Tag Archives: pet

These Are Not Good Things

daisy-001

After constant debate, I decided that euthanizing Daisy was the only humane decision I could make. I know that mentally, she was not ready, nor was I, which is where I struggled. But I could not do anything to keep her body in sync with her mind, and it was causing her to suffer.

So now there is none. Within three months, I’ve said goodbye to both my dog and my cat.

I came home yesterday and cleaned. Her litter boxes, her food bowls. Today I washed my sheets and finally washed our bathroom floor mats- after nearly a year in the laundry. She had started defecating on them, so I could no longer put them out.

This morning, the sound of a cat howling outside my window woke me up around 6am. This is not normal, but I refused to get out of bed and look. No. I’m not taking in anything more right now.

My son and I finally moved the 200# broken turtle tank to the garage, and as expected, it wreaked havoc on my back. I ended up sleeping for about four hours later in the afternoon. Throughout it all, I kept waking up to the feel of a cat jumping on my bed. My old cat, Sigfried. He had the mass to make that small disturbance. Daisy did not. The only time I felt her on the bed was when she started to lick my forehead. I was exhausted, yet I think in control of my capacities. It felt so real, I forced myself awake each time. What if it is a cat? Like, the boys found the one howling outside the window from this morning and brought him inside? What if it isn’t a cat, and I left the back door open, and someone’s on my bed?

I set out the bathroom floor mats when I got up. The fuzzy thick ones that feel so good on your feet, and it was not a good thing. I stared at them, turned away.

I made my bed, and after some thought, threw my pillow in the center of the bed, as she’s no longer taking up the right side. And that does not feel like a good thing. I stared, and turned away.

My clean house. No accidents to clean up after. And it does not feel like a good thing.

Yesterday was rough. All I felt was loss, and flipping through my photo albums, my sense of loss was amplified by the amount of pets that have come through my home and are no longer with me, and it struck me as a failure.

But today was better. My stepdaughter said that all those pets and animals and fosters remain a positive aspect of her childhood, and that helped enormously. So I thought of Daisy’s goofiness. Her strange, unique meow. How she liked to bite my ex-husband every morning way back then. How I found her, sitting outside her former person’s house, patiently waiting for someone to claim her again. How she always liked the warmest part of the house (on top of the lizards’ cage in our Colorado house, under the covers with my son at my mom’s house, or on the heat vents at our current house), how she still zipped around the house in a fit of play until last year. How she detested me every time I brought home a new litter of kittens. But then how instantaneously she forgave me when they went away again. How she has slept by my head for most of our 16 years together. How she use to bite me if my hand came too close during the night. Brat. Her former name was Sassy, and that she was.

She was a good thing.

Sampson

I came home from my work’s Christmas party last night with this……anxiety attack. Something was wrong. I went through the events of the day, trying to figure out what I’d done. I couldn’t find anything, but I knew, something was wrong. ‘Knew’. I went to the living room at midnight to maybe watch some TV, maybe calm down some. I turned on the light and looked immediately to the bird cage. But he was covered up for the night. #2 did so before he went to bed, so if something was wrong with Sampson, he’d have noticed. I had the urge to check on him, but waking him up has diastrous consequences, so I left him alone, watched TV.

I went to bed, and talked myself through it: Everything is fine. Nothing happened, I didn’t make a fool of myself at the party, I won that bingo game fairly, I didn’t forget anything, this is an illogical feeling.

I had plans of going to my Writers’ Group meeting this morning. It was our Holiday party too. Had to get up early, wake the boys, buy some food to bring, get myself some tea, and make the hour drive down. I was going to make a day of it: drag the monsters with me, force them to entertain themselves for a couple hours in the library until my meeting ended, then we’d go out for lunch, get their hair cut, do some shopping.

Getting out of bed was so odd. I was tired, and shaky, and felt off. I debated for an hour, then decided not to go after all. Then changed my mind again. It’s just me being poopy. Again. Get out of bed. I asked #2 to feed him while I brushed my teeth, and then within five minutes, he came running to the bathroom and just stood there for abit before finally speaking. Sampson’s dead. 

