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Do You Call Yourself “Pet Parent?”

Do You Call Yourself “Pet Parent?”

I like to avoid the label “dog owner.” It just sounds so detached. My dogs, Spot and Dolly, are not just possessions. I would describe their role in my life as “beloved family members.”

That being said, I do not see them as my “children.” Dolly serves as more of a soul sister, while the relationship I have with Spot resembles the one I have with my nephew, Jacob.

I adopted the label “pet parent,” though, when I began writing for Dogster. Commonly used by other writers and readers in this community, it worked well enough in getting my point across. Also, my love of alliteration may have factored into the choice.

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Turns out, “pet parent” bothers some as much as “dog owner” does me. Reader Sandra King left the following comment on my “5 Reasons My Best Friends Are Dog People” story: “Except for ‘pet parent’ (really don’t like that word), spot on!” I have heard similar rumblings on Facebook as well.

Are King and those who feel the same in the minority on this matter? Or the majority? According to a survey conducted by Kelton Research last year, 54 percent of those with dogs in the family opt for “pet parent” over “pet owner,” and that “58 percent of American dog owners are comfortable calling themselves nicknames such as ‘Mommy’ or ‘Daddy’ when referencing their dogs.”

One survey does not speak for us all, and neither will one story, but I would like this one to be a conversation starter on the topic. What do you call yourself, readers? Dog owner? Pet parent? Human companion? Dogster assistant editor Liz Acosta says San Franciscans prefer the label “dog guardian,” so also note where you call home.

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Please share the labels you use for your dogs, as well. Labels such as “fur babbies” and “granddogs” seem to irritate some. I simply say “my dogs” and think nothing of it, just as I would when referring to “my mom,” “my dad,” or “my nephew.”

Let’s talk, readers, in the comments below.

Photo: Picnic by Shutterstock

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Humor & Inspiration, Pets

This post was written by Pamela Mitchell, regular contributor to Dogster Magazine.

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At Dogster, we believe life is always more meaningful with a dog. Get a daily dose of news, views and cuteness over at Dogster Magazine.

119 comments

+ add your own
1:07AM PDT on Jun 15, 2013

soulkin

7:22AM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

6:10PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

I'm totally a pet-parent.

12:10PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

As to ownership- they own me, heart and soul :-)

12:08PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

They are my fur babies and they recognize me as "Mommy" and my husband as "Daddy". When I say, "Go see Daddy", they run to him- well, the dog does, the cats look around as if to say "Why? Does he have something for me?" They are definitely members of the family that are just as spoiled as our human child- maybe even more so since they never talk back, ask for money, or borrow the car- LOL.

10:21AM PST on Feb 12, 2013

My cats are definitely my kids and i'm their loving and doting mama!!!! Everyday i tell them that i love them. They are treated to holiday presents and given home made treats. They rule the roost. MEOW MEOW!!!

8:31AM PST on Feb 11, 2013

They are just my companions/friends.

1:06AM PST on Feb 8, 2013

In reality all of my dogs have owned me, not visa versa! And, I have always considered my self a pet parent --- you just can't own a family member! Thanks!

6:07AM PST on Feb 6, 2013

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT WE LOSE THE TERM "OWNERSHIP" . THIS IS WHERE THE COURTS/LAWS NEED CHANGING, AS LONG AS THEY SEE THEM AS 'PROPERTY' INSTEAD OF A FAMILY MEMBER, WE WILL NEVER GET AHEAD PROTECTING THEM. SO CALL YOURSELF ANYTHING YOU LIKE, BUT NOT "OWNER". I PERSONALLY LIKE "GUARDIAN", SOUNDS SO PROTECTIVE, IN A EMOTIONAL WAY.....PLEASE SIGN PETITIONS AGAINST 'CRUELTY', THEY TRULY NEED OUR VOICES....THANK YOU

10:49AM PST on Feb 1, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Thanks a lot for sharing this. Helpful to me.

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