Monday, September 4, 2017

The Things Only We Know. A Moms Tribute To Her Four Legged Kids, and Why We Need To Plan For Their Life Beyond Our Own.

It happens too often. One of our clients passes away and the family calls to inquire if the departed family pet can seek a home with us...

They, the clients, in almost all cases, have never asked, nor planned for their pets to be placed with us after their passing. Rather, these pets, our patients, find us because a relative has inquired about medical records, or advice for placement, when no one else in the family can, or more fittingly, WILL, take them. That,, and we are nosey... we know what happens in our little town, and we know when a client has a pet in need. We, almost advertise it. If you want to be selling yourself as the family doctor you better also live by it.

I always want to ask the caller if the dearly departed made provisions for their left behind dearly beloved? Or, if the family just took the money and dumped the tangible ties to the life they were bequeithed from. I am a cynic. It is compulsory when you are asked to take the collateral damage to the settled estate after the inheritance checks are cashed.

Who does that? Who dumps the pet of their family member after they pass? How do you accept anything from your departed loved one and leave behind the one who loved them while you were off fulfilling your own life destiny?

I don't know.. but I am not a realist,, we already know that.

In the last year my husband has laid to rest our dad, mom and brother. All this dying has gotten me thinking about getting my things in order. About how my life impacts others, and, how I can both provide second chances to my own pets and the patients I so dearly love.

This is a blog about precipitating second chances. About all of the life that is left to live when the whole cast of characters who make up your screen play exit stage left. This is about resilience and secrets. The secrets that I, as their mom, only know about. I want the world, the people I leave behind to know who they are, and how much they have to give back.

I am writing a series of blogs about the little things only a few people know about my kids. My kids are my four legged housemates, two pigs, two dogs, and four cats. They are each their own being, their own person. They each bring a different kind of joy with their own individual personalities, interests, and needs. They are who I know them to be, and more than I may ever recognize. They have feelings, insecurities, interests, love and kindness..

Maybe my life didn't really amount to much? Maybe a career, a home, a spouse, and a family made up of souls who don't carry a passport or a social security number isn't what others consider a legacy to be proud of? Maybe the lives I leave behind don't mean a whole lot to anyone else? But maybe they were all I ever really had? Maybe I was blessed beyond measure of commas on bank statements and retirement accounts? And, maybe the secrets we shared are just as important as the lives the rest of you lead?

Here are the things a mom knows about her kids. The things a mom treasures to provide meaning to a life I wrote without a guidebook to follow.

Pigs,, my life story should always start with a pig.. You need to be a little open to out of the ordinary, but, once you see the love and beauty under a bristle coat, you know what kindness and unconditional love looks like. The pigs are my daily reminder to think beyond yourself, look for beauty outside of the obvious places, and always be open to growing, evolving, and questioning.

Wilbur; trouble meets firecracker; curious like a raccoon, gentle like a bull.

Wilbur, nose in the hand that feeds him AND always happy to meet another hand.
Wilbur was found as a stray in a field. Young, intact, and on the run. He was taken to the shelter and exhausted his "hold period." He was cute, and they had room. I was ready to find him and he was ready to get out of the incessant dog barking hysteria he was cement block housed in. He is curious to see your hands. You must always present them upon introduction for inspection. Every knew arrival is a treat assumption that takes a few moments for him to come down from the disappointment of another empty promise. After a quick forgiveness moment he will roll over and let you rub his belly, or ears, for hours. If you insist he will succumb forever.

 Charlotte, all class and peaceful spirit. She is everything I will spend a lifetime trying to become.

Charlotte was a family pet. She grew up in a home and knew only love. I knew the moment I saw her that the rest of her days would be with me. She has more genuine adoration than almost any human being I have ever known. She is nothing short of perfection, she just came in the form of a species we don't tend to typify as such. All, yes, all, she wants is your time. There should be shrines erected in her honor.

Wren,,,  humble, sweet and thankful. She never forgets where she came from or how lucky she is to be where she is.
Wren, always upside down to show you where her heart lies.

Always bold enough to take the best seat in the house. Not shy, not pretentious, but smart enough to never let an opportunity pass her by.

 The best moments of life hide in the ones we share with few others. For Wren it is a belly rub.

Wren, trust beckons the belly-rub
Wren, the light of my every day,,, the one who chirps a "hello" every time I am near. I always chirp a "Good Morning Wren!" back.. our small banter of acknowledgement that we are here for each other.. always.

The short promenade from the food to the heated rest spot, above the hungry beagle below.

Destination reached... the stove cover is always a warm place to nap, and just a few steps from the food bowl.

 The guardian to each long nights journey. 

