Illustration by Jenny Lamont
When DD finally accepts that there’s absolutely nothing she wouldn’t do for her fur (and feathered) kids…
Faced with another emergency trip to Johannesburg to see my elderly and recovering-from -a-hip-replacement-op mum, I sit here feeling like my heart is in a vice grip. Yes, I want nothing more than to be at my mom’s side – it’s been way too long apart from her since March – but the very thought of leaving my elderly and very needy Sammy Bear (our 13-year-old Morkie) and my other fur kids makes me want to weep.
I run through all the things to tell The Boys (my 16-year-old son, who’s good with all of them but tends to simply “forget” and hole up in his “man cave”, ignoring said fur kids; and James, my most-of-the-time-better half, who isn’t half as animal crazy as me) and a pet sitter for when neither of The Boys will be here pandering to their every whim.
Yes, I certainly do have a 12-page document stipulating everything and carefully broken down into time slots: pre-morning, morning, afternoon, evening, and night, but still there’s much to fret about.
These are just some of the things that spring to mind and make my anxiety levels race like a souped-up car in a drag race.
- Will they carefully watch the position of the sun to make sure The Budgie Birds are at optimal temperature when taking their morning fresh air outside on the back patio?
- Will they remember to close the cats’ window in the morning so that Sheba Shanks doesn’t leap out of it in a moment of madness and crash-land directly onto Sammy Bear, who likes to sun herself on the table right outside the window?
- Will they remember to give Sheba her daily dose of lightly steamed mixed veggies (but hold back on the sweet corn, which she dislikes and doesn’t digest very well) – and a few pieces of apple when they rustle up breakfast for The Budgie Birds? She can’t start her day without it.
- Will The Dad remember to swiftly remove his socks by no later than 20h00 so that Sammy can settle down for a pre-bed nap in front of the telly?
Mind you, I have no doubt that Sammy will get the message across – she huffs, puffs, stomps her fuzzy puddy paws, gives a killer death stare and, at worst, whines and flings herself dramatically onto her back and kicks her little legs in the air to get those socks off and into her mouth!
- Will they remember to always hand over a doggy biscuit each to both girls before leaving the cottage and to explain where they’re going and what time they’ll be back?
- Will they remember to gently place the fluffy blanket over Sammy as she sleeps – this before bed whilst snuggled up with her captured pair of socks in front of the telly AND throughout the night? I know it’s a big ask, but most necessary.
- Will they ask any and all higher powers to help guide Sammy down the SSSS (Sh*t Scary Steep Stairs) in the dead of night when she feels the need to nip out for a wee (or to check if anyone might have forgotten a pair of socks downstairs) AND to then lie awake until they hear her making her way safely back up and get her settled again… under the aforementioned fluffy blanket?
- Will they know when Sammy doesn’t want breakfast at 7h30… nor 8h30… but recognise that peckish look about her at 11h00? And when she’d rather not have any soft yummies with her food but be more keen to nibble haphazardly on a dry pellet or two – and not out of her bowl, but most liked to be picked up directly off the floor?
- Will they know that Sammy needs to have the heater in the lounge switched on at the crack of dawn (even though there’s one on ALL night – to keep The Budgies warm – in the bedroom). Sammy likes options, and she feels the cold!
- Will they remember to have that 06h30 game of ball to start the day on a happy note? (Sheba and Sammy following them around with their balls in their mouths should be a good reminder!)
- Will they remember to wake The Budgie Birds at 06h30 with a soothing “Are there any budgies birds awake in this room” melody?
- And will they remember to put the numerous blankets over their cage when it is BBT (Budgie Bed Time) and not frighten any budgie off a perch when scrounging for MORE socks once Sammy has seized her pair?
And now that I’ve typed it all up, I realise that The Twins (Arty Cat and brother Lewie) need the least of attention and are lowest on my MMP (Mad Mommy Panic) List – tough feral wanna-be kitties indeed! (Read more about them here http://www.happytailsmagazine.co.za/dds-blog/friends-with-ferals/)
Their needs are so simple: make sure that their food bowl is NEVER, EVER empty. That’s it.
OK, and a liberal sprinkle of catnip every morning, please (not too close in proximity or they beat each other up over their drug stash).
Ai! But one has to do what one has to do, and I know that my precious babies will be kept safe and sound. With the aid of popping a Rescue Remedy or two now and again, I’m sure I’ll be just fine too!
And I know that you know exactly how I feel, right?