When I moved in with my now husband, we brought along my dog and two puppies. Dog, a male black french poodle (who happens to have seizures once in a while) came into my custody and into my parents’ household because he was going to be put down by his previous owners, who just didn’t have the time for him. On the other hand, the puppies (his offspring) were to stay just until we found them a new home, which, thank heavens, happened quickly. You see, I love my dog, but he is not daddy material; he never hurt the puppies, but I guess it was because they were smart enough to walk away when he growled at them… which happened a lot.
Anyway, besides the whole stress of adjusting to each other, both Boyfriend and I had awful and unpredictable work schedules. Dog was lonely and I felt so bad, with his health being a particular concern of mine. I convinced my parents to take Dog back, but he would spend some weekends with us.
Time went by and Boyfriend talked me into getting ourselves a rescue cat. We went to the shelter and I carried the first one that rubbed against my leg and meowed before Boyfriend had a chance to elicit an opinion. We ended up with a female, of white and light brown fur – some patches gone, with grayish blue eyes – crossed eyes, to be honest. She was the kind of ugly pretty Tyra Banks talks about, or at least that is what I saw.
When my father returned home after his time in the hospital, boyfriend and I took Dog back with us, not without Dog getting a chance to say a quick goodbye to my father, who passed away a week later.
Because of said event, I got off work for a few days. I know that, had my pets not been there, I wouldn’t have left the bed, couch or rug. I wouldn’t have worn shoes, or taken daily showers or done my hair. But I had to walk Dog, clean Cat’s box, wash their bowls and feed them (or else, I’d be deaf by meow), bathe them and attend their petting demands. Routines were my safe place, I couldn’t stop doing what I had to do everyday for their well-being. I pretended they needed me, because I needed them to need me.
The clean levels we know are HusbandClean, ActuallyClean and MeClean. Somedays, before the Pet Age, I reached MonicaGellerClean and it was heaven. Chlorine, sparkling, blinding, shiny heaven. Now, it doesn’t last half a second. Dog and Cat are not keen on the mop nor do they panic, but would still be screwed if we were talking about zombies: they go to the furthest corner in the room.
And then, when the mighty mop gets unbearably close, they jump over it and run. That wouldn’t be so bad if the aforementioned zombies got too close, but it obviously spoils the recently fresh Ocean Breeze smelling floors. Kinda the same goes for dusting: I’m just finishing the last shelf or drawer chest and then I go back to realize Cat already sat in the first one and is sleeping on the third. And that’s okay. I owe them my very own As Good as It Gets scenario. Plus, frequent cleaning burns calories and I like it better than exercising. Maybe Mr. Miyagi would be proud.
Now, this is kind of weird. Once upon a time I was at work and I got a crazy urge to go home, thinking Dog was sick or Cat was hurt after a not so playful fight. I had no reason to believe any of those things, they had been doing fine all week. I decided I would sneak out between classes because I just couldn’t get them out of my head.
I arrived home and saw them thru the glass door and went in to check them. Then I realized, someone else had been there, someone who took much of my stuff.
Thing is, I believe we are that connected. Maybe God, The Universe, The Old Gods, or The New, Buddha or Cthulhu, made me think of them, knowing how important they are to me. Or maybe my pets have telepathic powers.
Regular visits to the market are not my thing. Even if I run out of coffee, I survive on the Coffee Shop near my workplace or I get through by drinking Coke. But there is no equivalent situation regarding kibble or kitty litter. And that is when I know I have to go grocery shopping. Most other things I can manage without or in small amounts from the convenience store, but whatever I buy for them must be of decent quality and in crazy big amounts.
It is pretty obvious Husband is more of Team Cat, while I am more of Team Dog. And each one of them stays at their proper side while watching TV or sleeping. I say to Husband that if we ever have a baby girl, it will be the end of him… Cat plays him better than I do. In this way, they let me glance into the future (preview a family dynamic) which allow us to think of changes and improvements needed before we head in the children direction.
Many people say pet ownership is nothing compared to having kids. I couldn’t agree more. But I look forward to share this kind of love, care, joy and responsibility with the kids I may bear or adopt, given the time. Nonetheless, Dog and Cat are already my family and life is better when they are around.
By Belen Lavin
Featured image via.