Here at NomNomNow, we’re celebrating all types of moms this Mother’s Day–including dog moms! (Or should I say, especially dog moms).
As a mom to a two-year-old boy named Christopher and as a dog mom to a border collie named Gauge, I often think about these roles I play. While raising a child is very different from having a dog, I do believe that dog moms love their fur babies with a fervor that’s similar to how we love the rest of our family.
In fact, it’s backed up by science! Researchers have found that when a dog parent looks in the eyes of their pup, oxytocin spikes in the brains of both the pup and the human. Oxytocin is the same hormone that triggers feelings of unconditional love between parents and their children.
Dog mom vs. dog owner.
Remember the movie Babe: The Gallant Pig? It’s one of my favorites because I absolutely love watching the transformation of Arthur Hoggett, a shy, simple and practical sheep farmer. His stoic exterior is melted away by an adorable “sheep pig” named Babe. My favorite scene is when Farmer Hoggett tenderly nurses Babe back to health like a child, losing all inhibition as he sings Babe a lullaby. I know you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about pig dads in relation to dog moms–but I think we can learn a lot about being a pet parent versus a pet owner from this movie.
While dog owners love and care for their pups, dog moms take it to the next level. The day we brought Gauge home, I transformed into a dog mom. Before I knew it, I was bringing Gauge along wherever I could, baking homemade dog treats, picking up all-natural puppy shampoo from the pet boutique, and ordering Gauge a dog backpack, so he could join in on all our family adventures. As his dog mom, I simply want the best for Gauge, so he can live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life as part of our family.
The moments that make it most worth it.
Being a dog mom often means waking up at 6 AM on a Saturday because your pup is ready to start their day. It means worrying incessantly about your pooch while you’re apart, or skipping that new pair of shoes because your dog is due for their costly vaccinations. Being a dog mom isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
It’s worth it when you get home after a long day and your pup greets you with a wagging tail and slobbery kisses, and when your dog falls asleep with his head in your lap. It’s worth it when your pooch masters a new trick you’ve been working on. Or, when you’re having a bad day, and taking your dog on a walk instantly improves your mood. These little moments happen in my life as a dog mom every day.
A dog’s place in the family.
One of my family’s darkest days occurred when Gauge was about a year old. I remember like it happened yesterday: Gauge got loose outside and was hit by a car. My husband rushed Gauge to the hospital while I stayed home with our son. It was torture being home, not knowing what was going on–if Gauge was even still alive.
I remember finally receiving a phone call from my husband letting me know Gauge was alive, but the veterinarian needed to know how we wanted to proceed. In other words, the vet needed to know how much we were willing to pay to keep Gauge alive.
I clearly remember the conversation my husband and I had. We talked about how Gauge was part of our family, and how he was like a brother to our son. No amount of money really reflects what Gauge means to our family.
Fortunately, Gauge pulled through. He came home a couple days later with a bruised, partially collapsed lung, and with time, he would make a full recovery. I’m sure you can imagine my relief, and the fierce protection I now feel toward our pup.
I’m thankful every morning when I let Gauge out of his crate and he bounds out excitedly, ready to start the day. He provides our family a lot of joy, fun and laughter. He brings us all together and keeps us active. And we can already see the impact he’s having on our son’s life. One of the sweetest sounds I hear every day is my two-year-old yelling, “Gauge, wanna go on waaalk?!” Gauge is a big part of our family, and I’m proud to be his dog mom.
And I know I’m not alone in the experience. I know every dog mom knows the feeling.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Dog Moms.
Take a moment this Mother’s Day, and treat yourself to some special time with your pooch. Go play at the dog park, explore some new hiking trails, or get out for a snack at your favorite dog-friendly restaurant. Being a dog mom comes with great responsibility: the responsibility of raising the healthiest and happiest dog possible. And you should enjoy every precious moment of it.