A woman said having a child made her realize she loved her dog as much as her baby, sparking a debate on TikTok
TikToker Andrea Cavaleri told TikTokers the love she feels for her pet is "the same thing" as what she feels for her baby.
In the viral video, Cavaleri told viewers parents used to insist it wasn't.
Many viewers agreed with Cavaleri, saying the love can be equal even if it feels different.
TikToker Andrea Cavaleri told viewers that she'd realized after having a child that the love she'd felt for her pet was "the same thing" she felt for her three-month-old child. While most people support this notion, some are adamant that a bond with a child is deeper and more profound.
In a video she posted on February 6, Cavaleri explained that her friends had repeatedly set this expectation for her before she had her own child. But she does not want to make her dog, Nala, her second priority.
"I never understood how someone could just disregard their first baby, which is usually their dog or their cat or their bunny — like that is your child, they need you," she said.
In a February 2 video, she exemplified her point. "Feeling so much dog mom guilt lately," Cavaleri captioned it, cuddling with her dog. "When your baby is napping...The dishes can wait. The laundry can wait. The cleaning can wait. The emails can wait. Go cuddle your first baby. It's a lot of change for them too. They need you," the on-screen caption read.
@drecavaleri Feeling so much dog mom guilt lately 💔 #dogmom #momtok #newmom #furbaby #baby #dogsoftiktok #rescuedog ♬ cardigan - Taylor Swift
Cavaleri also added that, before she was a mom, she would often tell friends that she could already relate to their love because of how she felt for her dog. But she would always receive pushback, hearing, "It's not the same thing, and you don't know because you don't have kids yet."
"Now I have a three-month-old child and I'm here to tell you that it is the same thing," Cavaleri told her 140,000 followers on TikTok. "My love has not changed." In the span of a day, Cavaleri's video has racked up 1 million views.
Many people were relieved to hear Cavaleri's perspective. Dozens agreed with her, saying they also loved their dogs "just as much as my kids," or expressed that while the love for a pet is "different" than the love they feel for a child, it still feels equal.
"It's not the same love, but I think they are equal," one commenter wrote. "I'd do anything for my dog and my kids."
@drecavaleri Replying to @summer.eventing mamas do you agree or disagree with this?! #momtok #newmom #dogmom #dogsoftiktok #rescuedog #baby #furbaby ♬ original sound - Andrea Cavaleri
However, some viewers adamantly disagreed with Cavaleri. "Dogs are dogs. People are people, and I do not love my dog or any previous pet I've had like I love my human family," one commenter wrote. "That's too bad," Cavaleri responded.
"I never stopped loving or caring for my pets when I had kids. However, my pets are not equivalent to my kids. My kids are my #1 priority," another wrote. "Priorities, care, and responsibility is different than love," Cavaleri responded.
Others told Cavaleri that her feelings may change as her child grows up. "It's a different love," one user assured her. "Your baby is just existing right now. Wait until they develop their own hobbies and interests."
Conversations about parenthood, pets, and the concept of "fur babies" have become mainstream. In January 2022, Pope Francis suggested to a Vatican audience that people who elect not to become parents, and who may even "have dogs and cats that take the place of children," were acting selfishly. On TikTok, however, where up to 80% of the users are Gen Z and millennials, users can find more open and diverse lifestyles and beliefs.
Cavaleri's bigger message, it appears, is warning couples who opt to get a dog because they're not ready to have kids to treat their pet as if it were their dog. "You better love that dog and keep that dog when you do have your kids," she said in a TikTok.
Many TikTok users simply took issue with idea that love can be a finite resource. "Why do people feel attacked by someone loving their dog the maximum amount?" another top comment read. "We shouldn't be putting a limit on love."
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