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Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:
Is it a sin to treat my dog like a child? He’s a good dog and I pamper him a bit, but people seem to be thinking that he’s like a baby for me because I am a childless person.
It is not a sin (i.e., sin is “humanity’s rejection of God and opposition to him” CCC#386) to treat your dog or any other pet as a child, but I would challenge those tempted to do so to reflect on the practice. I always cringe a bit interiorly when I hear someone speaking to their dog or cat while referring to themselves as “Mommy” or “Daddy.” It always sounds to me that such persons have a deep affective need in their lives which is not being fulfilled by human relationships.
Enjoy the gift of companionship and presence a dog or cat gives to in one’s life. But also find a way to care for real people in a way that creates real bonds of human affection and love in your life (e.g., foster parenting or Big Brother/Big Sister programs).