We all know a few “helicopter moms,” the ones who are overly protective and involved because they think it will bring about the best for their kids. Their hovering makes us laugh, but what we may not realize is that we are doing the exact same thing with our dogs. I realized recently that I’m turning into a certified helicopter pet parent. If you can relate to anything in this list, you may be heading that way, too.
Here are 22 signs that you might be a helicopter pet parent:
1. You avoid vacuuming because your dog is terrified of the vacuum cleaner. You have resorted to sweeping with a broom and hoping that your carpet is getting sufficiently de-haired.
2. You have a stroller for your dog because actually walking to the doggie park for exercise might tire her too much to play when she gets there.
3. On second thought, your dog isn’t allowed at the dog park. You never know what germs or diseases she’ll pick up there, and let’s not even think about other dogs potentially injuring her. It’s too dangerous.
4. You spend twice as much time in Target’s pet aisle than you do in all the other departments combined because you’re reading treat labels to be sure they don’t contain unnatural ingredients.
5. You have a standing date with your dog every Saturday to go to Petco because he looks forward to choosing his own treats.
6. You never considered running a 5K until you saw the flyer for a dog-friendly 5K. Now you’re training together because it’ll be good for your dog’s health.
7. You train for the 5K for three months and back out the night before because you suddenly realize that your dog could get his toes stepped on in the crowd, and that would not be cool. After all, she’s quite a small dog.
8. You plan vacations around places that are dog friendly. If your dog won’t be allowed, you don’t even consider it. But you also research the areas to be sure ticks aren’t bad at the time of year you’ll be there, that Lyme disease isn’t prevalent, and that fleas aren’t so bad in the area that even the best flea meds aren’t going to repel them.
9. After all this, you consider canceling your vacation because you read that a dog in that state was diagnosed with parvo. Even though your dog is vaccinated, you just aren’t sure about this increased risk.
10. You make vet appointments for your dog first thing in the morning, as soon as the clinic opens because you know the risk of dogs coming in with infectious diseases is less at that hour. You also use one of your own sick days to do this, because that’s what your sick days are for, right?
11. Of course, life jackets are mandatory when your dog is around water.
12. You get slightly offended when people pet your dog without asking. It’s totally flattering, but you’d prefer to be asked. You’re just a little overprotective at times.
13. You leave parties early so you can get home to your dog. Leaving him alone for three hours just so you can party seems selfish.
14. You ask your spouse to sleep on the couch when your dog isn’t feeling well and needs more bed space. You’re her person; you can’t be the one to sleep on the couch.
15. You install a video camera in your house so you can watch your dog while you’re at work. Not that you suspect your dog is doing anything wrong, but you just want to make sure she’s OK without you there. What if he misses you too much?
16. You consider changing jobs so that you can be home more often. Working from home would be a beautiful thing, with your dog nearby. Taking a small pay cut would be totally worth it. You wouldn’t use as much gas money, so it’s justifiable.
17. You have 349 photos of your dog on your phone — and one of your spouse (with your dog).
18. Your dog eats better food than you do. It must be all organic, with no preservatives, fillers, or artificial flavors. Her grocery bill is nearly as expensive as yours.
19. Your dog has a procedure done at the vet’s office that lasts several hours. Instead of going home and waiting for them to call, you sit in the waiting room. For six hours. Because you can’t leave your baby and get on with your life while he’s undergoing a medical procedure.
20. You have rain boots and a raincoat for your dog, because she hates getting wet. And you hate wiping muddy paw prints off the floor. You’re seriously contemplating the pet umbrella, too.
21. You also have an entire winter wardrobe for your dog. She’s got different coats for different cold ratings, including an indoor coat, because it’s cold inside in January. She has matching booties for each coat, too, because her feet get cold walking outside to do her business.
22. You have your vet’s number on speed dial, because while you have it memorized, it’s still faster to just hit No. 1 on your key pad. (What? Your dog’s safety is more important than anything else in your life.) You and the staff are on a first name basis due to your weekly calls.
What about you? How many of these can you apply to yourself? Tell us in the comments!
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About the author: Karen Dibert is a wife, mom, and dog lover living in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. She has five kids, three French Bulldogs, and a flock of useless chickens. Karen authors a pet column for her local newspaper, advocates for her son with Down syndrome, manages Louie the French Dog’s Instagram accounts, compulsively photographs everything, and lives in the sewing room, filling orders for her Etsy shops, The French Dog, The French Dog Home, and Collar The Dog. A snapshot of her life can be seen on Facebook.