As the alarm rings at 8 a.m., it’s time to prepare my babies’ breakfast. They welcome me with expectant smiles as I scoop a cup (or two) of their favorite kibbles.
This is my morning routine as a furmom of three—to Disney, a three-year-old English Bulldog; Bailey, a six-month-old Frenchie; and Cody, a four-month-old English Bulldog. A Dachshund (whom I named Marley) is on the way, and I’m so excited to welcome her into our home.
I’ve always been a dog lover. My earliest memory of dogs is our Boxer who crossed the rainbow bridge at 16. Other breeds soon followed, but it wasn’t the passing of our Siberian Husky which made me decide to take fur parenting very seriously.
Disney was alone for a year before Bailey arrived in January 2021. At first, she wasn’t excited at the idea of being with another dog. Yet she warmed up to him a few hours later.
Cody soon followed in March 2021. My life hasn’t been the same ever since.
It’s not easy to be a fur parent. You’re taking care of three children at once. What makes it harder is that they have three distinct personalities that I’m still learning to understand.
Disney is the gentlest of the trio. She’s patient and calm, but she’s very flamboyant. Bailey is the sassiest. He throws a fit if he doesn’t get what he wants, yet he’s the most loving. Cody lives to explore—which explains the messy yard and living room. As a recent Parvo and Canine Distemper survivor, he’s still adjusting to the world in his own way.
As a woman in her mid-twenties, society expects me to think about marriage and parenthood. My partner and I do want to get married someday, but we firmly reject the idea of having children. We’re fine with being parents to our dogs.
A 2016 study showed that the relationship between dogs and their owners is similar to the bond between young kids and their parents. It probably explains why I’ve developed a maternal instinct toward the three of them.
Fur parenting is as complicated as having a child. I will never understand how it feels to have a child yet, but Disney, Bailey, and Cody show me a glimpse of what I should expect.
Being a fur mom opens your eyes to the reality of parenting. It doesn’t end with adopting or buying a dog. It starts when you need to give your dogs food, water, shelter, and medical attention, among others. At the same time, they crave love and affection from their owners. Like every child, they need to be taught what’s right and wrong which takes months, even years.
Also, not all dogs are treated properly by their first owners. Some are abandoned or used as a source of income.
Cody was my rude awakening as a fur mom. He was skinny when he first arrived, and he didn’t want to eat his food. On his third day, my father advised me to bring him to the vet since there was blood in his poop. It turned out to be a symptom of Parvo and Canine Distemper. He was also experiencing separation anxiety from his first owner at that time.
Cody’s treatment was the longest and most expensive two months of my quarantine life. He went through regular checkups, was prescribed a ton of medicines, and had to restart his vaccination from zero. It’s because the vet discovered that the period between his first and second vaccines was wrong—which almost cost him his life.
He eventually recovered. His overall expenses reached almost P10,000. But it doesn’t matter. He has a second chance at life, along with his loving Ate and a playful Kuya.
Disney and Bailey had their share of hardships, too. In Bailey’s first weeks, he was in constant distress since he missed his first owner. I had to include him in my daily routine to make him feel that he’s not alone. He would sit on my lap while I worked and sleep on my feet during dinnertime. I don’t exactly remember the time when he felt comfortable in our home, but I’m glad that he’s well adjusted now.
On the other hand, Disney is currently recovering from Sarcoptic Mange (galis aso). Her appetite is slowly returning to normal as she enjoys a snack (or two) again.
Like most parents, there are times when I get tired of Disney, Bailey, and Cody’s antics. But being wrapped around their paws makes me feel that I’m actually doing a good job of being their fur mom.
For now, I prefer dogs over babies. I don’t mind spending the next years of my life with Disney, Bailey, Cody, and Marley when my partner and I eventually settle down. We’re not mentally and emotionally ready. We’d rather be fur parents until the time is right.
After all, taking care of three "piglets" is a big responsibility already.
Banner photo from Shutterstock