Sunday, April 1, 2012

Animal lovers, I know you'll sympathize with me...

Tank and Tulip
People with pets will understand today's blog more so than most of my other ramblings because we share a common bond.  We're united in the love of our animals.  It's a devotion which goes beyond explanation for some of us.  I know this because before my mother became attached to one of my sister's dogs, she couldn't comprehend my anxiety when my beloved six-year old pooch suddenly became immobile with a back problem or my devastation the day my beautiful tabby needlessly died.  Pet owners have a connection with their animals which sometimes goes far deeper than those they have with their own family members.

I think we all know why.  Our pets don't criticize, judge, or demoralize us.  They love us unconditionally.  No matter what kind of a day we've had, they're there for us - they instinctively know that with a soft purr around our legs or happy lunge into our arms - they've managed somehow to soothe our broken hearts or calm our deepest fears.  And for what?  Nothing.  They expect nothing back from us.  Everything for nothing.  How profound.

As many of you know, I currently have two small dogs, Tank, a Lhasa Apso and Tulip, a Shih Tzu.  We brought them into our home literally the morning after we put our last beloved dog, Squeak down.  Eric and I were going to wait and grieve Squeak's loss but I, in the depth of my sadness, couldn't stand the emptiness of the house without the sound of little paws running about.  My theory is that in all of its messiness, a house is not a home without a pet or pets in it.  Yes, they ruin the carpet, scratch up the furniture, and in Tank's case - find and destroy every decorator pillow I own, but they are the warmth which completes the family portrait.

This morning, as I was stirring awake, I realized that half my body was hanging off the bed and Tank, my twenty-four pound, cream-colored, not-so-clean, desperately in need of a grooming, bundle of fluff was taking up a majority of my sleeping space.  On the foot of the bed, but again - down the center - was Tulip, my fifteen pound cream-colored, not-so-clean, desperately in need of a grooming, bundle of fluff taking up a majority of Eric's sleeping space.  My poor husband was lying in what looked to be a very stiff, awkward angle so as to avoid disturbing our precious itty dog's sleep.  As I surveyed the silliness of the situation, Tank caught my eye and held my look for a few moments.  I smiled.  He in turn batted my face with his paw.  This is his subtle way of saying, "Now that you're awake, can you please scratch my belly?"

On Tuesday, I'll be flying out to Southern California to visit my family.  Eric, the kids, and the dogs are staying behind in Denver.  This will be a mini-vacation for me; a chance to escape and take a few maternal deep breaths before I face the next tough six months ahead.  This is a wonderful opportunity and something I would highly recommend for any mother of special needs kids; however, how do I say this without sounding pathetic?  Yes, I'll miss my husband tremendously.  My kids?  I love them, but let's be honest here folks, I'm taking a break for a reason.  But my dogs...I'm really, really going to miss my dogs.

Tank and Tulip keep me company.  On good days, we play together, sit in the sunshine, and discuss politics.  Amazingly, we share the same poliitical views.  On my "deep darks", during my bi-polar spirals, they instinctively know not to leave my bedside.  Sometimes, with one silly look, Tank will chase me throughout the house and have me in screaming fits of laughter.  Tulip and I will have one on one girl talks telling Tank to "settle down" and give little missy "a break".  They are my joy and comfort.  If I had cats, and I've had them in the past, it would be the same.

Animal lovers, I know you'll sympathize with me...on Tuesday, when I board the plane and leave my home, I'm going to be missing a couple of very special friends.