Dog Mom Says Pup Has Become 'Substitute Child' & Deserves the Same Rights as Kids

Rob and Kate Taylor
Kate Taylor/Facebook

Like so many women throughout the world, Kate Taylor of Wiltshire, England, has quietly struggled with infertility for years. After countless rounds of IVF and three separate miscarriages, the now-42-year-old and her husband, Rob, came to the realization that they may not ever conceive biological children of their own. But 13 years ago, they both became the proud parents of Poppy, a spirited mixed-breed dog who quickly warmed her way right into their hearts. Over time, Kate came to look at the beloved pup as though she were her very own child -- so much so, that she's calling for all dogs to have the same rights as children do, so they never have to be separated.

  • The eyebrow-raising campaign is at the center of a feature in the Daily Mail this week, which has left people with a LOT of opinions.

    In it, Kate describes herself as a loving and devoted mother to Poppy, whom she adopted when she was only 10 weeks old.

    As their closeness has grown, the British "mum" has gone to great lengths to be close to her pup at all times. Because she "cannot bear to be away from her pooch,"  the paper alleged, Kate quit her job as a schoolteacher so she and Poppy are never apart. And when she does have to leave home for any reason, she tries not to go for stretches longer than three hours at a time (unless she can bring Poppy with her, of course).

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  • She is taking her story public in hopes of changing laws in Britain, so more dog moms like her can get equal rights for their "children."

    By that, she means she would like to see dogs accepted in more public spaces, just the way children are. (She's also here to defend her status as a proud Dog Mom to anyone who begs to differ.)

    "Why should being a mum mean you have to give birth?" she told the Daily Mail. "I’ve come to realize that being biologically related to someone is the least of what makes you a mother. Motherhood is so much more than that. It’s about loving someone unconditionally, nurturing and caring for them. Putting their needs before your own."

  • Plus, she continued, Poppy isn't just any dog.

    The pair formed an immediate bond when Kate adopted her, she told the newspaper, thanks to Poppy's kind heart and "perceptive" nature. In the end, her four-legged child saved her from the depths of despair. 

    "The void childlessness has in my life has been very much filled by my dog Poppy, who I treat and love like any mum would their daughter," Kate told the Daily Mail.

    The now-13-year-old dog has been there for her through it all, helping the former teacher see "the light at the end of the tunnel" when she otherwise felt like there was little to live for.

    "The love and devotion that I feel towards her could not be stronger, and I know many people feel that same bond towards their canine companion," she continued.

  • After quitting her job as a primary school teacher, Kate launched the online pet directory Dotty4Paws so she could work from home.

    She claimed that being away from Poppy is unbearable -- not just because of her own attachment to the pup, but also because Poppy suffers from separation anxiety.

    "I hate leaving her. If I do, I make it as brief as possible," she shared.

  • Still, she doesn't find this predicament that strange, when you look at things through the lens of a mother and her child.

    "You wouldn't think of leaving a child alone while you're out," Kate argued, adding that "misbehaving" children are still allowed to sit in public spaces with their parents -- so why not dogs?

    "We'll go out to the pub and on the side you have a dog quietly sitting under the table, you wouldn't know she's there, and across, you'd have two kids creating mayhem," Kate noted. "Why is it they are allowed to be there, to be accepted anywhere?" 

  • Kate, who says she'd be willing to pay a fee to have her dog present with her even more, says she even lets their closeness dictate her vacations.

    The Taylors don't travel by air, because Poppy might have to be confined or travel in a separate compartment. Instead, they keep things local and stay in the UK, where they live.

    Also, in case you're wondering how Kate's husband, Rob, feels about the whole thing, he's apparently fond of Poppy, but his love isn't quite as intense as Kate's. As a result, she takes her pup on "mother-daughter day trips" quite frequently, sitting in dog-friendly cafes and pubs that allow it.

  • The British mum knows her time on Earth with Poppy is limited, though living without her is something she "can't even contemplate."

    To try and prepare for Poppy's eventual passing, the couple recently made the decision to adopt an 11-week old mixed-breed puppy they affectionately named Gertie (aka Gertrude), the Daily Mail reported.

    As you might imagine, it's been a tough transition for Poppy, who at 13 years old has pretty much ruled the roost at home since she was born. The Taylors hope things will calm down soon and, before they know it, the two dogs will be the best of friends.

    Above all, Kate hopes that people see her more than just a "crazy dog lady," and more as an animal rights activist and beloved pet owner.

    Plus, she argued, being a "real" parent doesn't necessarily make your mothering skills better.

    "Being a parent is not all about being blood related," she said. "Some natural parents can be shoddy parents who do not care about their children's welfare."