Some now prefer pets to human children

Some now prefer pets to human children

Sreeja Sreedharan with Charlie and Cairo.

Some women in Bengaluru say they are happy to be pet parents; they don’t want biological children. 

For 33-year-old Sreeja Sreedharan, a resident of South Bengaluru, the idea came when she began caring for abandoned dogs.

“With the number of people buying pets going up, the abandonment rate is also high. That is why I want to dedicate my life to adopt and help as many furry babies as I can,” she says. 

Sreeja has adopted Charlie, a Rottweiler, and Cairo, a golden retriever, and describes herself as a “happy mother of two pets.” 

“After I moved out of my home, my family worried about who will take care of me but they realised that my two pets are my family,” she adds. Sreeja says her pets have taught her a lot more than what human babies could have.

She explains, “It would be a lie if I say that I have never wondered what kind of a mother I would have been but I don’t miss it at all. Whenever I see my friends with their children, I am happy to know that that’s not me.” 

Many questions are asked, of course. What about care during old age and inheritance?

Pet parents say they don’t worry so much and are just happy the pets give them the best 10 to 15 years of their lives.

Jia (name changed) says, “What they give you is pure unconditional love, which human kids might not be able to able to provide,” she says.

She got her dog when he was 34 days old and has brought him up like her own biological child. 

“He understands my emotions even though he doesn’t understand them completely. He knows his emotional support is my biggest medicine when I’m sick. You can’t get that kind of love from your own children even if you want it,” she says. Fashion designer Greshma Dhanarajan is happy being a parent to Labrador-mix Diva. She says, “Diva came into my life three years ago when I was depressed. She was the best therapy. Ever since then, I have grown to care for her and she’s my baby.”

What’s her answer to what society thinks about this, you ask? “I think people are moving away from the heavy expectations the society has laid on them. People are choosing their happiness over what the world thinks. And choosing to take care of a pet is one way of knowing if you are good enough to be a parent,” says Greshma.


Experts say

It is understandable that people want to adopt pets, but it is not the same as having human children, says a psychologist.

“The social-psychological support theory says animals reduce loneliness as they are always available and non-judgemental. Above all, they show unconditional love. People believe that animals are more empathetic,” says Dr Shwetha B C, lecturer in psychology, BMS College for Women.

But she believes it makes more sense to give life to a human.

“There is always the possibility of pet parents getting into depression after the death of the animal, so it’s important to have a human connection. At least human lifespans aren’t as short of pet lifespans,” she says.

The world is changing rapidly and can accommodate single and old people. Our friends, on whom we constantly depend, are also getting old with us, but something will work out and people like me will be all right. Meanwhile, I can start a retirement fund.

Sreeja, Pet parent who has decided against having biological children.

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