Underestimating the Power of Pets

These are Lola's cousins.
It's so true when people say, "If they don't have kids, they just don't understand." And while that may be somewhat true, the person may have an idea of how they'd go about taking care of a child, but not really understanding what it's like - the experience itself - to be in the parent's shoes. But this isn't about kids. It's about dogs - animals in general. I haven't had a dog since I was a kid and basically went through life in my adulthood without pets. I even developed allergies for cats and dogs since I haven't been exposed to them much. Between my OCD manias and allergies --- dogs were not going to be a part of my world. I'd hear people call their dogs "my babies" and other 'mommy-wannabe' types of sayings. I'd cringe. It's a goddamn dog. It's a pet. Come on. I never understood why some people would have a hard time putting their pets in a kennel if they had to leave for vacation or a business trip. I always thought it was pathetic to treat animals as if they were human. What? You're gonna actually cook for your dog? What? You're going to buy a fortune in doggy beds and blankets for it? It's a dog! And the most mortifying one of all ---- what, you're going to SLEEP with your dog and let the dog on your bed? Craziness. I even underestimated someone's sadness over losing a pet once because they were comparing it to the death of a human loved one. While I still have strong views of the importance of pets vs. humans - they are indeed family.

So, my mind changed. Lola came into my life. And like any other overzealous new mommy, (yes I said "mommy"), I have the mile-long trail of photos in my iPhone, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram --- on my desk. My friends and family are like, "Oh...another photo of Lola. Great." I had new rules for the house:

  • No dogs on the couch 
  • No dogs on the bed
  • Dog will sleep in crate
  • Will not kiss dog on face or let dog lick me

Well, after a bazillion "NO's!!" and attempts to keep Lola off the couch, she is now comfy wrapped up in her blanket...on the couch. We first kept Lola in a crate...in the next room. We. never. slept. The crying and whining lasted for over an hour. Then I decided to put her crate in our bedroom. She was great. She was next to us and felt safer. But then in the middle of the night, she'd cry. One of us would bring her out to do her thing, but that's not what she wanted. Eventually, I started playing with her on my bed before we went to sleep. She absolutely loved being on the bed. It was then we fell asleep one night all cuddled up. I didn't have the heart to move her to the crate. Now, I cannot sleep without her ---ever. Between kisses, playful bites and puppy licks, this dog has diminished my OCD problems. (Although I still wash my hands 1,763,987 times a day.) During her first heat, we had to put diapers on her due to the blood stains. My OCD cranked up a tad. Not only did I have to change a dog's diaper, I had to wipe her clean and gag a little. It became something of the norm and I began to just love her even more.

You think changing a baby is hard?

Now, I'm "one of them" -- those pet owners who are super obsessed with their dog or cat. Tomorrow morning, I have to bring Lola (sniffles) to get spayed. I know it's such a common practice and a healthy one -- but I'm so scared she'll be in pain. On top of it, she has to stay overnight. I said to Mad, "Can we bring her blankets and her stuffed toys? Is she going to be cold? All the other dogs are going to be keeping her up at night!" I'm freaking out. Mad assures me she'll be too tired to even notice and she'll be just fine, but the 'mommy' in me wants to come in with a bowl of chicken soup and make it all better. The old me: "It's a goddamn dog for the love of God!" Wrong. She's my baby. Nonetheless, please send out little puppy prayers for my little girl. She's getting her bread basket taken out. No more flirting with the boys next door.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!