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I need some perspective. My sister and I are both dog lovers, but we have a conflict. She, who doesn’t have human children, calls her dogs her children. I, who do have human children, don’t call my dogs my children. She puts her dogs on an equal footing with my (human) sons and daughters, even calling them “cousins. I say she isn’t doing either my kids or her dogs a favor by equating them. She says I just don’t love my dogs as much as she loves hers. This has led to some hurt feelings on both sides. How do other dog lovers handle this issue? Do you consider your dogs to be your kids? If you have human kids, how do your feelings for them differ from your feelings for your dogs?
 

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of course my dog isn't my child.
He'd be pretty ugly and socially challenged as a child and the biological consequences would be really gross wouldn't they?
i mean the whole process of conceivement would pretty yucky as well as the birth...why would anyone want that?

i don't have own children, but growing up with a lot of children there are a lot of difference in how I feel about children as well as how you treat them different than dogs.

children grow up, they're able to learn my language, so there's no "interspecies language barrier", i can reason with them depending on their age, children can learn moral cathegories, so one day they probably need to make their own decisions, learn to decide what they consider wrong or right and lead their life independently from their parents.
children become adults one day and then they will leave the parents responsibility and the way you act towards them should enable them to become independent, thoughtful, informed humans that can take care of their own.

dogs stay always a humans responsibility.
they're smart, they communicate, but they can only "grow up" to a certain point in comparison to human children.
Dogs don't understand moral or ideology. They're opportunists. they don't think what behaviour is the morally right choice.
their process of making decisions is different than that of human children after they reach the toddler age.

plus: I'd never neuter a child, but I think in some cases neutering a dog is totally acceptable and may be even the better choice.
 

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She says I just don’t love my dogs as much as she loves hers.
I have a suspicion that type of attitude might exist with many other sectors of your relationship with your sister. I love competition but some "competitions" are just an insecure ego coming to the surface. Kids are kids, dogs are dogs and they aren't humans or my kids. I will say however, I've had more sadness at the loss of my dogs over time than the loss of some humans in my life, not saying a child, obviously.

Heck, if you wanna play her game, tell her your dogs mean more to you than her, her children and everyone who matters. She should be proud of you by her own measure. A bit of dirty pool but if it causes any controversy you could just say that's the nature of one-upmanship and there's no need for it between siblings/friends. Like I said earlier, some "competitions" are just foolish.
 

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Well, I'm kind of a jerk when it comes to kids, so I'm sure I'll come across as a bit rude, but here goes.

I'm not a fan of kids, I'll be honest. I'm selfish and enjoying doing what I want, when I want to do it. Maybe it's because I'm young (27, young-ish?) and maybe I'll change my mind, but I have never been interested in being a parent. As a result, all of my time, money, and love goes to my dogs. (And I guess some goes to my husband ;) )

That being said, I would not call my dogs my "children". I DO refer to them as my "babies". Truthfully, my dogs behave better than most kids I've met. Both my parents and my in-laws refer to my dogs as their grandchildren/grand puppies and I call both my siblings and my husband's brother Aunts/Uncles. It's all in good fun, and I think everyone has a laugh about it. I love my dogs more than almost anything in my life, however, they are not "equal" to my nieces and nephews. I do everything in my power to make sure everyone is happy, safe, and comfortable whenever they are going to be interacting, but if push came to shove, the dogs are going to come behind children. Whether that means they get crated so the kids can run around, or they are left with a different family member so that the kids can be kids.

We only have one person in our family with young kids, and she is extremely respectful of the love and devotion I have for my dogs, just as I am extremely respectful of the love and devotion she has for her children.
 

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Don't have kids don't want any(too selfish) but my dog is just my dog but I do call him son sometimes an call him my baby but at the end of the day he's just a doggie an should be treated like one.
 

