Love: What's Time Got to Do with It?
I only had two pets in my adult years. Each of them was around for just two months, and each left lasting memories. It hurt to leave them behind. They may have been short-term companions, but the love and joy they inspired will never be forgotten.
A Dog with a Story
"It comes with a dog as a bonus", I laughed to my mister as the little dog was running towards us. We were renting a house with a yard, part of a bigger plan that included starting a garden - something my former balcony couldn't support. The moment we set foot in the backyard, we drew Picky to us like a magnet. It was love at first sniff, we thought, and then we heard her story.
Picky was a 12-year-old female Pekehund, an old little dog whose owners had died about 4 years before. Back when the lady was alive, Picky had been a pampered little doggie. She was allowed anywhere in the house and fed sweets; she would often roam streets nearby, worrying her owner sick. When the lady died, Picky was not completely alone, as she was fed by the neighbors and had their dog as a companion, yet she would return home each time there was someone around the old house.
So, basically, when we moved in, she lay on the doormat and remained there. Suddenly, we had a dog.
We saw a veterinarian who prescribed remedies for her fleas and parasites, we also got her an anti-flea collar, and then there was a significant change in her behavior. She started sleeping peacefully, unlike she was before. She wasn't allowed in the house, and we set her up some kind of shelter near the door, which seemed to be her favorite spot. We tested her tastes, and would buy food especially for her. I started reading and learning about taking care of dogs, especially old ones. It was rewarding - we had a companion following us around the yard, a little soul happy to play catch with a ball, and "guard" us. The only thing Picky was not good at was keeping the neighbor's dog away from our yard at night, so that he wouldn't make a mess (which happened a few times) - but they were friends, so it was OK, we thought at precautionary measures.
Two months later, we had to leave that house, and the only thing we regretted was not being able to take Picky with us. She was an ownerless dog that belonged to the neighbors!? After all, she was never our dog...
I remember how lovely it was coming home to her, and the laughs we had at her "battle" with the lawn mower. We won't forget her. The sole memory of her makes me smile and feel grateful for having such a wonderful little dog around to love unconditionally... even for such a short while.
That kind of love lasts more than two months.
Taking a Good Nap - This Is Picky
Quick Tips for Short-Term Owners of Pets - What I Learned from Experience
Deciding to take care of an animal for a short time is a selfless experience. You have to think of the pet first. You will be taking care of it for the sake of knowing it is well - well-fed, healthy, full of life and energy, safe from harm. The only reward you can count on is the feeling you took care of a little soul. And what makes the experience wonderful is that you always get more, if you start off well.
- Try to find out the story of the pet. It will help you understand its behavior better.
- Get the animal to a vet for a check up. You may not know what conditions your new friend has lived in, and how they affected its health. A veterinary physician will tell you the state of the pet's health, prescribe a treatment, if necessary, give you advice, and recommend helpful books. This way you avoid problems for you and your pet.
- Gently test the pet. Find out what it likes and what it doesn't, and try to act accordingly. Make yourself perceived by the pet as a source of comfort and safety. Let trust build.
- Have patience. Results won't always come quickly. Adaptation is required, and it takes a bit of time and attention.
- By all means, love the pet. Being around for only a short time may seem like a valid reason for keeping the distance, but you're rejecting many beautiful memories together with the pet. Don't underestimate the powerful influence such an encounter can have upon you. It may be exactly what you need for the time being.
- Take pictures! They'll help you remember how YOU felt :)
Don't Hurt Animals!
If you are not able to take proper care of an animal, please spare it the suffering.