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?


Prophet’s Tears at the Vet

It’s been a while since ol’ Proph has had an adventure–knock on wood.  Oops! Forgot that knock before we went to the vet this week. He was due for a Bordetella vaccine. This is the medicine you should give your dog if he or she plays in doggie day camp, goes to dog parks, or otherwise comes in contact with lots of canine friends.

photo of Prophet gets Bordetella Vaccine

“This won’t hurt a bit.”

Bordetella vaccine, in fancy terms, is something given in either a shot at the scruff of the neck or a squeeze of medicine up your dog’s nose to prevent infectious tracheobronchitis, or kennel cough.  I think the vaccine is like the flu shot, only for dogs and cats. No biggie, right?

Well, just as with any doctor visit, our first stop was the scales. Whoops!  Prophet–given his restriction on exercise last spring and my subsequent recognition of time savings and gas conservation in not going to Chatfield daily–had gained a little weight. Make that gained A LOT of weight. Nine pounds!  He’s up to 118 pounds of joy for him and guilt for me. Yuck!  No wonder I’ve been hearing so many “he sure is a big dog” comments lately.  I thought people were saying he’s generally tall, dark, and handsome.

photo of Dr. Weber with Prophet

“Okay, I’ve been a good dog–now where are the treats?” Prophet chats with Dr. Weber

Then there is the scardy-cat syndrome (sorry Nalla).  Prophet cried and cried–like a baby!  We were shown into the examination room.  Cried and scratched at the door to get out (smart dog). Then Katie, who’s training to be a vet tech, came in to generally get the low-down on “what’s wrong.” Prophet whined a little, but licked a lot. Luckily, Katie has a St. Bernard and knows what slobbery kisses are all about.

photo of Katie gets a dog kiss--eew!

“I’ll get even–I’ll give you a kiss!” – Katie & Prophet

I told Katie about a little lump that hasn’t gone away on Prophet’s side. She looked, and there it was. Prophet cried.

Then Dr. Weber came in.  Have I told you how much I like the doctors at my vet?  Dr. Weber is sweet with the pets, clear with instructions and information, and level-headed with the don’t hit the panic button kind of attitude.  She took a look at Prophet and found the weight a problem (“but as he ages, his metabolism will slow down”), the lump, and a build-up of wax in his right ear. Lucky me, I got to see the wax she pulled out–let’s leave the description for now, right?

photo of Katie examines Prophet

“You have my heart, but I’m still going to cry.” Katie checks Prophet’s heartbeat.

Throughout the examination, Prophet cried. Temperature taken? Cry. Check. Pelvic check? Good. Cry. Ear wax excavation? Cry. Done.

Surprisingly, when they withdrew a sample from the lump, Proph didn’t seem bothered at all. Dr. Weber took the “goodies”–the ear wax sample and goop from the lump back to examine for problems.

Prophet and I were left alone in the room.  Then it hit me. He cried for everything else, but not the lump.  Was that a good sign or a really bad sign?  Dr. Weber had said that lumps can mean any number of things–infections, benign cysts, or the big C–cancer.  Was the anomaly of Prophet’s stoicism in the withdrawal of lump goop a warning sign?  Was his ear infected? Was the weight gain going to cause a heart attack while we sat in the examination room, smelling of dog? I made a show of brushing off the mounds of dog shedding on my pants, just so that I’d have something to do while I worried.

photo of Prophet hiding from the vet

“Think they’ll see me? I am so small..I am so small…”

Luckily, in a very short time, Dr. Weber came back in with the all-clear sign, instructions to wash out Prophet’s ears a couple of times a week, and some additional vitamins for Nalla. Whew!

Seems with Prophet, there’s never a dull moment.

And I’ll keep Dr. Weber’s advice in mind. If your pet develops a lump, come in and get it checked out.  Save yourself some worry. If the lump is big, bothersome or infected, your vet can let you know to either watch it or have them cut off. Same goes for skin tags – elongated, wart-like skin protrusions. Dogs. You gotta love them–and take care of them.

I’m off to go hide the treats!