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My dog is absolutely family. I spend a lot of time training her and bonding with her. She means the world to me. If my house were on fire, I would run in to save her. BUT I certainly do not equate her to my boyfriends children or my nieces. If one of these children were hurt and at the hospital, I would rush right over. If my dog were sick and at the vet, I would not expect my family to rush to the vet. My family respects the devotion that I have to my dog because it's reasonable. My dog is very well behaved and welcomed at any family members or friends homes. As a matter of fact, I have one aunt in particular that if I don't bring Aspen when I go visit her, she gets kind of mad at me. Haha. So my dog is definitely a member of the family but not the equivalent of my child.
 

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No. Absolutely not! I love my dog, but she is a dog first. I have three, grown up 'children' & one, quite new Grandson. How I look at it is if (God forbid) any of them died for instance, I'm really not sure I would ever get over the loss. However, I have had dogs who have passed & I have been truly devastated, but I got over it because I know that's what happens, we outlive our pets. I gave birth to my children, they grew inside me & I nurtured them to adulthood, they are part of me. That said, I can understand it in people who don't have human children & can see how animals can be seen as their 'children'. I would never criticsise anyone who likes to call their dogs their children, but it's not for me. :)
ETA @Aspen726 Like you, I too think of my dog as a member of my family, but she's not one of my children as @kyledoglover was asking.
 

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I think of my dogs as very dear companions/friends. Not really children

That said, love is love. I think when you have kids things change a bit because technically you're biologically programmed to love them, but your sister doesn't have kids - she has dogs that mean the world to her. I think there probably is a sense of competition on her side or maybe even feeling that he accomplishments/stresses don't matter as much because she doesn't have "real" kids.

But that's delving into psychology so I'll leave it at that.
 

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I also don't have children and don't plan on any. My husband and I certainly recognize that our two dogs are not our literal children (actually, they are better than children - just kidding!).

But seriously, my dogs are members of the family and I care very deeply for their wellbeing. People tell me I would love a child more, but I honestly can't fathom how?

That said, we have plenty of nieces and nephews and humans are technically more important/precious than animals. When push comes to shove, the wellbeing of a human family member must be put ahead of the wellbeing of my dogs, but I hate these situations and try to avoid them. For instance, family members who welcome our dogs, we visit more than those who don't like our dogs ? In all fairness, my dogs are much better behaved than any of the nieces and nephews.

Perhaps our most recent family picture will give you an idea of how we view our dogs:
 

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@Shandula I felt like I should just copy and paste your post. I feel exactly the same about kids and dogs. I don't like kids at all, if i had a kid I'm sure I would resent it. So I would never want to do that to anyone, so no kids for me. But dogs are not people, Aayla is not my child.
 
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I have zero, absolute no desire to ever have kids. Never. My dogs are my family. I do not call them my kids, but that is what they equal. I do expect them to be treated like others kids in my family are, and they are. My mom calls herself their grandmom and my BF's parents say the same. So what I didn't give birth to them, they are a very important part of my life. I'd say more, but I know may will not understand or even get offended. But it is the way I feel, and that is what matters for me. I'll add too that my guys are well behaved, I don't let them get away with things and they are all trained. They may be spoiled, but they are not brats. Most of the time anyway.
 

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I have no kids, GF does. Love kids, just never had time or made room for them in my life.

Our dog is a family member, not a child, he's still a dog and expected to act as such. He's got full trust of us, has full run of the condo, love him dearly and is spoiled in many ways.

We do however torment the parents that they have a grand doggie :)
 

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Nope. I love my dogs, they are part of my family and a major part of my life, but they are not children. I do not have kids at this time and may never, but no matter what they are still dogs and will be treated as such. The needs of my human family will always come first. Some of my family are not all that into dogs, but they accept that dogs are part of me and we have come to an agreement where it works out for everyone. All of my dogs are happy, and loved, but also know their place and what I expect of them. Humans first for me, always.
 

