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  • Robert Berkelhammer, M.Ed.

Pet Parenting Doesn’t Replace Marriage, Motherhood, Fatherhood, or Grand parenthood, but Offers Moti


Some unmarried childless pet parents are discovering, perhaps unconsciously, their competence and confidence for a future marriage with children. Successful pet parenting includes many important responsibilities listed below, revealing a confidence and competence transferable to marriage, motherhood, fatherhood, and grandparenthood.

Pet Parents Building Confidence in Masculinity & Femininity Leading to Marriage and Children

Pet Parenting Responsibilities Include:

  • Researching each breed and individual pet ideally before housing.

  • Wisdom to know whether your family is better resourced for a breeder pet, a rescue, or no pet at all.

  • Adequate seasonal shelter and safe exposure to all seasons.

  • Nutrient dense cleaner sourced food & filtered water.

  • Consistent safe exercise in all calendar seasons.

  • Affection & kindness.

  • Discipline and limit setting thru voice & hand commands, basic obedience training applied over time, exercise, dog playgroups.

  • Setting pet limits regarding the master bed, house furniture, and eating areas.

  • Early life socialization with children, adults, and pets.

  • Medical needs including animal trainers, behaviorists, and veterinarians, Western & Integrated Alternative specialists.

  • Neutering and spaying.

  • Licensing thru dog tags and name/phone number identification

  • Financial stability to pay for rent, mortgage, and pet expenses.

  • Communication skills to nurture long term the couple relationship, benefitting the adults and pets.

  • End of pet life decisions.

I have been working with pet families since 2007. My concerns are unrealized fundamental goals many pet owners have not accomplished. I have noticed many pet owners have not married, missing out on being a husband, wife, mother, father, and grand-parent. This is a profoundly sad loss of joy, masculinity, and femininity and can have negative effects on adult health and family pets.

What Some Pet Owners are Healing from Childhood

Some pet owners grew up confused about what is normal versus abnormal due to chronic serious dysfunction in their nuclear family. Serious chronic dysfunction lowers confidence in masculinity, femininity, marriage, parenting, and grand parenting. Nuclear family breakdown can be influenced by:

  • Divorce

  • Absent Fathers

  • Over-extended single Mothers

  • Prayerless homes

  • Poverty

  • Adult substance abuse projected at children

  • Child substance abuse

  • Physical/sexual abuse

  • A Chronically ill parent or child and a disorganized family response resulting in other family members needs being ignored.

  • Deficient parental affection, listening, discipline, strategic thinking, role modeling

  • Malnutrition- lack of nutrient dense food, prescribed supplements, and/or digestive weakness

  • Underachieving schools

  • Injustice by white collar crime and rigged bureaucratic systems

  • Absent extended family via geographical separation or conflict estrangement

  • Catastrophic weather events by Mother Nature

  • Environmental Concerns

Certain pet owners lack confidence but not competence regarding achieving core goals of marriage, motherhood, fatherhood, and gran-parenthood. People discover their latent competency and life meaning by mature risks, not by retreating chronically into a shell of isolation, depression, self-doubt, and hysteria.

Children Are a Full Life’s Most Invaluable Blessing

Children and their well-being are the most important part of life, aren’t they? Children embody all that is good in human beings, and that goodness passes into future generations. Pet parenting is not a replacement for Marriage, Motherhood, Fatherhood or Grandparenthood, but offers motivation and preparation for those roles.

Parents and grandparents have realized a profoundly deep meaning knowing they are being succeeded by future generations of their families children. Don’t miss the hard work, meaning, or joy!

Robert Berkelhammer, Author, Pet Care Givers & Families: Getting the

Most from Dog Play Groups, Pet Sitters, & Walkers, 2015 Rowman & Littlefield, available on Amazon.


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