As some of you may know I never quite got around to having children, but I have been a surrogate “mom” to countless wild cats, four dogs, a lizard, a baby bunny and a canary.
I like to think I have a way with animals, but the truth is, I am a quick learner and by this point in my life they have me very well trained.
My education began with the arrival of an eight ounce grey kitten … who quickly taught me that the surest way to put a stop to his Tarzan drapery performance was to remember to close the living room door.
Then there was my neutered male cat “Al” who taught me that miracles do happen when he brought me home a litter of kittens … (I am still trying figure out how he managed that one).
They were so helpless and cute that quickly took them in without a thought, only to have Al himself vacate the premises in the middle of the night to go to live permanently with the tenant next door. He ignored me for weeks and could not be coaxed home on any account; that is until he caught a serious cat virus.
Apparently he was not too proud to remember who his Momma was then – he staggered onto my patio on a Sunday afternoon so dehydrated he could barely stand and had to be rushed for afterhours emergency medical treatment (at twice the price no less). A week of treatment in intensive care and another week of pills at home and he was right as rain. The first time I opened the door to let him out however … yup …. Gone with not so much as a whisk of gratitude!
You might think that this would have been enough to cure me of my cat addiction and you would be right. I just switched to dogs instead.
Having heard that dogs were somewhat needier than their feline counterparts, I did lots of research on the characteristics of various breeds and on how to be a good dog-parent. For my troubles I eventually wound up with a Westie named Katie who I spoiled so thoroughly that she developed a TV addiction and snarled at anyone who tried to change the channel during the commercials because “she” was hoping to see other dogs in them. (No, I am not kidding)
So it was with a mixture of lust and trepidation that I adopted my Yorkie “Sunny” a year and a half ago; and I can now say that my education has progressed, although in this case I can’t really claim to have been a star pupil. In his efforts to teach me to pick up after myself he has devoured: a wax candle, a tube of cortisone cream, a flip flop, 2 leather belts, one half of two different pairs of black pumps, a rubber bath mat, a couple dozen hibiscus flowers and six pieces of Godiva chocolate.
Suffice it to say that at least two of the above necessitated frantic phone calls to the vet with similar responses:
“Is he conscious?”
“Is he having convulsions?”
For his trouble I am now a neat freak who has kicked her chocolate addiction once and for all. My parenting lessons are a however are a work in progress. This morning he tried to drag my bra under the bed. Apparently I need to vacuum more frequently …