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I have zero, absolute no desire to ever have kids. Never. My dogs are my family. I do not call them my kids, but that is what they equal. I do expect them to be treated like others kids in my family are, and they are. My mom calls herself their grandmom and my BF's parents say the same. So what I didn't give birth to them, they are a very important part of my life. I'd say more, but I know may will not understand or even get offended. But it is the way I feel, and that is what matters for me. I'll add too that my guys are well behaved, I don't let them get away with things and they are all trained. They may be spoiled, but they are not brats. Most of the time anyway.
I don't think anyone will (or should) be offended by your views, we are all different & I hope people respect that. :). I will say this though to those who say they don't like kids , you were a kid once, hopefully someone liked you!? I actually have huge respect for people who decide they don't want to have kids, better than having them because you feel you should (sorry, off topic a little I know) I don't think it needs to be black & white :) Also @annageckos I know what you mean about your dogs being better behaved, we often take our dog out to pubs for lunch, she sits quietly while there are kids causing chaos!!
 

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I have no biological way of ever having children. So, to me I see Bandit as my child, simply because it makes me feel better about my situation. However I do not feel like other people have to treat him a a child and I understand people who don't see them as family. But to me, I put all the love, attention and money that I save by being biologically unable to have children into care for Bandit and I see him as my baby.
 

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Although I jokingly refer to Molly as my 'Empty Nest Child' and feel she is just as important as a family member I also know and respect the fact that she is a dog...A dog that needs me as much as I need her. I have a saying for her place in my life;
I will live
So you can thrive
You will live
To keep me alive.

I am retired, live alone, and I have major chronic health problems, so She is the reason I put my feet on the floor everyday, keeps me smiling, listens to my woes, and follows my orders(most of the time lol!) isn't that like a child in some way? I think so............
 

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I completely understand and respect not wanting to have kids of your own, but it always makes me a bit sad when people say they don't like kids, period. I'm still relatively close to being a kid myself (senior in high school), and I remember that when I was a kid I felt that adults had forgotten what it was like to be one. I felt that many adults misunderstood and underestimated kids, and I hoped I wouldn't be that way when I grew up. Maybe others have similar memories?
Anyway, that was completely off topic, and I apologize.

To answer the OP: As others have said, I prefer to think of my dog as my companion and friend. There isn't a single thing wrong with viewing your dogs as your children. There IS something wrong with someone telling you how much you love your dogs. No one besides yourself can possibly know the scope of your love for your dogs.
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I will say this though to those who say they don't like kids , you were a kid once, hopefully someone liked you!?
I've heard this many times before, and I honestly don't understand it. Because I was once a kid I should like them? I can't grasp that.
Young kids make me uncomfortable. I have too many health issues, mental and physical and I know those play a big part in how I feel about kids. I can not take the screaming many do, it's the pitch. I think that pitch is why I also steer away from smaller dogs. It makes my anxiety rise which also triggers anger and migraines. So I don't enjoy being around them. That is not to say I'm mean to kids. For some reason they like me, and I am good with them. I don't mind calm older kids, and if I'm educating them about animals I'm fine.
But just like my sisters son is important to her, my dogs are just as important to me. And luckily my family understands that. My dogs are always welcomed to family events. Though I will avoid events with too many kids, too much anxiety for me.
 
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I'm in the not interested in kids, seeing dog as family boat. Dogs and kids are just different, I don't rank them.

I don't really understand why many people, (parents, friends, clients, taxi drivers) have felt the need to try to convince me to have kids. I'd be a horrible parent, I love me time, hate feeling bound to anything and have severe anxieties about not doing things perfectly. There are enough kids out there with disinterested parents, why add one more? That said, I love my nieces/nephews.
 

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My dogs are not my kids. I love them to death and expect them to be treated well by everyone I know. But they are dogs and not children. I have no kids and don't want any, but I've loved children and it's not the same.

People are free to call their dogs their kids, but I admit it kind of weirds me out. They aren't humans.
 
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