Post # 1
So I have this friend, let’s call her Sarah, who has a dog that I’ll refer to as Lily. Sarah is great and Lily is a sweete-pie, very friendly, sociable and well trained. Sarah has always been a really attentive dog owner, but lately she’s been a little weird.
We met for coffee and she asked me about how my kids were doing, I told her briefly about what they had been up to since she last saw them and then moved on. After I started to talk about something else , she paused awkwardly and the following conversation happened:
S: So, aren’t you going to ask me about MY kid?
M: But…you don’t have kids.
S: I meant Lily, silly. And I consider her to be a child to me. We have that connection.
M: Oh…right….How is Lily?
Sarah talked about Lily for ten minutes after that and showed me all of these pictures she had taken of her baby at the beach, the park, in the garden etc. They weren’t even cute photos, the dog was just standing there!
I don’t mind when people jokingly refer to their pets as their ‘baby’ or ‘furbaby’ but Sarah seriously seems to think that her dog is her child and the bond she and Lily share is the same as the one my kids and I have. I really feel like this is all crazy and I’m not sure if I should keep hanging out with her. Apart from this one thing she is nice and normal. I wish I could move past it but it drives me insane when she starts talking about her dog-child like she knows what parenthood is.
Do any bees know people like this? How do you deal with them?
Post # 3
My manager considers her dogs her family but wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re her kids, and she has no family at all. I would find that pretty creepy.
Post # 4
@akirasan: I think it’s quite normal to consider your pet to be part of the family (provided you remember that they are a pet) but it is really creeping me out that Sarah thinks Lily is like her daughter. She had a hard break-up a few months ago and I’m wondering if this is a bit of temporary creepiness because she is having a hard time.
Post # 5
@Carlasgettingmarried: I have a great aunt who is obsessed with her dog. He only eats people food, she brings him leftovers after holidays (this is always a fun comment “I’d bring Sport some turkey but he doesn’t like it so dry.” Thanks auntie.) she has pictures of her dog in frames and no pictures of her two granddaughters?!?! Or kids?!!! It’s so weird. This is how my family deals with it: every time auntie talks about Sport we all take a drink and if she “speaks” for him in her doggy voice we have to finish our drink. Hahahaha
Post # 6
Nah, wouldn’t phase me much. To each their own. As long as people aren’t having sex with their animals or something like that, I don’t care if they consider it their child.
Post # 7
I personally enjoy and love my pets, but I don’t see them as human, I don’t think I’m their parent, and I don’t think that pet ownership is like parenthood. Most of that is personal perception though, other people can define their relationships with their pets as they wish. I wouldn’t assume you think your dog is your daughter/son unless you say something, though.
Post # 8
I have three furry children… two girls and a boy. Whilst I wouldn’t do what your friend did (or at least… I wouldn’t do it unironically), I do call the cats “my children”. I really love those cats. They’re real companions.
Post # 9
One of my family members lost their SO and when that happened she became incredibly attached to the dog. The dog became her whole life. While a lot of people found it sad or weird, the dog was really the only thing that was giving her comfort in her life. So because of that she didn’t really know what else to talk about in front of people. She didn’t realize that it came off as creepy or excessive because to her that was her entire life.
You mentioned she had a bad breakup, she might just be feeling lonely and Lily is the only thing making her feel better.
Post # 10
@Carlasgettingmarried: Honestly, I think of my two dogs like children and I share stories/pictures of them. So I don’t find it that odd.
Is Sarah married? Do you know if she is maybe TTC or hoping to in the future? I only ask because I have a family friend who cannot have children and has consequently developed a very strong bond with her pets (more so than usual). I don’t think it’s so weird that I wouldn’t talk to her though.
I think it’s find to be friends with her if you have other things in common. People develop different kinds of relationships and bonds in life. The reality is, she probably has a stronger bond with her dog than some people have with their children. It’s sad, but true. I work at school, I see parents all the time that have almost no real bond with their child.
Post # 11
My dog is my baby!! But I wouldn’t say “are you going to ask me about my child?”…she’s my baby but she’s not my child. My SO & I don’t want kids so our babies will always be furry and with 4 legs. I don’t expect someone at this moment to ask me about them after me asking them about their children.
I CAN see in the future though, getting annoyed with moms who dominate the conversation and talk about their kids like there is absolutely nothing else in the world to talk about. My breaking point might be something similar to what your friend said, though put more like “are you gonna ask about things in MY life, like my dog maybe?”…Maybe she thinks you are talking about your life or your kids too much and she feels neglected. I anticipate having a hard time having and keeping friends in the future because I’ve already seen mommy life completely take over my cousins and it’s really annoying. You said you only briefly updated her about your kids so I’m assuming you don’t usually go on and on about them but maybe she thinks you do? Just a possibility that came to my mind.
It’s a bit strange how she worded it though. I’ll show people pics of my baby but usually like, 2…
Post # 12
There are multiple studies that show that those with animals and no children have a very similar emotional attachment to that of a mother and child. That having been said to be offended that you didn’t ask after her dog seems strange, and that’s coming from a lady with 4 dogs who are the center of her world. They are like my children and yet I understand that they are not children. You know what I mean?
Post # 14
@Carlasgettingmarried: I know people like this. It drives me crazy. The term furbaby even annoys me. Pets are not children. I understand that people love their pets unconditionally, I understand that they are family but animals do not = children
Post # 15
TBH my DH and I call our two cats our babies. DH will say “Go see Mommy!” or I will say “Where did Daddy go?” To our cats all the time. My Mom even calls them her grandkitties…
I wouldn’t go so far as to act like they were SERIOUSLY our children. But I am jobless right now so when I joke with people about what I do (close people) I say that I am a stay at home cat mom. Not that I think it is ANYTHING like being a stay at home mom mind you.
I wouldn’t stop being friends with someone just because of this. Like you said, she went through a tough breakup and maybe just wants to feel like she has SOMEONE that close to her as well. Just be there for her.
Post # 16
Ok, so she may have worded it funny and shouldn’t have said it like that but it seems to me like maybe you don’t understand the connection – do you have any pets? I recently got a dog in Dec and she’s much like a child – she has her own personality, her own preferences and she isn’t a human and doesn’t speak, but she has to be taken care of and comes with us wherever we go. I wouldn’t ask about someone’s child and expect them to ask about my dog, but some of my friends and my parents ask me about my dog all the time, by name, and I send them pictures bc they ask for them.
What I think is weirder than her asking you why you haven’t asked about her child is the fact that you want to stop talking to a friend bc they have a strong connection with their pet. Weird.