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?