I tell people I have two sons. Is that... frowned upon?
The fact that they're both four-legged labradoodles is a minor detail: they're my kids before they're my dogs. And I'm continually putting their needs in front of my loved ones, as naturally as if it were a reflex.
My Dad turned 60 last year, and to celebrate he wanted all of us kids and partners under the same roof for a week-long staycation on the NSW South Coast. I took charge making the bookings for the family, not for extra Favourite Child points, but to make sure the Airbnb and all subsequent family activities were dog-friendly so George and Charlie could attend.
These aren't the faces one should ever leave behind:
Sure, it was cheeky. Please know: Dad LOVED having them along of course, being his "only grandchildren". His words, not mine.
But see, right there, shows how I was raised to treasure all pets as if they were very much equal family members (as they heckin' should). I'm definitely not unique either in taking "equal family member" and promoting it to "highly favoured".
I love that ING were so committed to the cause too, that they surveyed 1,058 cat and dog parents of Australia this year for their YouGov Pet Study, to find out exactly what their relationships are like with their pets*.
They found that 57 per cent of respondents said their connection with their pet is so strong they would put their pet before their friends, family and anything else too. Even one in three (34 per cent) said they’d consider their pet as their ‘first born’ or child.