The Joy And Heartache of Being A Pet Owner

Call me crazy, but if I’m nuts so is my husband. We have five pets; two cats and three dogs and that’s just of late. What can I say; we love animals – all kinds. Just like our four children each one brings us undeniable joy and relentless heartache. The boys (dogs) Adam, Louie and Franky and the girls, (cats) Daisy and Reina are unique in breed, history, and most notably – personality.  The companionship, entertainment and love our canine and feline kids bring to our lives is priceless.  That being said, there is an occasional moment when we have questioned our impulsive adopting habits. You know what I’m saying?  ”That’s it, I’m done!!  No more animals in this house EVER!! Steve, (I’m yelling now) don’t even think about bringing a another dog into this house or I’m OUT! As a matter of fact I think it’s time to find Frankie a new home. I can’t do this anymore!”

Point in case! Let me tell you about life around our home since 3AM last night.

I woke up to the most g-d awful smell I have ever smelled in my life. My nose hairs were in spasm. I’ve had dozens of dogs over the years and have NEVER experienced such a sickening odor. With great hesitation I opened the bathroom door.  As expected, Steve was butt naked in the shower with Frankie and Louie. Furiously scrubbing and hosing off the miserable scoundrels – as if that was going to help. I’m telling you it was awful! If that was the smell of skunk then we have exorcist skunks from a different universe invading our backyard. I began retching; my eyes, nose and throat were on fire. I can’t imagine how the dogs were feeling. I was so horrified I didn’t really care.  I forgot about Steve.

Fast forward one hour…

We tried to go back to sleep. I tried desperately to sleep. After an hour of thrashing and burying my head in the pillows almost suffocating myself I had had enough. Off to the family room sofa I went. Here’s my question. How in the hell did Steve and the three dogs immediately fall asleep in the midst of what smelled worse than a dead corpse? Three dogs and one husband snoring away as if nothing had happened.

I woke up at 630 am. They were all snoring in the bedroom and I was nauseous from the ever present stifling odor. I poured myself a very strong cup of coffee in spite of my queasy stomach, wondering what I was going to do about the disgusting stench which had only worsened.

When in doubt – go swimming!

A few women at the pool complained about a skunk smell in the locker room. OMG! It was me! That disgusting stench had entered my pores and permeated every cell in my body. I couldn’t stand myself. Would you like to discuss my embarrassment? How could I possibly walk into the store to buy the items for the magic potion I was going to prepare to de-skunk the dogs? My clean clothes from the closet smelled, my hair smelled, my car smelled – Oy Vey! I grabbed some perfume from the locker, sprayed myself and charged forward. The emergency vet told me to buy hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and Dawn dish soap. She also suggested I wash everything possible with a cup of vinegar. I bought every bottle of each item they had on the shelf. I knew this was going to be a huge undertaking requiring an arsenal of anti-alien skunk smell supplies. Besides, I needed to be prepared with plenty of backup.

Long story short…

We washed the dogs three times with the magic potion – four times for Franky. I have spent the last ten hours washing floors, counters, sheets, towels, blankets, rugs and clothes. My house smells terrible, my eyes are still burning and life goes on as usual.

Hold up! There is more to this morning…

I needed to be at Karma Yoga to teach an 11:30 class and I’m supposed to be there 20 minutes early. But I was knee deep in this dog/house mess. I smelled, even after a shower and it was 11:10. Rushing around, I found some clean clothes in my car -thank goodness. I was afraid to wear anything from inside the house. 11:15 – I’m already late. I jumped into the car and off I went. Not more than one minute past when just around the corner from my house I see what looks like a dead cat on the side of the road. My heart sank and I felt sick to my stomach. I kept driving because I was already late for class. Wait! Was it my Daisy girl? Of course – this was bound to happen. I turned around in the gas station and sped into the school parking lot across the street from where Daisy lay.  I ran across the street, took a closer look and began to sob. My precious little Daisy was lifeless – my heart broken. Daisy is 10 years old, with dark brown beautiful thick fur, personality times ten, loving, affectionate and without exception the most annoying animal I’ve ever had. She was your typical crazy indoor cat until she turned 4 years old. Then all hell broke loose. Daisy would torture the entire family for the next six years with her insane feline behavior. She decided to be an outdoor cat, traveling for days at a time which drove me crazy with worry. She romped around the neighborhood with various boyfriends and had her share of cat fights. Many of which left her wounded needing surgery and nursing care. So desperate to be wild and outside she tore up screen doors and carpet, (I’m sure we had the carpet repaired 3 or 4 times) chewed on door frames and wood moldings. “Crazy Daisy -The Destroyer” became her claim to fame. Daisy brought us countless gifts from her excursions in the wild – birds, mice, chipmunks and other unrecognizable creatures. Such proud parents we were. But she always returned home for love, cuddles, grooming and a home cooked meal. Don’t most kids?

Sobbing- I wrapped Daisy up in a yoga blanket that I kept in my car and took her home to Steve. He was devastated. Our darling Daisy had used up her final life -#9.  Now I was really late for class. Quickly, I pulled myself together and got back in the car. In five minutes, almost to the studio, Steve called. “Al, it’s not Daisy! You brought home some else’s dead cat. I checked out the cat and there wasn’t a big scar (from her most recent surgery). I went in the house to look for Daisy and there she was on the stairs calling to me in her annoying tone “eh…eh”. He told me to teach my class and relax. Needless to say I was in shock.  Yes, I was relieved, but terribly sad for the cat I found and for the family that would be sure to miss her.

I made it to the studio – barely on time. With a deep breath I shifted my thoughts to The Metta Prayer – practice of loving kindness I wanted to share with my students today on this 10th anniversary of 911. All in all today was a good day. Crazy and definitely stressful, but good.

P.S. I called animal control to pick up the cat. The animal rescue woman reminded me that all of my pets should have a micro chip implanted ( a simple procedure). This ensures that our beloved pets have a much better chance of being reunited with their owners if they go missing.

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan LLC

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  1. Wow I am so glad that was not Daisy! Sounds like a crazy weekend… pets are amazing though – just when you are so fed up and annoyed with them, they do something to make you remember how much you love them.

    I hope things are better now! I love your crazy pets :)

  2. I don’t even know what to say…….never a dull moment, perhaps! :-)

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