Relationships

Adventures in Puppy Parenthood

This week started off like any other, lying in bed mentally and physically preparing for another week of work, wishing for one more day off, but then Sunday night our puppy got sick. The poor little guy got sick to his stomach 5 times before throwing up blood, prompting our panicked visit to the doggy ER at 6.00 AM. I’ll spare you the gory details but basically after many tests, expensive vet bills and a week of sleepless nights, he
is on the mend. It was determined he may have a bacterial infection (probably from Dog Daycare) and was put on antibiotics.

However, being a first time pet owner, I was unprepared for how emotional this whole experience would be. We felt helpless being unable to determine what was wrong with him and what we needed to do to help him get better. He just stared at us with his puppy dog eyes and it broke our heart. We felt like we were over reacting taking him to the vet twice and calling them many more times, but immediately went to “the bad place” about what could happen if he was really, really sick. We were investigating his daily bathroom breaks like forensic investigators, looking for anything abnormal. It was an emotionally and physically exhausting week. I was beginning to worry about how we will ever survive the ups/downs up “baby parenthood,” if “puppy parenthood” had us so thrown.

Sometimes I feel like a crazy person for loving my puppy like he’s my child. I recently read a study from researchers at Mass General Hospital that woman really do love their dogs the same way they love babies.

In the study, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital explored the neuroanatomical similarities between the human-pet bond and the maternal-child bond. To run the study, they had women look at photos of their own babies and dogs. They then looked at other dogs and babies that weren’t their own.

The researchers found that, “there was a common network of brain regions involved in emotion, reward, affiliation, visual processing and social cognition when mothers viewed images of both their child and dog.”

They also discovered that the animals they didn’t know didn’t trigger the same brain regions. They concluded that dog owners really do love their dogs like they’re their babies. (http://www.ryot.org/science-says-humans-love-dogs-like-their-babies/840873)

So maybe I’m not crazy. The reason this experience was so trying, was because that emotional connection could be real. His cute little puppy dog face makes it all worth it!

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