No, I am not one of those people who dresses their dog up in disgustingly cute pink coats with matching booties, and says things like “mommy wuvs you” to my dog, but I do love my dog just as much as my kids. I am fearless when I think she is hurting or scared, and tender when she feels sick. I love her as much even though she has fur and burps right in my face, I guess she thinks it’s “Sharing”.
I want only the best for her, just like any parent, and can’t imagine my life without her in it, and wouldn’t want to! I find myself struggling with all the things a mother tries to balance, kids, career, the endless to do lists, cupcakes for those irritating bake sales, picking up poop and satisfying everyone’s needs in a single day. I guess the difference between Xara and my other babies is that she only ever wants my time and attention, her only demand of me is a walk and a scratch on the head, pretty cool, for a kid!
The similarities are, she has the same needs, and she is happy to have me around, she needs attention, the need for love and praise, guidance, exercise, health care, and strong leadership. Which I gladly accept as part of being a mother.
It strikes me as the ultimate betrayal of nature, that we invest so much into our kids, fur and skin alike, we tirelessly do for them, and see to their every need happily, and then one day they either grow up and leave us, or they pass on. I think I would almost prefer that Xara just grow up and move away like the skin kids, because it would be like setting her free into the world totally prepared for whatever comes her way.
But every time I look at her, more so now because she is 11 years old and turning grey, I get this little pang in my stomach because I know that unlike the skin kids there will come the day that she can’t get up anymore, when she can’t pee, or chase the ball like that young puppy did, and when she will look up at me as if to say “I’m ready, and its time for you to let me go!”
I guess as a parent your greatest hope is that you will not live long enough to see your children die, that they will do as nature intended and out live you, but with Xara I know that will not be the case, so the mom in me aches already, just a little bit, but it’s there. Each year that passes I feel it a little more profoundly, nagging at me like a forgotten chore.
You see I have lost pets before, and it hurts just as if it were a person, no difference at all. It’s funny how we say lost, like they just disappeared, and it never gets easier, you just get better at dealing with it! I remember a friend had a dog, and she got old and hurt all the time, but she just wouldn’t let go, and my friend said I think, she thinks I still need her, or her job is not done yet. Then one day I got the call.., she said she had to take her precious fur kid to the vet and say goodbye. She said I looked down at her and she wagged her tail and kissed my nose and looked at me like “My job is done, I can go now, because I know you will be ok without me.”
She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep and my friends said she whispered in her ear, “Fly to heaven baby.” and she was gone. I can’t tell you how that filled me with dread, because I knew that day would come for me too, and for sweet Xara… sooner or later but it would come, make no mistake about that.
But Being a pet mother makes me the eternal optimist, and I focus on today, and how she starts to do this weird little happy dance just because I looked at her, and how when you head for the door she looks at you as if to say “You’re leaving? ” Without me? you better come back soon!” I take great pleasure in the way she walks over to me while I’m cooking dinner and rests her head on my knee, her eyes pleading, “please, oh please drop that piece of steak!”
I guess much like with my skin kids being a mother is the greatest gift you can be given, to have these little beings touch your life in such a profound way, they leave this little indelible mark on your soul that never leaves you even long after they are gone, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
So to all you pet mothers and dads celebrate them! Love them and just know that they love you in the most profound way possible, and be good to your fur kids, and your skin kids alike, be worthy of them! Don’t abuse the trust and the love they place in you, instead revel in it! Let it fill you up and remember that this is what life is about, one life touching another, sharing experiences and love and growing because of them.
And while you are at it celebrate yourself, because there is no greater joy than being a parent, you are never an owner, just because they have fur, understand that you are a parent through and through…….so enjoy the ride!