The Fur Babies series has received criticism for its overly sentimental tone and disregard for the well-being of animals.
There is a high possibility that I will receive coal in my stocking for being cool towards Fur Babies. The series is incredibly heartwarming and practically begs to be loved. It follows pet owners and their breeding journey, with the help of two attractive vets who offer guidance and promote responsible pet breeding practices.
The popular genre of pet TV focuses on the lives of pet owners, and casting has prioritized this aspect. Holly, along with her two sons Charlie and Finley, are preparing for their young chocolate labrador, Bella, to have puppies. As we follow their story, we also get to know more about Holly’s life and her strong connection to animals. Another family featured on the show is Kelly and her son Ronnie, who are expecting a litter from their British short-hair blue cat, Leyla. Through this, we discover the deep bond between Kelly, Ronnie, and Leyla. While not as prominently featured, another family must reconsider what they know about their male guinea pig, Splodge. His appearance on the show may reveal a surprising secret.
We document the pregnancies of Bella, Leyla, and Splodge, including Bella’s trip to see the stud (where she is seen playing in the grass with her new companion), their visits to veterinarians, and the birth of their litters, which is mostly captured on film. Those with a fascination for animals are likely to find this captivating. The two veterinarians featured are Dr. James Greenwood, based in Bristol, and Dr. Bolu Eso, based in London. They exude positivity and optimism, even when things don’t go exactly as planned. Eso wisely remarks, “Nature can be cruel at times.”
The show openly embraces its intended audience, as evident from its title. If you identify with the term “Fur Babies” for your pets, then you will feel a connection to this show. I hold no opinion on those involved; they clearly have a strong bond with their animals and provide them with good care. These animals bring joy and improve the well-being of their owners. One participant shares her experience of how her pet helped her through a difficult time. The simple tasks of caring for a dog, such as taking it for walks, feeding and ensuring its happiness, can provide comfort during moments of hardship and hopelessness.
There is an abundance of sugary moments, enough to potentially cause a sense of being full. There are also instances of lightheartedness, often occurring when real individuals are the focus of documentaries. “Oh, it’s another male,” remarks one “pet owner” as the litter continues to grow; she desires a female so that she can keep the puppy with its mother as a companion. The story of Splodge, viewed as one of the males for a little too long, is quite comical. Evidently, guinea pigs are notoriously challenging to determine the gender of.
However, when considering the show’s premise rather than the participants, I begin to feel uneasy. The entire series relies heavily on anthropomorphism, which I am hesitant to do with animals. While domesticated animals may live with humans, it is important to respect that they are not simply extensions of ourselves. Yet in this show, they are portrayed with human desires and emotions: do they flirt, feel lonely, or have a strong instinct to become mothers? As Eso points out, nature can be harsh at times, but even this is a projection of our own values onto other species. Referring to people as “pet parents” when it is the animals who are doing the work seems like an odd way of framing the situation.
I understand that this is intended to be a pleasant and lighthearted piece of content for the holidays. If you simply want to relax and observe the wonders of nature, this will suffice. There is a significant focus on being responsible and following best practices when it comes to breeding. The veterinarians stress that breeding an animal is a significant responsibility and commitment, and there are even suggestions on how to do it correctly. However, for me, Fur Babies is more about the people involved rather than the animals, and as a documentary, the emphasis on human subjects is disproportionate.