Lost Identity – A Dog Owner’s Fate

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We all know that when we have children, we no longer have names. Soon we are referred to as so-and-so’s mom or dad. This is something that we, as parents, accept and even expect. Did you realize the same thing happens when you adopt a dog? Actually, the situation becomes worse in this case.

Dog owners lose all identity

The problem really came to light when we moved to this new apartment home complex. Several tenants have dogs and there is even an open grassy area where they can play and wrestle about. In the few weeks we have lived here I have come to know many of the resident dogs – Gabby, Lulu, Leroy, etc. How many of the owners’ names do I know? None, zilch, nada.

Somehow it is so easy to ask the dog’s name and even get a whole history of their birth, eating habits, training, and idiosyncrasies. Sharing treats, giving a nice scratch, or even exchanging a command or two is very normal. What to ask about how often they are taken for walks? No problem. Your dog’s having constipation? Do share. Spay or neuter surgery coming up? Congratulations! No subject is taboo with other dog owners except trying to train someone else’s dog without permission.

What’s kind of considered weird and a bit overfamiliar is asking or even making non-dog-related chitchat with the other owners.I don’t know why, that’s just how it is. On the off occasion that you do exchange formalities, you never remember them nor do you recognize them if they do not have their canine companion nearby.

Has this happened to you? What are you known as in your dog-lover community?

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About Author

TerriAnn van Gosliga is the main writer at Cookies & Clogs and Driving Mamas. Born & raised in the SF Bay Area but loves to travel. She's been married to her best friend for 15 years, homeschools her 14-year-old daughter, and has an accident-prone lab mix dog.


  1. Is that little Speckles?? My goodness she’s all grown up! Can you believe she’ll be one on the 27th?!? We have found we have limited identities in our neighborhood as well. Everyone knows the dogs’ names and we are Marzi’s or Rascal’s or Kodi’s “mom” or “dad”. A few folks we know well we will chat with but otherwise it is the same experience for us, even after living here for 16 months. Insane, no? We thought our dogs would be a nice way to meet folks and they are – but not so much for building friendships since the commonality is the dogs themselves. Ah well. It gets us outside and saying hi to a lot of folks and their pups! 🙂 How are you liking your new home?

    • Yes, ‘little’ Speckles is now 65 lbs. She’s about knee-height but the length and chubbiness of a regular lab. I know, almost one year but FAR from losing puppiness! Is it the 27th? I thought the pups were estimated around the 22nd…oh well, you would know better 🙂 Sorry to hear that you’re experiencing something similar. Hopefully the bonds you do make some neighbors are good ones. We love our new place – so much quieter, cleaner, and safer! Thanks for asking. How’s life on your end? Your blog is full of fun excursions and experiences lately!

    • So you can somewhat relate 😛 Our old neighborhood was a bit sketchy so we couldn’t walk much around there. When we moved we lost a backyard but gained a nice walking/playing area 🙂

  2. I have a dog but we don’t have huge areas where dogs “meet up” or anything so haven’t been in that position before,but I have heard of this happen with friends in other areas too!

    • Well, our pup LOVES other dogs and people so we have to take her to socialize a lot. Plus, she never runs full-out like she does with other dogs. Glad you don’t have to experience the identity loss 😛

  3. Luckily I don’t have this problem, people call me Jenn. LOL But I can totally see where you are coming from! I tend to only hang out with my friends that are dog owners…when I got to the dog park, people always ask my dog’s names but never my own!

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