Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pet ownership and language

Different parts of the world view pets and animals in different ways. It's a difference based in culture, religion, and climate. The differences are mirrored in language as well.

In the US, I've noted a tendency for people with pets to no longer call themselves "pet owners" - many say "pet parent" or "pet guardian." At the same time there's a movement for stronger laws protecting pets, and for laws punishing animal abusers. This is wonderful. Caring for our furry friends can lead to improvements not only for them, but to a more caring society on all levels.

I'm Swedish originally, and I've noticed a couple of fascinating differences I never thought of before I moved to the US. For example, we have special words for pet parents.

A mother of a child is called "mamma" and the father is "pappa." In relation to a pet, the words are "matte" and "husse." If you watch someone else's kids you can be a "dagmamma" - mom during daytime - and if you watch someone else's pet you're a "dagmatte."

Here, I call myself a doggie-mom and around other people I tell the dogs to "come to mommy." When no one else is around I speak Swedish with them. Poor babies have to be bi-lingual...

I think language matters because it influences our way of thinking. Do you think it matters? What do you call yourself in relation to your pets?

~ Maria Sadowski


  1. That's interesting to think about how different cultures perceive our relationships between us and our dogs. Very cool that your dogs are challenged to be bilingual! They're definitely smart enough to be!

    1. Thank you for coming over! These cultural differences intrigue me. =D

  2. We are bilingual...English and German. People are always amazed that we can understand two languages but it is not that hard. Mom says it is useful as the other dogs don't know German commands and if she says it in one language and we don't respond, she can try the other. Glad you have bilingual pups too :)

    1. If one language doesn't work, try another. I love it! =D