I have never had the privilege of being a parent. I have, however, been a long-time dog and cat owner. Tonight I have experienced through them a little of what mothers and fathers must go through when they are away from their children for a night.
Our local Humane Society division of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) introduced me last week to a program they offer to help seniors with their pets. By signing up for the program, the Society will deliver pet food to my house every month for three to six months to offset some of the cost. In return, all pets must be spayed or neutered and become current in all of their shots. All of this is provided at no cost.
So, this afternoon two volunteers came by to pick up the pet babies. It was the first time the cats have been in a carrier. It was a challenge getting them in there but finally they cooperated. One dog, the Shepherd, went fairly easily into a large cage in the back of the van while the Boxer, that loves to go for rides was thrilled to sit between the volunteers up front.
Now the house seems so quiet and lonely. I have cleaned all the pet food bowls and the kitty litter box. It seems strange not having my furry friends with me. This is the first time we have been apart over the last five years since the first one of them strayed to the house. We have our routines for their treats and combing and playtime and now I have the house to myself and it is a little too quiet and I feel a bit discombobulated.
Tomorrow the volunteers will return the babies. The next few days after that will be interesting as I take care of the two cats and the one dog that will have been fixed, making sure they don't get too rambunctious and pull out their stitches. The dog will have to be walked on a lease instead of being allowed free run in the back yard but the good thing about that? It will give me extra exercise. And, after tomorrow, they will all be up-to-date on their shots and surgeries, something I haven't been able to afford this year.
This is a terrific program that may be available in your town if you need to look into it. And it is only one afternoon and evening and morning without the babies here.
Still, I have gotten used to having them here and playing our games and doing our routines. I miss them and I'm sure they will be uncomfortable in their temporary surroundings. But won't it be a wonderful reunion tomorrow afternoon? A bit like when your child comes home from an overnight stay at a friend's.
Sure, when we have such obligations we often wish we didn't. But don't we have a great sense of loneliness when they're gone, even for a night?