And that’s not even to get into the whole cutting-back-on pet-blogging issue. If I thought blogging regularly was hard, not blogging may almost be harder. Feedback is addictive. Note to self: Get new blog going.
But a few things interfered with my resolve not to get involved.
Let me backtrack.
It all started with a mean-spirited piece in Huffington Post, Pet Parents are NOT Moms. Several pet bloggers responded with the scorn the piece deserved, including Dr. V of Pawcurious. I didn’t think I had much to add to the conversation.
Then I started thinking back on the last few weeks.
As regular readers know, I’ve been working on a family history project. My sister has pitched in and she’s been putting together our family tree. Naturally, she added her children and grandchildren to it. My first instinct was to add Frankie, only partly as a joke, but I thought that would seem disrespectful to my sister and my nieces. Instead, I added my ex-husband so I wouldn’t seem like a complete loser in the human bonding department, but really– sorry, Al — Frankie has been a far more integral part of my life.
Then there was the recent guesthouse tenant. I was telling her my usual story about how I used to be a travel writer until I got a dog who got diabetes, which meant traveling less. She looked at me pityingly and said, “I could never get that attached.”
Of course, if you are reading this, you are almost certainly one of the people who do get that attached. And it occurred to me that this makes the relationship with a pet more emotionally complex than one with a human child. You go into this thing, this pet ownership or parenthood or whatever you want to call it, knowing that your heart is going to break because the chances are very good that your pet is going to die before you do. You do it anyway.
Or you don’t know that in advance, as I didn’t, clueless as I was, but you realize it soon enough and you accept it, because what are the alternatives?
Then, to compound the difficulty of that emotional commitment, there are many people out there who don’t understand your loss when it comes, who write dumb articles about how you’re an idiot for comparing your bond with your pet with actual parenthood. Feeling like you’re crazy makes experiencing that loss doubly hard.
But what finally convinced me to write this post was receiving a wonderful Mother’s Day card, reproduced here, from Frankie.
Ok, I know the card wasn’t really from Frankie, but I don’t know who it was from — a wonderful mystery person who lives in San Francisco (that’s what it’s postmarked) and who is my friend on Facebook (that’s where the picture on the front is from) and who knows my mailing address. You’d think that would narrow it down, but I have more than one candidate in mind.
The point is, this mystery person did a wonderful thing by acknowledging the importance of my commitment to Frankie. It made my day… maybe my week and month. And it deserves recognition.
It doesn’t matter what you call the relationship, though I prefer to say that Frankie is my Significant Canine Other, and vice versa. The bond is something worth celebrating, today and every other day.
Note to Frankie: You’ve got card-sending down, and I appreciate that. Now could you please work on bringing me breakfast in bed? Mine, not yours? And not recycled? Thank you.