Some things are better left unsaid. No matter how good something might sound to you—before you utter it aloud—there are some basic “no no’s” when it comes to talking with a dog mom or dog dad. Here are 7 definite comments you should never tell a dog parent. See how many of these have been hurled your way.
1. “You Have Dogs Because You Don’t Have Kids, Right?”
Not only is this rude, but there are millions of people who enjoy both varieties of kids: both the human and the canine types. If you are someone who chooses to have children and then look down upon me or any other millions of childless by choice folks with a sneer, think twice before you speak. We are not lesser people for not having human children. In fact, many of us feel much richer by being graced by the presence of a dog.
2. “Oh, Your Dog Died? Well, Get Another One!”
Though I said “never again” to allowing a dog to enter my life and thus my heart, exactly 30 days after losing my dog in 2008, I did bring another dog into my life. I know I could never not love this way again. For millions of us, hearing “just get another one” when a dog dies is insensitive and can be interpreted as downright cruel, no matter how well-intentioned your words might seem. We do not replace people when they pass, and dog parents feel the same way: A life is irreplaceable no matter the form it takes.
3. “Dogs Should Not Be Allowed on Furniture/Bed”
To everyone whose name graces my birth certificate other than myself, I say “shhhh.” According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, almost half of dogs sleep with their owners in their owner’s beds. Until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, where their dog is allowed to reside is totally their own business. Besides, some of us sleep better, feel calm, and are generally more positive people with a dog by our side, present company included.
4. “That Dog Doesn’t Understand What You’re Saying”
I talk to my dog. Raise a paw if you are one of the millions of people who talks to their canine family member(s). I do this whether I am doing laundry, shopping in a pet-welcoming store, or driving in the car. Maybe he doesn’t understand “Mommy needs a new pair of pumps” but he knows the intonation of my voice and responds with a tail wag and a tilted head; or sometimes no reaction at all. Dogs are living, breathing beings, and it is a fact that much of what we say is understood. Just ask Chaser, the dog who knows well over 1,000 words. To each their own, and if talking to my dog bothers you then don’t eavesdrop.
5. “That Dog Should Be Put Down; He’s Costing You Too Much Money”
Perhaps one of the most unsavory and disturbing trends involves folks who feel they are the mortality police. The decision to euthanize a beloved pet is a very personal and heartbreaking one. I know because I’ve been down that road. Telling me to put a dog down in the name of cost savings is grounds for dismissal from my life, and I know I am not alone in feeling this way.
6. “You Shouldn’t Let that Dog Kiss You”
My mouth, my face, my dog, my life: These four factors alone are all reasons why dog kisses are allowed. Yes, there is a whole scientific school of thought, and some fact, about germs and bacteria and cross contamination and zoonotic diseases. If you don’t want a smooch from my pooch if I am getting a dog kiss, look away and say nothing.
7. “You Are Welcome, But the Dog Is Not”
As someone who has traveled the country with dogs for over 20 years, my mantra is “love me, love my dog.” I do not expect dogs to be allowed everywhere and anywhere, but I do expect the welcome mat to be rolled out if I want to bring my well-behaved dog with me to certain things. Granted, I know my dog can’t come to your wedding or to someone’s funeral, though I’ve seen pooches at both. If you simply do not want my dog at your house because you just aren’t all that into dogs, then sorry: I’m just not all that into you.
What did we miss? What is something you’ve been told as a dog parent that simply drives you bonkers?