Hey lady, you do not have a ‘fur baby’

Why I grudgingly denied the term ‘fur baby’ versus human babies

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Photo credit: krenok43/Pixabay

Nothing says weirdo quite like someone referring to their dogs as “fur babies.” I visualize people who put their K9s in strollers and let these dogs lick them on the lips. They have a ginormous assortment of pet outfits. They feed their dogs hummus and only give them filtered water. They unashamedly don’t realize how bizarre this is.

It’s pretty simple, really. A dog has four legs, and a human baby has two. One has fur (excluding poodles), and the other has hair. You don’t send your “fur baby” off to college or walk her down the aisle. Yes, you can indeed be a “grandparent” to the dog, should you keep track of the puppies. But for crying out loud, stop calling your dogs “fur babies.”

My protest against the phrase started in March, around the same time I became a professional dog walker. Babysitting makes me nervous, but dog walking is the absolute easiest job ever.

Of course there are some tasks that took time to get used to. I had to carry that Shetland Sheepdog and American Eskimo down the steps. Their legs were a bit too fragile to walk alone; they were more than 14 years old. And there was the 1-month-old Labrador Retriever who wouldn’t walk more than a few feet before flopping his butt down on the ground. He couldn’t really walk for long periods of time yet; he’d just been separated from his mom. I had to make sure his teething toys were nearby when I brought him back, too.

Still though, these are dogs.

Then there was the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog who followed me every single place I went, including sitting near the bathroom. I tried to hold a video conference call for work when she went to sleep. As soon as I logged in though, she jumped up and decided to put her entire face in my laptop screen as soon as I pressed record. While I discussed Google analytics and social media marketing, she put her nose on my face and flopped into my lap.

She only wanted to play with loud, squeaky toys as soon as my client started to talk. Somehow I finished that hour-long conference call with my client politely ignoring the squeaking and flopping around in the background. And when I went to sleep that night, she spread out on the entire bed and I had to push her over. She hogs covers, too.

This, I tell you, is still a dog. And yes, she always wakes up at 5:30 a.m. — about three hours earlier than I’d prefer to wake up. And she wants to be fed immediately. Still though, she has a tail and ears that stick straight up into the air.

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Photo credit: tortugadatacorp/Pixabay

Of course, as with all dogs and babies, I’ve also had to learn to only wear certain attire during housesittings and dogsittings. Otherwise there will be mud and/or food all over my nice, clean, light-colored clothes. And let’s not even discuss the amount of times I have to clean a sticky, dirty doorknob or make sure there are no track marks all over the tile floors. This is from dogs though, not anybody’s babies.

I will admit that I can wear whatever I want during my reporting gigs when I go to entertainment venues or go stand in line for 20 minutes to get into the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery. It’s no big deal to stand around and talk to humans in my beige coat with my light gray hood and gloves. Adults won’t ruin my attire. They won’t be restless or jump on anyone. Only babies — human babies — and dogs would do such a thing.

But there was that one time earlier this week when I visited a Mini Schnauzer puppy, who is 3 months old and cannot climb downstairs yet without hurting himself. I snuggled up to him in my arm, and I quickly jogged down the three flights of steps. He was getting restless in his house, you see. He needed to go outside and play. And I sat this dog — not a fur baby — down to get ready to walk him for 60 minutes.

Then I happened to look down at my beige coat, which felt different. I couldn’t quite figure out why it felt different at first. And that is when I realized that this 3-month-old had just peed all over the left side of my coat. My gawd, I might be dealing with fur babies.

Shamontiel is a dog lover to her core: 356 completed walks and eight dog-housesittings at the time of this publication. Would you like to receive Shamontiel’s Weekly Newsletter via MailChimp? Sign up today!

Doggone World

For dog lovers, dog walkers and dog owners.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

Doggone World

Let’s discuss all bark-related, (mostly) feel-good content for dog lovers, dog walkers and dog owners.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

Doggone World

Let’s discuss all bark-related, (mostly) feel-good content for dog lovers, dog walkers and dog owners.

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