Some people are parents, some are fur parents, others are both.
But, some people want to gate keep the term “parent.”
Redditor Brief_Barnacle5061 encountered this very issue with his brother. So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for telling my brother that he shouldn’t call himself a dog dad?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“Context to the situation:”
“I (30M) am the father to two children, my son, who is 5, and my daughter, who is 1.”
“I’ve worked hard to bring up my kids, since it has involved juggling my career, bills, rent and mortgage payments as well as all the other expenses that come with being an adult, all the while raising my children.”
“Needless to say, it hasn’t been easy, so I am proud of the fact that I have two happy, healthy children.”
OP’s brother has different priorities.
“My brother is 23, and has said that having children isn’t a priority in his life, and ‘if it happens, it happens.'”
“His reason for this is that he wants to be able to travel, enjoy his career, and be able to have the option to do things spontaneously, which I don’t have a problem with. He also has an English Bulldog puppy, which he got from a breeder, something that I disagree with, but I can’t tell him how to live his life.”
“Which brings me to the issue.”
“Despite not having kids, my brother constantly jokes about how him and his boyfriend are ‘parents’ to their dog. Their friends even go as far to send them ‘dog dad’ cards on fathers day.”
“After raising my children, I find it rude when he refers to himself as a ‘dad’ when owning a dog isn’t nearly as hard as raising two children.”
“I brought this up to him, and he defended himself by saying that him calling himself a ‘dog dad’ isn’t hurting anyone. I told him that this isn’t the case, since there’s people who can’t have children, poor people who struggle to raise children etc. who will likely be very hurt by him and his partners comments.”
OP’s brother did not take that well.
“They both haven’t spoken to me since.
“Am I missing something?”
“I know I could have made my point in a less direct way, but surely calling yourself a ‘dog parent’ isn’t something that should be normalized?”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors agreed OP was the a**hole.
“YTA you sound bitter.”
“If parenting is so hard, then think harder about having kids next time. Other people choosing to see their pets as children isn’t a threat to you. It’s not a competition.”
“If you find it ‘rude’ that someone wants to call themselves whatever they want because it interrupts your martyr complex the problem is you.”
“Also, fun fact! Plenty of human parents are ok with other people calling themselves dog parents. Not everyone is this insecure or competitive about misery.” ~ dapplegray
“I am friends with a couple who have been struggling to conceive. They have a couple of dogs and a cat and call themselves ‘dog parents’ so for OP to sit there and say ‘those who can’t have children who will be hurt by the comments.'”
“No. Not all are.”
“I can’t speak for everyone, but the ones I know who are open about it, don’t care. Especially since they refer to themselves the same way. When my BF and I were trying, we thought we couldn’t after a couple of years and called ourselves dog parents.” ~ AdministrationNo9609
“Bless your heart. How old were your children when you adopted them?” ~ type1error
“Southern insult. It’s the most polite way to tell you that there isn’t a thought behind your eyes.” ~ draco0562
“Bless the comedian’s heart who popularized that sentiment, but it isn’t really true. ‘Bless your heart’ could range from genuine to insulting, based upon context and tonal inflection.”
“I’ve lived in the south for most of my life, and ‘Bless your heart’ is something you grow up hearing from little old ladies in church when you do something nice for them, like pick up their dropped handkerchief, bring them a plate, or read the scripture to their satisfaction.” ~ Profreadsalot
Many had thoughts on buying vs. adopting a dog.
“OP is shaming his brother for getting a puppy from a dog breeder instead of a rescue dog from a shelter.”
“The comment points out the hypocrisy that he had a child with his wife instead of adopting from an orphanage.” ~ secondary_outrage
“Except bulldogs are breeds that really shouldn’t be bred because of the respiratory and joint issues due to the awful breeding they underwent.” ~ loalenatrice
“Yeah, dogs with such extreme health problems shouldn’t be bred and it’s unethical to buy them.”
“Different than buying a generally healthy breed.” ~ Daztur
“Our children were 7 and 1 years old when we adopted them and we have no problem with dog moms and dads and their route to parenthood!” ~ pacododo
“There are a lot of breed-specific rescues, if you have a breed in mind for a future pup 🙂 it can be easier than just continuously checking out the shelter.”
“I knew I wanted a Greyhound, so I was in contact with a Greyhound rescue group and discussed what I needed in a dog (cat-friendly), they put me on a waitlist, and I ended up adopting my boy in just a few weeks!”
“The benefit being that these people REALLY care about the breed they rescue so they have a lot of knowledge/information, and they stay in contact with you afterwards. It just seems to be a bit of a better process than a shelter, in my opinion.”
“Not bashing on shelters AT ALL, but I know what you mean about how empty they can be these days! I was looking at shelters for awhile until I discovered the rescue groups in my area.” ~ honeynwool
“This is untrue. Shelters do not empty out fast. They did for a two month span – over a year ago. Here in the USA, we murder hundreds and hundreds of thousands.” ~ CincinnatiCareBear
They’re not hurting anyone.