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

119 comments

Laura T.
Laura T.3 years ago

soulkin

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Edvanir L.
Edvanir L.3 years ago

I'm totally a pet-parent.

Cheryl F.
Cheryl F.3 years ago

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

Cheryl F.
Cheryl F.3 years ago

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.

Natasha Salgado

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!!!

Sarah A.
Sarah A.3 years ago

They are just my companions/friends.

Lynn D.
Lynn D.3 years ago

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!

Rosemarie Zidner
Rosemarie Zidner3 years ago

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

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)