatments. When our 5-year old dog — our little Maeby girl (named after Maeby on Arrested Development) — was diagnosed with cancer, I basically sold a kidney to pay for her surgery and then spent hours driving her to chemo appointments for the next several months. Ridiculous? Maybe (pun intended) to non-dog owners, but not to us. And seven years later, she’s just as feisty as ever having beat the 10%-survival prognosis, and it doesn’t seem ridiculous at all.
We take our dogs to physical therapy, buy them comfort collars for their anxiety, and put special pillows down on the tile floor so their little bums don’t get cold. We have cutesy nicknames for them, and talk to them like they’re toddlers. We ignore the barking and the sniffing and the intolerable smell of their dog breath. We wear them in baby carriers, for fuck’s sake.
And the messes! Sweet muppety Christ, the messes. We clean up piss, shit, and vomit. I mean the fact that we follow our dogs around picking up their poop with our hands in a plastic bag is disgusting enough; don’t even get me started on what I clean up inside my house. We forgive them for eating holes in our couches and walls (yes, my dogs chewed our wall right down to the studs), and for gnawing on our favorite stiletto heels (oh, who are we kidding, we don’t wear them anymore anyway).
Look, we pet owners know we’re crazy. We know pets aren’t people, but we love them like they are. We know that caring for a pet is nothing compared to caring for a child (but kind of it is). We know the things we do for our furry friends might verge on the insane, but we don’t care. We do ridiculous and embarrassing things for these fuzzy companions of ours, because we love them. It’s as simple as that. (The fact that they’re so stinking cute doesn’t hurt either.)
These fur babies of ours are members of the family, and the purest example of unconditional love that ever existed. They don’t care if we’ve had a crap day and are bitchy AF. They don’t care if we’re wearing nasty sweatpants and haven’t washed our hair in five days. They don’t care where they live or what they have or don’t have; the only thing they care about is whether we are around to love and care for them. They love us just as we are. And so we, gladly, return the favor. Because the messes, money, and hassles don’t seem quite so ridiculous when love is involved.