Who Babysits Your Pets?

Photo of Prophet finding Liesa

Where you going, Mom?

I’m heading out of town today and my “babies” are staying home.  It’s okay.  They’re in good hands with my good guy.  But often we leave them with others, and sometimes board them at Petsmart.  I feel so–torn.  It’s not like Proph and Nalla lay on the guilt or anything.  They just look at you with hope and bouncy steps until you say, “No, dear, you’re staying home.”

Prophet actually sighs when he hears those words.  He still tries to push out the door, but with a little less enthusiasm. I’ve stifled his happy dance.  Nalla looks at me from her kitty-ring of fur, blinks a couple of times and seems to pretend it doesn’t matter that I’m going away.  But she and I know–her kitty litter won’t be cleaned quite as often, and meals won’t follow the routine we’re both comfy with. We won’t be cuddling on my bed where she taps my jaw to say “love you, Mom.” No, I don’t suffer any guilt. Right.

Nalla the cat napping with books

I won’t miss you, not one bit.

What do you do when you’re going on a trip and the pets stay home?

We’ve had enough pets and trips that you’d think leaving for a few days would be a snap. But here are some things I need to do before I board a plane:

  • Type up Instructions — yep, even though my good guy is around pretty much 24-7, I find it always better to write a few things down–medicine doses and times, meal amounts, where the leash is, and where a human treat might be found for when pet times get stressful.
  • Look up and make sure the vet phone number is handy.  Duh, right?
  • Take Proph for a good walk before I go–walks might not be regular until I get home again.
  • Clean Nalla’s litter box–again an iffy thing when I’m away (heck, it can get to be an iffy thing when I’m home–I never claimed to be the world’s best housekeeper–okay housekeeping and me are NOT even passing acquaintances sometimes)
  • Worry, fuss, and nag both pets and “dad” to be good, eat right, and get some exercise.  Visions of Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith show come to mind.

When did pets stop being the animals we housed and start becoming the replacements for children long since grown and gone?  I feel silly even writing this post. But then I look into those big brown eyes filled with the innocent hope for a happy day, and I melt again.  I hear kitty scratching on my carpet and turn to see my littlest buddy glancing my way with the “you gonna pay attention to me?” look.

When I get home, sometimes Prophet blocks the door so I have to shove hard to get in.  It’s his way of saying I’ve been a bad girl, I think.  I’m not welcome for at least five seconds.  And then he’s running around with something in his mouth ready for me to play chase with him and give him a treat.  Nalla will come out of hiding long enough to let me know it’s time to eat, even if it isn’t, and I feel that all is right with the world once more.

Wishing you a happy, pet-filled week. I’m off to write some instructions . . . now where is that vet’s phone number?


The Importance of Pets

Always alert for a treat, Macio is Colorado DanceSport's Pet Ambassador.

Always alert for a treat, Maceo is Colorado DanceSport’s Pet Ambassador.

At Colorado DanceSport, the place where I learn ballroom dancing each week, the owners share their dogs with everyone who comes in.  Maceo steals my heart with his obvious joy to see me.  Maddy has crooked teeth that make me giggle (shared experience, except I had braces to straighten me out). The excitement of these dogs who happily welcome us probably have something to do with the treats they’ll find in my dance bag, but still, there is a boost of instant happiness every time I go to put on my dancing shoes. I wonder why more businesses don’t have furry friends.

Maddy of the crooked teeth and huge heart.

Maddy of the crooked teeth and huge heart.


Right now, Prophet is laying on the floor while I type my blog post, his tummy grumbling from some poorly digested poopsicle, no doubt.

Last night, I didn’t feel well, and Nalla seemed to sense it.  She cuddled up, started licking my hand and settled in to purring me to sleep.

And right now, each of these thoughts is putting a smile on my face.

Prophet helps me write

Prophet helps me write

You can say all you want about the germs, the smells, the cost, and the responsibility of pet care giving, but I believe that pets help you live a better life, if not a longer one.  So I did a little internet research, mixed it with my own observations and came up with some great reasons pets are important.



Top 5 list of the Importance of Pets:

  1. Pets encourage you to exercise — If you know me, you know that I think of exercise as some disgusting way to turn sweaty and waste your time.  But walking?  Who can resist that?  Especially when your best friend needs it so much.  Turns out, walking is considered one of the best low-impact exercises a person can do.  Who knew?
  2. Pets are real mood boosters — Just having a cat or dog near you, with their silly sounds and their unconditional love creates a welcome happiness inside (at least until you find the latest accident on your white carpeting).  This increase in happiness helps reduce stress and in some cases even high blood pressure.
  3. Pets encourage social interaction — People who might otherwise pass you by as you walk your dog, easily stop to comment on your furry friend.  These small conversations help make our days brighter and us more a part of where we are.  One time, my family and I were walking in Washington D.C. and we saw a German shepherd.  I happened to have dog treats in my pocket, so a quick word with the caregiver, and I was making a new friend while my family was meeting a nice person to boot.  Our trip was more comfortable for the engagement. Apparently socially active people tend to live longer, healthier lives with fewer incidents of dementia.
  4. Pets make you laugh — Okay, so my dog eats poo.  My cat will only play with one, totally unrecognizable toy.  They chew things they’re not supposed to, dig in the trash, or even sneak up on furniture that is a no-no.  But whether they feel it or not, those guilty looks that turn into instant and boundless joy when they find out they’re not in trouble have my special guy and me laughing and telling each other pet anecdotes that brighten our days regularly.  And, laughter jump starts chemicals in the brain that help keep you healthy.
  5. Pets are amazing heroes— Beyond the stories of pets who save families from such disasters as fires in the house or intruders, I came across a site that lists seven surprising ways dogs are helping in monitoring people’s health, including detecting cancer, low-blood sugar in diabetics, seizures in epileptics, steering people away from foods they’re allergic to and more. It seems, the more we care for pets, the more they care for us.
Nalla the cat at our faucet

Who says cats aren’t funny? Nalla at her beauty spa.

Well, it’s 7:30 already.  I need to get to my dog and my walk.  Nalla has had her breakfast and is busy filling our home with the white noise of her snoring.

What about you?  What does your pet do to make you smile and keep you healthy?