I raise some animals as companions, some as work partners, some as entrées. Line up any three animals on this farm and one could be a business partner, the other a vehicle, and the next dinner. I also don't see any of my animals as pets. Even my dogs, all of them doing (or have done) what they were originally bred to do. Jazz and Annie pulled me across the Idaho tundra on a dogsled. Gibson works sheep. While they watch movies on the couch with me in an cool house, I see them not as faux-children, but as teammates. I see every animal on this farm as a member of team Cold Antler.
I do not have a particularly warm/fuzzy feeling about any of the other animals here. Even my dogs don't get much of a parental vibe out of me. I care for them all (and the dogs I love as close friends) but I'm not this place's mother: I'm the quarterback and choreographer. These are my people, this farm, and it is why I so often refer to Cold Antler as We. The royal we, as in "We didn't get the other four turkeys yet" or "We're building a stable before fall and somehow getting this chimney installed and and legal" I'm always asked who the rest of "we" is, meaning what man came into the picture? I explain the same thing every time. The Farm (capital F) is me, too.
Ever play a team sport? Remember walking into that highschool locker room and talking over plays and assists, passes and strategies? That same camaraderie and mindset is how I feel when I walk out my front door first thing in the morning. This is my sport. These are my players: my pony, my sheep, my dog at my side. We're all members of a team and the opponents we are up against are doubt, fear, and the slightest waiving from the long-term goal that fuels this place: to be a successful, sustainable farm.
We need jerseys.
P.S. It was not my intention to knock the notion of pets, or to say my dogs aren't. I was trying to explain how I see us as a team instead of a mother to a child. Some folks in the comments seemed to think I took umbridge with the idea of my animals as companions. I do not.