Tuesday, May 6, 2014

National Pet Week 2014

This week is National Pet Week.

Always the first full week of May, National Pet Week was started in 1981 by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The hope of this week of celebration is to remind us all how important our pets are in helping us live a long, happy and healthy life.

What do our pets mean to us? Well, for many of us they are our friends on the long dark days, our comic relief on the days that can't break a frown, a warm bundle of companionship when the shoulder of a friend to lean on is needed. They are the unconditional love when we need a break from the rigorous demands of life, and they are the ones that we share our greatest joys with and deepest sorrows with.

In honor of this week I wanted to introduce our pets to you, and share what they mean to me.

For me, my puppies are my confidants, the hand to hold so I never feel alone, my protectors, my home alarm system, my bed warmer and bed hogger, blanket stealer, and house mates so that I never feel alone.

Charlie and Jekyll

I can tell what my puppies are thinking. What they are looking forward to and what they want to do all by the tiny shifts of their eyes, their ears, their tales and their expression. I don't need a linguist, a word, or an interpreter. I know them as well as they know me.

When I am sad they stay close. When they are bored and anxious for a walk we go together. We keep each other motivated to play on the cold snowy mornings, and rainy muggy evenings. We have a mutual obligation to look after each other, even on those days where the comforter calls me to sleep a few minutes longer.

This year the AVMA has chosen the theme of  "Love your pet, see the vet." to remind pet parents that one of the most important ways we can show our pets that we love them is to provide them with veterinary care. Your veterinarian is an expert on detecting and treating disease, injury, and illness, and assisting you in maintaining optimal care for your pets. They can often detect early signs of disease before the parent can. Even for those of us parents who spend almost every single waking moment with our pets. Pet care has too often taken the back seat to pet accessories but I know first hand that the knowledge and advice that I give my clients about our patients every single day helps them to live longer, happier and healthier life.

Charlie yawns,, a bit bored with the whole photo-thing.

My pets are a daily reminder of how vital the role of a veterinarian is in taking care of my family. There is never a day where I am not feeling grateful and blessed to have my pets beside me. They are my greatest joy and my deepest sense of responsibility. To help protect them and provide them the stepping stones to achieving a lifespan into their late teens, like Savannah had, or their early 20's like the first generation my kitties got, I know that it takes a team effort. A full examination every 6 months, vaccines as needed, monthly heartworm, flea & tick, yearly fecals and blood checks, and the daily teeth, ears, coat and nails regimen.

And as much love as they will tolerate...
Even when this is the face I get in return..sometimes it's tough to have a slightly overbearing mother...

And for my kitties. Who are the center of my heart. 

I know that some of you have a pet preference, and that perhaps you are not privy to the complex nature of a feline..but to truly know a cat whose trust you have earned, (because everything in the cat world is on their terms), is to truly know what loving something unconditionally implies. 

Jitterbug, who is his own man on his own terms. He is loud, demanding, and in charge.. He can also be the most submissive docile love bug..Who wants an easy transparent cat?I love him for his independence and fierce sense of entitlement.
 Magpie, a rescued kitten who came to me with a badly broken ankle. One month of strict cage rest and it healed beautifully. However, in the one month I got a bit too attached..my Achilles heel is a kitten, no doubt.

She is the most daring, adventurous, spirited little thing. Always hidden inn the shadows, you will never see her as a guest in my house, but she is there watching you. Sometimes under a blanket, barely visible  as a tiny wrinkle in a sheet, and sometimes a flash of black at your heels. But if you are quiet enough and trustworthy enough she will melt in your arms when you pick her up. And purr louder than you can believe a little 5 pounds could produce.
 Wren. Most definitely the peaceful gentle foundation of my heart. The first words out of my mouth every morning and every day I come home are for her. "Wren-wren!" and there she is at my feet. Little "mew" to greet me and a belly flop to say she missed me too. No kitten had a harder start in life and no cat ever asked as little in return. She is the official greeter of the home and loves and trusts blindly and without reserve. Not one single person can resist her charm.

 Oriole. The abandoned orange chick who was lucky enough to be friendly even after having been cast away, brought to the clinic for vaccines and a spay, and purred her way into our house. She remains an energetic, spastic, effervescent, dynamo. She can often be heard running like a water buffalo through the house. Making as much noise as she can, disrupting as much furniture as she can only to arrive traveling full tilt to full emergency stop at your face with a little "MEWK!" to announce that she's here for a short pet before the engines fire up again and she's off!

Oriole and Wren...

Oriole, She knows she's hard to resist.
Pets come in all sizes and shapes. This is our pet pig Strawberry. A rescue from the Johns Hopkins heart study. She was bred and raised to donate her heart valves to science. But her study ran out before her number came up. So she came to live with us. She reminds me every single day that love knows no boundaries. No lines of species, no definition of "normal" or "acceptable." She is her own person, with her own thoughts, feelings, preferences, fears, and I love her in spite of her hooves, her lack of fur, and her bratty attitude. How can I be a vet to all species if I can't see the unique qualities of pets in all things?

Go hug your pets this week! Or call your vet and ask for their help in taking even better care of your beloved, two, three, four, eight, or no legged pet..

With love to all of your pets from my clan to yours!

Please join us in sharing the love of all things pet at Pawbly.com. Free to use, Pawbly is all about helping pets live a longer, happier, and healthier life!

You can also find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice, or at the veterinary clinic, Jarrettsville Veterinary Center in Jarrettsville Maryland.

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