I heard the words, but couldn’t make sense of it. Dead? Why would he say ‘dead’? That’s preposterous. Maybe he means something else. Someone else.

Then it hit me, and I ran out, and it was true. And the feeling of wrongness settled away.

He was further along than just second-hand when I adopted him ten years ago. Estimated by his previous person to be at least in his mid 40’s back then, he was untrained, unhandlable, and fairly vicious when out of the cage. But he called me ‘baby’ when he saw me, he loved to sing and whistle, and he loved to ring this obnoxiously loud bell. He’d yell out the boys names in the other’s aggravated tone, would yell Mooooom! (also in the boys’ aggravated tone), would laugh hysterically when someone else did, swore like a college bachelor, and went into a long string of one-sided phone commentary whenever it rang or if he saw me merely touch one. He adored my three year old niece, who was the only one ever allowed to reach in his cage and play with his toys without retribution or threat. I’ve tried to guess how many people had him before me based on things he’d say, the changes in his tone of voice, the different things that upset or cheered him, but never succeeded.

This poor boy. I can’t imagine his life was all sunshine, and he’s managed through the hard times our family has faced. I hope he knows how much we loved him, how greatly we’re missing him right now.

No matter how many times it happens, the death of a pet has not gotten any easier.

The Pet-Child Enrichment

It has been studied and well-documented that pets are good for your health. They can help people stay calm, they add years to your life. Some nursing homes are finally allowing either pets or resident animals to live inside the facility to add enrichment to the residents’ lives; after Katrina, the depth of the person-pet bond finally clicked into some people’s heads and rescue rules in times of disaster have been rewritten.  Libraries and schools employ dogs as reading buddies to help promote literacy. It goes on and on.

My kids are pretty enriched. I’ve worked in veterinary clinics since high school and have brought home quite a zoo over the years, since before they were born.

BOP

This is Bop, one of my medical fosters after his fracture repair needed to become an amputation. LOVED that little kitten!

bottle babies

And further back when I did bottle babies.

suni and luna

🙂 My girls. I adopted the shepherd from one of my jobs during school, and the pit was a failed foster from another job. I will have to tell her story one day.

Edgar

Edgar, the yellow-bellied slider. A rescue.

Chicken

Chicken’s not really a rescue. Pond store dared me. Told me if I could catch her (as a tadpole in their pond at the end of the season), she was free.  Now we have a frog.

Cats, dogs, lizards, snakes. Wild bird rehab. There’s been lots coming through my doors.

Then there’s Sampson. The purpose of this post, which is about the enrichment pets provide.

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I can assure you, this isn’t going to be what you think.

Sampson. Another adoption from one of my clinic jobs. 40+ year old blue front Amazon I brought home in 2005. I’d grown up with a lilac-crowned Amazon, whom I adored. Sampson had been owned by his previous person for over 20 years. Who knows how many times he’d changed hands before that, or how old he trully is. He has several different sounds. When he’s happy, he sings in an old lady voice. That one’s my favorite.  If I’m on the floor and not moving, he gets very upset and repeats something I can’t understand in a lower tone over and over until I get up. That freaks me out. I almost don’t want to know what he’s saying or what he’s seen before. He has a crow squawk. Really odd. He screams shrill enough to clear the house and explode your ear drums. But he calls me baby, and currently no one else does (!).

And then…..I’m reminded that his previous owner had him during his college/bachelor days.

This is what I came home to awhile ago:

“Mom, Sampson swore at us today,” says #2.

“What did you do?” My immediate retort, after an internal, oh crap.

“I didn’t do anything! #1 was eating popcorn on the couch next to Sampson and Sampson wanted some, but #1 told him no, so Sampson called him a f-r.”

Yes. Then there’s this. As if listening to the boys bicker and name call wasn’t enough, now there’s this potential odd little three-way, where the bird will win because:

“#2, just because the bird swears does NOT mean it’s ok for you to say it.”

Yes, pets enrich our lives.