Unlike Mother’s Day, I didn’t see a lot of dudes saluted for loving hard on their pups & kitties and parenting the hell out of them this past Father’s Day.
Yeah, these monsters need parenting too.
Scoff all you want, roll your eyes if you need – but after most people hear about Kimber and her INSANE separation anxiety and how we always have to plan around it – the first thing they say is, “That’s WORSE than a kid….” and all of those people telling us that HAVE KIDS.
Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. We have nothing to compare it to. But, like kids seem to be to their parents, this creature is our world.
And Sean “Dads” with the best of them.
From far games of fetch to hiding treats around the house and teaching Kimbee how to search each room and find them, and nearly jumping into Swamp Lake after homegirl confused severely swampy water for a field and didn’t realize what she had gotten herself into until she was mid-air…he is ALWAYS there for this girl.
He encourages her to do the things she’s cautiously curious about (read: swimming) and comes to her rescue when she lets other dogs pick on her or she gets herself into bizarre situations. He naps with her on the floor (because ‘no couch’ is his rule ) and she ALWAYS gets excited to see him – whether it’s been days or minutes. Nothing lights up her world more than her dad coming into the room.
She’s also taught him how to give her treats every.single.time she goes out to potty.
He loves her fiercely, and she loves him with everything she has.
So, yeah. Dads with human babies are wildly amazing – I’m lucky enough to have many incredible men in my life – but, this guy right here…in my world, he’s a dad too. And he’s doing one helluva job loving his girl.
Who just happens to be a dog.
It takes a lot of hard work to parent these creatures into well behaved, good fur-citizens. That doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something that just miraculously happens. Unfortunately, they don’t come pre-packaged just knowing all the things.
It’s A LOT of freaking HARD WORK, and late nights, and worrying.
Yeah, for just a dog.
I literally cannot go to the bathroom without her being in there with me or right on the other side of the door. Pawing and whining. Like I’ve just entered a portal to Narnia.
We pick up her toys, constantly. She removes them, immediately.
There’s loooots of cursing when we step on that ONE toy she loves like crazy that matches the carpet perfectly. Then wonder out loud to her why she hasn’t picked up after herself.
We stand outside with her in the rain when she’d rather smell flowers and chase lizards than do what we’re out there to do, then we pick that shit up.
We are skilled at flying outta bed any time she so much as thinks to make a yakking sound under the guise of midnight.
We have scoured websites and store shelves trying to find her the best shampoo and foods for her sensitive, itchy skin.
I have chased her around the house yelling at her to “drop” whatever she’s not supposed to be eating…only to watch her eat it. Hoping it wasn’t a bug.
We smile at each other when she does something cute, and high-five in celebration when she FINALLY does that ONE THING we’ve been trying to teach her since the dawn of time.
I’ve Pinterest’d and created paw ointments and homemade treats, and then sat there on the floor just before bed struggling with all her little toes to get the damn ointment on. Which she immediately licks off.
We’ve both woken her up from bad dreams that leave her whining and shaking. And, each time, she wakes searching for our faces, “Oh, you’re here. Good.”
I’ve rushed her to the vet in a fit of worry…for, nothing. Literally nothing. I mean *I* thought it was something and GOOGLE said it was something. But, it was nothing.
I’ve looked over in the middle of the night to see if she was still breathing. I do that during the day, and…well, a lot actually. I like to make sure she’s still breathing.
We both miss her terribly when we travel. Every dog we see somehow immediately becomes Kimbee and we wonder out loud what she’s doing.
We take her to “school” like our lives depend on it. Because she needs it, and we need it. People ask when she’ll be done with training…Spoiler Alert: likely never. We love the
friends family we’ve made at Pawfection, and love that we’re able to get out and be active with Kimber, and that we’re also progressing with her in becoming a Certified Therapy Dog. There’s no doubt that we’re proudly raising a well behaved member of society who can sit at a restaurant un-phased. Who gets compliments nearly wherever she goes. Who hears sirens and doesn’t flinch. Who loves children, and people in general, and who really, really LISTENS.
When she wants. She is a teenager after all.
I know some people get pissy about people with dogs and no kids calling themselves “mom” or “dad” – like the two concepts have NOTHING mutually exclusive. I’ve seen the comments and the posts that, I’m left to assume, people think are funny. I have yet to find the joke.
I’m not saying human babies aren’t more of a responsibility, you win there. But to say the two have NOTHING in common…to make a joke of it, to make it seem as if we’re somehow NOT responsible for keeping the dog alive or, yes, PARENTING her (parenting/training – totally interchangeable for tiny humans and furry faces, in case you’re wondering) …reads a lot to me like what we’re doing with this dog means nothing. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything to you. That’s fine.
But, rest assured, there is a reality where it’s the complete opposite for us and those who “get” what parenting a pup means. Where it’s genuinely about building a relationship and TRUST. Where there are days where we feel like we’ve figured it all out, and (mostly) days where we have no idea what we’re doing.
And, SERIOUSLY, how many times do I have to step on this toy before I break my foot?!
Y’all. Even with a dog (especially our dog) …it takes a village.
No, I didn’t birth this creature. No, we haven’t even had her since she was born….and if it makes you pissy, then…I’m not even sure how you made it this far. It’s not even a debate for me. Whether we go on to have zero kids or …hm, like, maybe one… our days as parents will have ALWAYS started with this girl right here.
The girl who sticks her nose right into your eye at half past three…y’know, just to see if you’re awake.
You are. Now.
From the second she came into our lives…she has been our shadow. I worried that we wouldn’t bond, that maybe she’d just “tolerate” us but not really loooove us. But, anyone who’s seen the three of us together…knows otherwise. The girl is happiest when her people are around, and we are happiest with her along for the adventure.
We’re her world, and she is ours.
And how anyone doesn’t see that as being a parent is beyond me.