My Dog is My Child Syndrome | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

My Dog is My Child Syndrome

Six ways to know if you've been infected

Note: I write this article in jest. I don't currently have a pet because my landlord won't allow it... but I surprised myself on a recent river multi-day when I couldn't help adopting two river dogs and actually was joyful when they were wet and dirty parading around my raft in circles for most of the trip. Animals make us happy. That's the bottom line.

Tempur-Pedic, hypoallergenic pet beds—multiples of them, littered throughout every room of your house. Designer Gucci puppy-sized river floaties with silver-plated water dishes and gluten-free, grain-free, organic milk bones. Groomer/doggy salon bills that top that of your own annual personal hygiene budget.

My Dog is My Child Syndrome
Erica Durtschi

If you are struggling with any of the following, you may be infected with the MY DOG IS A HUMAN CHILD SYNDROME, and you may want to seek medical treatment immediately. Currently there is no cure, but there are trial drugs available. Evidence is quickly mounting that this syndrome also exists within the feline community.

Other symptoms include: 

Sh*t doesn't stink

Do you carefully follow your pet around waiting for them to defecate, then delicately place your canine's solid-waste products in plastic bags and tie them shut, only to leave them trail side as decorations? Reports are flooding emergency lines that plastic ornamental poop bags are being sighted all over Bend.

Kissing on the mouth

Be honest: Do you make out with your dog? Do you allow wet kisses? Do you swap saliva? Is there an exchange of bodily fluids? If so, remember that in addition to the six-figure grooming bill, dogs groom themselves... with their mouths. Itchy anal glands, reproductive parts, open wounds, four paws which come in direct contact with the pavement of public walkways and sometimes flooring in vendor shops. These are all being inspected and cleaned by your pet on a rotating basis, daily.

Note: Scientists think this may be a transmission path for the syndrome however studies aren't yet conclusive.

Temperature control 

We know to the infected, tricking out your vehicle as a $40,000 fancy dog house with temperature control on a four-wheel-drive frame isn't weird. Leaving your dog in a running car with heat or AC on full blast as an alternative to them experiencing the loneliness of being left at home may not seem excessive. After all, they have separation anxiety, depression and many other serious mental health issues... and you're trying all possible solutions before big pharma.

Pet names and shared custody

Are you so attached to your pet that you call them dog-ter (dog + daughter)? Do your parents call your pup grand dog-ter (grand + dog + daughter)? When you and your partner split up, did you arrange for a legal custodial agreement to be drawn up, outlining which days of the week each would care for the child animal and who was responsible for the HSA (Health care Savings Account) management? When you meet a new special someone at the dog park and they and their dog begin to integrate with you and your dog, do you call it a blended family?

Reddit Trolling

This is the Hail Mary Pass indicator. If you have said "yes" to all the qualifiers above but this final qualifier doesn't apply, you may be in the clear. Do you troll on versus off leash dog threads on Reddit and engage in rants stating absolutes about your pets' behaviors and entitlements, on and off lead? If your Reddit comments have the tone of the following, you might want to quarantine or head to the closest hospital for testing:

 88Anchless88: "My dogs are the most well-cared for, loved beings on this planet. We care for them more than most people care for their little crotch goblins... If you don't like it... call the police."

...and that, friends, is just a quick rundown of some of the more extreme symptoms of this growing, late-stage-capitalism disorder.

About The Author

K.M. Collins

A native Oregonian, K.M. Collins is a geologist-gone-writer. Covering everything outdoors and a spectrum of journalism, she's a jack of all whitewater sports and her favorite beat is anything river related. Don't blow her cover as a freshwater mermaid amongst humans.
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