I started this post earlier this week, and had previously scheduled it for Thursday. Wednesday, our family suffered a loss. We had to say goodbye to one of our beloved pets, and I quickly rescheduled this post for a month later – to enable me time to go back and work on it when I was ready. I now think talking about it might help and might actually support my initial intent.
Growing up, for the most part, I didn’t have any pets. I lived on a farm up until my schooling years, and had more than one could ever need, but then my mom ended up raising three kids on her own, and we moved away from that life. I didn’t and still do not, miss that farming life, but I did miss having a pet or few. My mom was correct in her thinking though, making ends meet to feed three, why add another mouth to feed, and who was going to do all the work? Three kids was enough. She did settle on snails, and let me tell you I treasured them!
As a child, I didn’t really get her reasoning. I begged for anything with fur or feathers, how about a bird? They sit in a cage – how much work could they be? Mess would be contained, I thought. My mom didn’t budge, but I’ve since had a bird, well birds, and she was right. They are still a lot of work, and if you think the seed stays in the cage, well that simply is not the case. Nine years ago we brought home a boy & girl kitten, and almost four years ago we brought home a puppy. In the middle we brought home our human baby. All, our fur babies and of course our human boy, are/were members of our family. My son refers to them his siblings and wants another furbling (puppy), with no interest in a human sibling. Having babies though, whether they are animals or human, still involves a lot of work.
Our furbabies we love so very much! Sadly our black cat has been laid to rest.
Most kids want a pet. Most children, like I as a child, really do not understand the work they require, when healthy or otherwise. Even many adults fail to understand how much work a pet can be, how costly they are, and how many years this work might go on for. If you are not yet a pet owner and pondering a pet, do your research and be prepared to love them and treat them just like your child. Some say they are just animals, but in our house they are members of the family.
The original intent of this post was to be about pet ownership and the commitment you make to them for their duration of life. I did not know at that time I would actually be experiencing the end of life for one of our kitties. I did know we had committed to do everything to keep him healthy as he was diagnosed with diabetes, and knew it would be a lot of extra work with insulin injections every 12 hrs, and a little extra cost, but for so much happiness he brought us, it really was the least we could do. He went from happy kitty to so very ill in just a week. It turns out his kidneys had failed (past failing) and the damage was irreparable. There was no happy ending or miracle cure, and we had to let him go peacefully and without pain.
I experienced one of the hardest parts about parenting this week. Not only for myself as a fur baby parent and the loss of a cat I loved so much, but for my son and his broken heart. I wish I could take away his sadness and his pain, but the reality is facing the truth will only be beneficial in the long run. I am only learning to grieve myself alongside him, and I don’t know what will make it better but time. Our pets love us unconditionally as do we them, but we also need to be prepared for heartache when it is their time to go. Perhaps this is the most important part of pet ownership, as it definitely is the hardest.
We thank the Courtice Pet Clinic for taking care of our pets for vaccinations, checkups and when needed. They were especially supportive this week when we faced such a difficult time. We always know our pets have great veterinary care.