U.K. mother Kelly Rose Bradford loves her 11-year-old son, William. Truly. She says she loves William “more than any words could ever express,” and takes her job of preparing him for the world with the utmost seriousness. There’s just one problem: she loves her dog even more.
The dog’s name is Matilda.
“She is my four-year-old West Highland White terrier,” Bradford writes in a MailOnline column, “and I freely admit that I love her as much as I love my 11-year-old son, William. In fact, on some occasions I love her more than him. And I don't feel a bit guilty about admitting that.”
How is it that Bradford could sometimes love a dog more than her son? There are a few reasons, she says. The first one is time.
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“I'm on borrowed time with Matilda in a way I'm not with my son,” she says. “With her, I have 12 or so years at best. I'm already a third of the way through, so I need to make her every moment as happy as possible. I want her never to feel unloved or unwanted. Obviously, I want my son to feel that way too. But as we have decades of fun and shared time left together, I feel that Matilda's needs now are more pressing.”
Another reason is Matilda’s needs. Bradford says that no matter how old Matilda gets, her pup will always depend on her just as a newborn child would. This, she writes, brings out the strongest maternal drives in her.
“A puppy brings out that same love that a parent feels for a newborn - a ferocious sense of idolatry combined with a need to protect and treasure,” she writes. “But with children that love evolves and becomes more organic, less obsessive. It doesn't change with a dog because they always need you in exactly the same way.
“The enormous sense of responsibility I feel towards Matilda has not changed since the day I brought her home. I chose to take her from her mother, bring her into my home and make her dependent on me forever. Unlike with William, I am not preparing her for a bigger journey. Her life begins and ends with me. It's up to me to make her happy. After all, isn't that what having a pet is all about? Shouldn't every responsible owner put their furry companion first?”
Matilda, she writes, reacts to every kind or routine gesture – like taking her for a walk or feeding her -- with unfiltered gratitude. Her son, on the other hand, gets more independent and ungrateful by the day.
“I guess a lot of it comes down to a human need to feel wanted and loved,” Bradford says, “and Matilda gives that in abundance. Children, as they grow older, do not give such physical shows of love to their parents. The feeling of being the most important person in the world to your child stops the moment they start school and realize that other people can fulfill their basic needs…. They want you out of the way when their friends are around. You are told not to interfere, not to nag. And that's tough for any mum to cope with.”
Bradford says William gets jealous when she often prioritizes Matilda over him.
“[William] will become jealous,” she writes, “when I tell him that, no, I can't get up to look at what he is doing on his computer because Matilda is asleep on my lap. And no, he can't move her off the chair nearest the TV, where he wants to sit.”
Alright, this is just getting ridiculous. Ten years from now, poor William is going to look back on this and think, “What the hell, mom?”
Source: Daily Mail
Photo Credit: Martin Spaven