And saying "thanks" for every day along the way.

Jitterbug. The master of,, well, everything.

including the dining room table,

and Master of the evil toilet paper empire.

...and most importantly Master of the beagle.

Magpie.. all beauty and a bit of aloofness, just to remind you that she is a glam-girl unfettered and unchained by anybody. I have a lot to learn from her. She takes things on her own terms. Wants to meet everyone, but only accepts a few as worthy of her time or to touch her silkened coat. If she wasn't already so magnificent she would be adorned with an Egyptian gilded showgirl tiara.

Oriole, quiet, shy, fleeting, until she knows you, at which point she will lay her  massive 12 pounds squarely on your abdomen for the entire bedtime sleep.

Oriole, always taking the best seat in the house, if no one is watching.


The beagle. He is a beagle through and through.

In the event of a zombie apocoplyse where you forget to stock up on canned goods all you need to do is grab him. He can find food anywhere. Other planets, desolate deserts, a waste land, no matter.. each environment is his oasis. There is no crumb too small, or rotted organic matter too ripe to discourage or dissuade him. Every moment of his life is lived with the fear of a food shortage at hand. Stock up now, tomorrow it may not be so plentiful. It is a singular mission of a hyper focused olfactory savant.

His ears are made from the silk of the gods. They are hypnotic and an orgasmic tactile trip.
To know him is to always befriend him. He will never forget who you are. If you are kind to him he will greet you with longing puppy dog eyes, lowered ears and a furious low wag tail. It is every single affectionate sign that you are the most important, most loved, and worshiped person ever. You won't know a love like this again. He throws his adoration freely and completely. 

He is on duty. He takes this job seriously. If there were a marine corp for food procurement and guarding of said food he would be the General.

He may chat, wag, bow, and charm the whole crowd, but when its time to pick a seat at the table, or a spot to nap he will take the best seat at the head of the table on the pile of pillows on your side of the bed without shame, hesitation or pause for permission. He has none of these silly traits and no time to begin honing them. He accepts himself as an already perfect package, of which he truly is.

Charlie. The pit bull mix. Rescued from the local shelter when pneumonia was gripping him and his life was bleak and lost. He was too young to be facing the life he had in front of him, and likely dead if I sent him back to the shelter. He came to the clinic to get well at three months old, he went home with me that night and stayed forever. He is the quiet one. The one everyone overlooks in the limelight of his little brother. He sleeps like a mouse when he is chilly. Balled up as tight as he can wind himself. Tail over his face as the last bit if heat to be retained in the cold days of slumber.

He only wags when he hunts frogs. It is the only time he will stand straight, stern and focused. 

If he gets too hot he simply runs to the pond and belly dives in for a refresher hot day cool off. He runs down just as excitedly as he runs back up the hill to the house. Muddy face, gaping smiley mouth lolly-gagging tongue the pennant to fly his victory lap,

Like too many men he has a vision of himself as the bad-ass. Every new dog meet and greet starts with an erect head, thrusted face forward, raised hunches and a low saxophone solo swaying off screen to the opening dance scene of West Side Story,,, if he is a Shark the rest of the world is a Jet. "Go ahead, Make his day!"

He will never take advantage of you. He won't sneak into a couch, or chair without an invitation and he won't break your heart in the attempt at a score. Perhaps it is because he simply lacks the intelligence to do so, I prefer to think it is because he loves the affection and adoration that I have for him more than the immediate prize.

These are the secrets of my kids,,, the four legged, furry dependents who defined my time here and the time I treasured most. Should you ever be lucky enough to know them, OR, even lucky enough to share a life with them, these are the secrets they taught me.

What do you know about your pets that is your secret? How could you convince the world to give them a second chance beyond the limits of your life?  Have you planned for it? Provisioned for it? If you are a client of Jarrettsville Vet we want to help you do just this. Email me, stop by and chat, and please share your thoughts about your pets with your family. AND, most imperatively, DON'T think they cannot survive without you. They can, and they will. And they can be happy without you.

To learn more about my journey please follow this blog. To learn more about pets and pet care please follow my YouTube channel. If you have a pet question, are a pet lover, or think that you would like to contribute to helping other pets across all socio-economic borders please join us at It is a free question and answer site dedicated to educating, empowering and inspiring pet people the world over.

I am also on Twitter @FreePetAdvice,, and punching a clock for the shear love of wet noses everyday at Jarrettsville Vet,, the greatest little vet clinic in the solar system.  And for the best Facebook page take a lookie over here at Jarrettsville Vet Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. Aw, great post. Question, where do you keep your pigs? In the back yard??

    Roberta from sunny California