|Abbie- (always in- my heart)|
I'm fat, I'm- fluffy and I'm- full of love
|Purred: Fri Jul 11, '08 9:52pm PST |
|I'm definitely a different pet owner now than I was when I got Abbie. In my case, though, I don't think it's because of losing her.
When I got Abbie, I was 20. I got both my kitties spayed at the right time, kept up with their boosters, and took them to the vet at any sign of concern. I come from a long line of worriers (please don't let me have the "Aunt Pearl" gene!) and suffer from chronic anxiety disorder. Back then, it wasn't as bad. And I, too, didn't kitten proof my house or research the best foods. Some of that was because no one had heard of the internet back then and that's where I do most of my research today. Also, there weren't as many premium pet foods to choose from. My cats ate Purina Kitten Chow until they were each a year old and then they ate Tender Vittles, because that's what my childhood kitty had eaten. It wasn't until Abbie began to gain weight too quickly and the vet asked about her food that I realized that I was basically feeding them junk food. After that, I fed them what the doctor recommended: Science Diet.
I think that more is known now, through cat magazines, better information on the internet, and even through pet stores. We are more aware of what our cats need these days. Also, I am in a better financial position to pay for the things they need than I was when I was 20. And let's face it. After 20 additional years, I hope I'm wiser.
I was a fanatic about keeping them safe inside the apartment, always worrying that they would escape. I frequently took them to the vet because I just didn't think they felt well. In those cases, there was usually something wrong, like a bladder infection.
Despite my feeding them junk food early in their lives and never knowing anything about grain-free diets or pet water fountains, Sasha lived to be 19 and Abbie 18.
I wondered if my anxiety would increase because of losing her. But it seems to be the same as it was before. I worry about Binks and Matilda, but not as a result of losing Abbie. It's just my nature (okay, maybe I have a small bit of the "Aunt Pearl" gene in me...).
Mostly, I think times are different than they were when many of us got our beloved angel kitties. We are older, wiser and better informed than we were. We see the mistakes we made and vow not to make them again. (Many years from now, we'll see different mistakes we made and vow not to make those, too.) And I am a mother of a six-year-old little girl now, something that was so far in the distance when I got Abbie and Sasha. I have a child to worry about. And a husband. So, perhaps my worry is just too spread too thin.
My mother and step father just lost their sweet Dalmatian yesterday. I was with them the day they got him 15 years ago. He was such a sweet, well-behaved, calm and loving boy. Just happy to be loved and eager to please. I'm an only child, so he became my brother, even though I was already grown and on my own when they got him. My mother told me today that she can never have another pet, that she cannot bear to lose another one. My step dad, on the other hand, doesn't know what to do with himself without a pet to care for. Dekker was his first pet and his only child. But he, I think, would like to open his heart to another dog some day while my mom is done. Of course, her pain is fresh and she might change her mind, but I doubt it.
The fact that each of us has probably opened our hearts to other pets says a lot about us. We are willing to face the pain of loss some day because living without a furry friend by our side would not constitute a life worth living to us. I am hoping that Binks and Matilda will live as long as Abbie and Sasha did, if not longer. And I take them to the vet at the slightest sign of a stubbed toe. But I'm not thinking about how many years they have left. I never even thought of Abbie's mortality. To me, she'd just be with me forever. And in my heart, she is.
You know... the more I think about it, the more I realize that the change that took place in me happened during Abbie's lifetime, not after. She gave me someone to take care of, someone to love, and someone who loved me no matter what. She helped me step out of the moments when I would have rather wallowed in self pity because, with her, I was never alone. And when I was flying high on successes or infatuations, she was always there to ground me, to remind me to pay attention to someone else other than myself. She helped me become the adult I am today. She taught me to be responsible for someone other than myself. Losing her just makes me miss her and wish she could have been with me longer (or forever). But I'm still the same old worrier.
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