Last year, we lost Lola, our dog of 15 years. It was truly devastating. I can still get teary-eyed thinking about the huge hole Lola's passing left in our family.
Then, about six months later, we lost Cara, our baby, late in pregnancy. The pain I felt after Lola died, even though yes, just seeing that reality in words still hurts, is NOTHING compared to the life-changing grief of losing a child. Although Lola was by my side for most of my 20s and 30s, my baby was inside of my body. She was literally a part of me.
The extreme difference between how I feel about those losses is why I cannot understand how people can claim their pets and their offspring are the same.
My experience with loss is obviously extreme. Let's take it down a notch and talk about choices. I gave up my full-time job to stay home with my other three kids. I didn't do that for my dog. I put my children before myself each and every day of my life. To be honest, sometimes I ate before I fed the dog. I'd give my kids the coat off my back. The dog had a fur coat, so I'd keep my coat.
"Being a pet parent is not in the same ballpark in terms of emotion, love, and feeling as being a parent of a child."
To be very clear, I love dogs. So much so, that a few days after Lola passed away, I went out and adopted another Beagle, because I couldn't live without having one in the house. So, I guess I kind of get why people say they feel the same kind of love for pets and kids.
Just kidding; I don't.
I'm sorry! Kids are human beings. They are irreplaceable. Being a pet parent is not in the same ballpark in terms of emotion, love, and feeling as being a parent of a child. It's not even in the same county as the ballpark. Not even in the same state, country, planet, solar system! Wait, maybe the same solar system. Nope. It's not.
Look, I have nothing but love for pet people. But pets are not kids. My dogs and children will always be very different to me, and I didn't even need to lose a pet and a baby to figure that out. I knew I loved my children far more than I could ever love a pet the moment I held each baby in my arms for the first time and gazed down at those faces I helped to create and became their mom.