Over Memorial Day weekend, I had planned a getaway with my husband to Lido Beach, which is one of the little fingers of gorgeous Floridian paradise that stretches off of mainland Sarasota. Unfortunately, the trip didn’t materialize, and I’m hoping that when we head back to the Southwestern portion of the state in late July, the experts’ predictions prove correct and tar balls from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill aren’t littering the sand.
I am also praying that our regular dog sitter (who is already familiar with our multitude of quirks and requirements) is available to watch our pups the seven days we’re away. When planning our romantic escape, we didn’t need to call on her because our babysitter was scheduled to keep an eye on pets and little people. I trust both women implicitly, but what struck me as I re-read the instructions that I had prepared for our sitter (who’s never been charged with canine care at our home) was that the amount of dialogue I spent on my furry family members was as copious as the directions I dedicated to the two-legged ones.
Exhibit #1: Bridget, our Chihuahua, prefers to sleep on the bed at night but needs to be carried up the stairs and lifted onto the mattress. In addition, she is allowed on the couch but cannot make it up onto living room furniture on her own either.
Exhibit #2: Moses, our anole, needs to be spritzed with water on a nightly basis. Maria is capable of taking care of this, but please be sure the water is lukewarm.
Needless to say, the examples went on and on . . . and on. Now, some people would denounce me as crazy for spending more time talking about my dogs, rodents, and reptiles than my children, but they are all important members of my family, so I claim no shame. Some of my furry kids have been around longer than my human offspring. Just as importantly, they’ve comforted me through my worst moments and celebrated with me during my best.
I still recall sitting on my couch with tears streaming down my cheeks when I was struggling to get pregnant with my oldest child. One of my main sources of solace? Petting Bridget, who didn’t remind me that it was time to give myself a fertility injection or tell me that things could be worse. She just looked up at me lovingly, which was exactly what I needed at that point in my life.
Even Moses has proven his value in our family. When I’m especially enraged at Comcast or an impending bout of inclement Chicago weather, I find therapeutic value in watching him stalk and gulp down crickets. Scoff if you will–it’s cheaper than strangling some throw pillow on an analyst’s sofa.
All kidding aside, these creatures are my pride and joy, just like the babies I’ve given birth to and have begun the process of raising. So, sue me if I write a book just because someone else is going to be taking care of them while I’m away for the weekend. Besides, who’s to say that Bridget’s bedtime rituals aren’t as important as how many times a day my toddler requires a diaper check? —Katie Marsico