It’s not a radical idea. I really just love my dog, so I say nice things to him and call cute names. And no, you cannot come over and listen because I’ll probably tone it down for company.

I find most dogs — besides that one obnoxious guy at the dog park; you know who I mean — endlessly fun and fascinating. They’re generally loving and they don’t talk back. They do funny, odd, and frequently very, very cute things. (Check the one quadrillion internet videos for proof.)

You can yell at them for walking on your head at 3am and they forgive you almost instantly if you come crawling back with cookies, thereby reinforcing that they can walk on your head at 3am. Sometimes, my dog even does what I say, and he listens to my problems whether he likes it or not.

The reason dogs are so awesome actually might be because they really aren’t like people. (Sorry, people.)

I have an intense emotional bond with my dogs — the one I have now and the two I’ve lost and still miss. I invest lots of time, money, energy, and, yes, love, into caring for them, and I get so much more back, including the right to use whatever words I’ve got at my disposal in this language, or even any other to describe how I feel about them.

Sometimes it’s, “Hey dude, knock it off. I’m trying to watch Law and Order,” and other times it’s, “Who’s Mama’s baby?”

I didn’t come up with this on purpose. I never had a plan to identify as a “pet parent” or to use any term of endearment in particular with my dogs. It just happened. One day I just called my dog baby.

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