Lessons My Pup Taught Me About Parenthood

Ashley Strahm
8 min readSep 20, 2021

Animals have a way of exposing our inadequacy.

Before all of you parents begin ranting about how keeping an animal alive isn’t even remotely as hard as raising a child —


That’s the reason why I’m writing this piece, just like why I wrote this one.

It’s because of my reverence and appreciation for the miracles that are dedicated, committed parents that I remain childfree. Rudy (our little, neurotic Schnoodle above) is as close to motherhood as I’ll get. I know that taking care of a pet doesn’t even scratch the surface of how challenging I imagine it must be to parent a child… and yet this experience has been the perfect degree of difficult. It is the very experience of living with this animal that assures me I’d never survive being a mother.

Thank God for dogs.

My sweet husband is a cat person. He loves seeing food magically disappear from a little kitty bowl, with the only evidence of feline friendship being the short hairs that clung to his t-shirts in childhood. He loved the occasional pet and purr interaction. Drool, barking, and potty training felt all too intense. Fair, I guess.

I grew up with incredibly unique dogs. A whip-smart Akita-lab mix, a wolflike Siberian husky who served as a plush, warm, companion…



Ashley Strahm

Jersey roots, Durham fruit. Committed to justice, enthralled by stories, and inspired by an equitable future for us all.