In the U.S. we still face a pretty large struggle for parental leave, both paid and unpaid. Across the Atlantic in the U.K., where both maternity and paternity leave is already mandated, a few companies are moving on to giving employees time off for when fur babies join the family. Dubbed “pawternity” leave, this paid time off can vary from a few hours to a couple of months, and has already been met with a wide range of responses. As a U.S. citizen without any guaranteed parental leave, I began rolling my eyes at this prospect. But as a pet owner to a rescue dog who had serious anxiety issues when I first brought him home, I have to agree on some level with the value of such a proposition. For new pet owners who work long hours or who aren’t able to attend to the urgent housebreaking needs of a new and furry family member, this type of leave could be extremely beneficial for establishing a secure and loving bond. Over 7.7 million animals in the U.S. enter animal shelters each year, and there are also estimated to be over 70 million stray cats in this country. Perhaps a measure like pawternity leave would encourage more people to become pet owners (although a couple of months off for a new pet arrival seems pretty extreme). However, as important as our canine and feline friends are, we can’t overshadow the importance of first and foremost establishing paid parental leave in America to care for our human children.