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?


Animal Communication & Prophet

Do you believe in magic?

I don’t.  Magic is for dreamers, innocents, and people who “can’t hack reality.”  My life has been “very real” since I can remember (I’ve been accused of sounding overwhelmingly cynical at times).

But in my heart . . .

…There still resides the little person who could turn trees into great sailing ships in the sky, and who was going to solve the mystery of who shot President Kennedy.  I still believe that anything you can envision, you can make happen.  Heck, I’ve had my dream of being published fulfilled, right?  For me, magic can exist–as long as I’m not foolish about it.

This summer I decided to put skepticism aside and visit an animal communicator.  My good guy and I had watched the Anna Breytenbach video of how “Diablo,” the black panther, became “Spirit,” and were anxious to find reason to believe in such a beautiful event. Animal communication is a growing industry, filled with–you guessed it–good communicators and charlatans.  These experts have “tuned in” to the thoughts and feelings of animals and have acted as interpreters of pets’ thoughts and needs.

We decided it would be great to take Prophet to visit Rebecca Blackbyrd when she was holding sessions at our local pet store, Lewis and Bark.

Rebecca isn’t a woo-woo looking or sounding kind of person.  There were no dramatics in our visit.  You be the judge on whether or not animal communication is real:


Rebecca Blackbird, Animal Communicator

Rebecca Blackbird, Animal Communicator


The petite, pretty woman came into the store from a side door, dog water dish in hand. There were no flowing gowns or “Madam Zelda” aires, just a nice person who looked like she could be  your next door neighbor.  She glanced at us, but focused on Proph and asked if this was him by name. When we said yes, she just smiled and watched him.


We went outside to have some privacy.  Lewis and Bark has a small fenced-in area just right for our needs.  Unfortunately, we visited at the hottest part of an already very hot day, but we all tried to make the most of the situation–Prophet by digging in the mulch, wandering around, pooping, and generally acting like, well, a dog.

Rebecca asked our permission to communicate with Prophet and we agreed.

I have to tell you, my good guy and I are true skeptics, so we were bound and determined to say as little as possible.  Didn’t want our desire for this to be real to influence the results we got.


After a moment of closed eyes and thoughtfulness, Rebecca started saying that Prophet was talking really fast, and had a lot to say. I saw him sniff the base of the fence.

She said Prophet was, or thought of himself as a very smart dog, and that he saw himself as an ambassador whenever we went out.  Prophet climbed on a chair and tried to continue his climb onto an unsteady table.  I hauled him off and he trotted around the play yard again. Yes, that climbing is very diplomatic.

Rebecca then frowned in thought and said that Prophet was asking about a girl or a sister, perhaps a girl dog.  Jay and I drew blanks.  She said that Prophet missed this girl, that he felt protective of her, maybe a girl that was no longer around?

Hubby focused on Sara, our daughter (who had died four years before Prophet was born), and I voiced that our granddaughter used to play hide-n-seek with Prophet, and that Prophet used to play with and beat up a white lab girl dog.  There was nothing definitive in that part of our discussion, but seemed logical to me that the dog might have memories of  his younger years and miss his girl friends from back then.

We asked about Prophet’s health, and Rebecca talked about breathing issues.  She said, “He keeps saying I’m okay, but there is a lot of pressure I’m feeling, not being able to breathe.” Proph has indeed had episodes of what I call “hyperventilation.” Hmm.

We mentioned we have a cat.  “Prophet has no problem with her,” said Rebecca.  Problem for Prophet with Nalla?  Not quite that way around, I was thinking.  We mentioned that Nalla has had a lot of accidents in our house.  Rebecca asked our permission to connect with Nalla.

Nalla was at home, but still, we said to go for it.  Rebecca said that Nalla was offended by the thought that she might pee outside her litter without good reason.  She said her back legs hurt when she gets in or out of the box and needs a walk up litter.

I mentioned Nalla hasn’t had any accidents since we put a box upstairs for her. Hmm.

By this time Prophet was scratching on the door to go inside. Even I could interpret that.

What do you think?  Is animal communication for real or is it a scam?  If you were writing a story, could you see creating an animal communicator as a character?  What would he/she be like?  Could they work on the police force and interview animal witnesses?

Wishing you a creative week of being with your pets.