pet parent is hard

Being A Pet Parent Is Hard

Being a pet parent is hard. It is rewarding. It is heartbreaking. It caused me to spend many days of this past week crying in the shower.

Losing Jessie broke my heart. I was filled with guilt that we weren’t there in the living room petting her when she passed. I cried in the shower because of pet mom guilt. I cried in the shower because we lost her and she’d been a part of our family for close to sixteen years.

Prior to losing Jessie, Oblina had decided to poo in the bathroom during the overnight for two nights in a row. It was out of character and because it was diarrhea I decided something was wrong with her. My stomach was in knots calling the vet because having just lost Jessie my mind went to very bad places of “I can’t bear to lose another of my furry kids.” Did I go from A to Z? You bet I did. Tell me you wouldn’t have.

I cried on the way to the vet as Oblina rode quietly in her carrier. I dried my eyes, dabbed my makeup and in I went carrying Oblina and a bag of poo. They checked her out — no temperature. She wasn’t dehydrated. No issues showed up in her stool sample.

Being A Pet Parent Is Hard

My vet, whom I love, from Barre Animal Hospital and I were chatting and she thought that perhaps it was stress-related. After all, Calico Lucy has decided over the course of the past six or seven months that Oblina is prey and will do all she can to attack her.

Oblina was stressed. *I* am stressed. I currently spend my days in my office, which is close to the bedroom where Oblina essentially lives so she doesn’t get attacked by Lucy. Oblina runs from the office to the bedroom and plays with Ickis. She sleeps on the couch in my office most of the day. When she needs a litter box I carry her back to assure that Lucy won’t pounce on her.

pet parent is hardWith Oblina’s stomach issues and now that she is on prescription food I have moved her food dishes and a litter box to my bathroom so I can monitor her eating and drinking. Yes, I also spend an inordinate amount of time waiting and watching to see her poo so I can see if the medicine and food is working.

When it comes to Lucy, I am so full of mixed emotions. I absolutely love her. She is usually intensely focused on me and has never really bonded with anyone else in the house. She is six years old and I adopted her when she was a kitten. She and Oblina happily co-existed for more than a year. i am not sure what flipped the switch and caused Lucy to now spend her days trying to hunt Oblina. I have tried so many methods to detract Lucy’s attention from Oblina — to no avail. I’ve resigned myself to spending my days on high alert to keep them apart.

Enter Henrietta. She has decided, for the past three days or so, to only eat a few bites of her dinner and breakfast. She is refusing “poop snacks.” She isn’t even interested in the table scraps I tried to entice her with and she has never turned her nose up at eggs. My husband said, “She’s probably stressed because you’re stressed.” I am sure he hit it right on the nose. She is very empathetic to my moods. Did I cry in the shower about that? You bet.

I can usually rein in my emotions and “fake” not-stressed, but apparently this week it has gotten the better of me and there is no amount of faking that Hen will believe. She does eat when Tim feeds her — I don’t get that, but there you have it.

Henrietta is also in desperate need of a grooming — something I typically put off because it stresses her out so much. I have a groomer I love and trust, but when she gets home she is more of a velcro dog than usual and she is so stressed she has diarrhea for days. Now with her hip issues it is really stressful for me to schedule a grooming. All this to say that now her butt hair is way too long and I am spending my days washing her bum off when we come in from outdoors.

Thankfully Ickis is his healthy, loving and hilarious self. Murray has been chill, spending his days staring at the driveway until Tim gets home. Parker remains the “dad” of the pets and spends his day washing everyone or waiting for us to give him a bowl of crumbs from the Cheez-It bowl.

Here’s hoping that Oblina’s prescription foods and medication get her back to her usual health so we can get the litter box out of our bathroom. Yes, I now have a litterbox in the bathroom. Sigh.

The reptiles, Norbert, Daggett and Alice are their usual calm selves, only rousing to chomp down on the crickets we drop into the tank.

I love my pets with all of my heart. I would jump in front of a bus to save any one of them. But this week, they have broken my heart, stressed me beyond measure and kind of broken my spirit. I will take solace in the love they give me when we snuggle on the couch. I will enjoy the moments I spend petting Oblina and Ickis when the crawl under the blankets with me. I will laugh at Murray and his OCD tendencies when it comes to his toys. I will pick Henrietta up and snuggle her and carry her up and down the stairs. It’s my “job” as a pet parent, after all and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but some days it is hard. All of this to say, here’s hoping I cry fewer times this week.


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