A lot of people treat their pets like children, but a North Vancouver woman is taking that concept to a new level by taking maternity leave to welcome the arrival of her new puppy.

Tanya Oliva decided to take some time off of work to spend time with her new dog, Casper.

"I'm on maternity leave for my new puppy," she told CTV Vancouver. "It's a beautiful thing when you have a four-legged child."

She said that while it may seem unusual that she is taking leave to care for a pet, she sees no difference between this and the leave required to care for a newborn baby.

"I believe in making sure every man, woman, child, animal has the best chance in life, and by taking maternity leave for my puppy he is going to be just a great dog," she said. "So for me, investing in this time is investing in a lifetime of a wonderful pet."

And while she has not technically been granted maternity leave to care for Casper, Oliva has taken paid vacation in order to spend those first formative weeks with him.

"It's not traditional maternity leave, but when you have a new puppy you need to take time off to socialize it, and Casper is worth this time," she said.

And she is not sparing any expense when it comes to his care. She carries the tiny brown dog around in a luxury Burberry dog carrier that she bought for about $300.

It's pricey, she admits, but not unreasonable.

"He gets the best of everything, because this is my child," she said.

Oliva recently brought Casper to a bench that was erected in memory of her mother and two former dogs, so that he could be in the spirit of her other family members.

"This is a place of good memories," she said.

With a report from CTV Vancouver's Mike McCardell