I was listening to the British comedian Alan Davies telling a story about his Alsatian dog, and I noticed that he spoke of the dog as referring to him as Alan rather than Dad. This is something that becomes apparent about dog owners once you've been around them a while - some refer to themselves as their dog's mom or dad, others imagine the dog using their Christian name. I don't think there's anything wrong with either one, but I don't actually think that's how our dogs relate to us.
In one episode of Buddy's Diary, Buddy explains how he thinks of each member of his family. He refers to me as Cuddles-and-Food because that's what I mainly supply. Anthony is Walks-in-the-rain, because often if it's raining he will volunteer to walk the dogs. Jenny is Buddy's favourite, he thinks of her as Hands-taste-of-crisps-and-she-lets-me-lick-them. Something along those lines is much nearer to the truth than anything else I suspect.
So which camp am I in? I refer to myself as Buddy's Mom. Not in a sickly baby talk way (well only when I'm on my own with him anyway!) just in a I have to be known as something way. When we taught him the game of going to find a specific person, we all had to have specific and individual names, so to Buddy we were Mom, Dad and Jenny. In response to the question, "Where's Mom?" he will run to find me. I know some people will think there is something emotionally needy about referring to yourself as your dog's parent, but I would disagree. Are we not very much in the role of our dog's guardian?
Make no mistake, I am fully aware that I am not my dog's biological mother, but let me tell you why I feel entitled to assume his Mom-ship, if I may call it that. I supply him with food, a bed, a home and toys. I chauffeur him around to various activities, and I ensure that he learns the things he needs to. I spend time with him, I look after his general welfare, try to ensure his safety, and consider him in all arrangements I make. I clean up the pee, poop and sometimes the vomit he produces, as well as clearing away the untidiness he can create in the house. I love him, but sometimes I have to correct him. In short I have brought him up, and if that doesn't sound like the job description that matches the title of "Mom" then I don't know what does.
If you are your dog's mom or dad, don't be ashamed of it, you've earned it.