I don’t take many real vacations. You know, the kind where I’m out of the office for a full week, ready to rest up, relax and enjoy the joy and wonder of not being on a schedule for a few days. I’m only a few days into my time off and I’m slowly remembering why.
Pets have no concept of vacations. There are days when they are fully staffed and days when the staffing levels fall to tolerable, but not optimal standards. Beyond that, well, there is no “beyond that”, because as most pet owners are well aware, it’s all about them.
Day one of vacation time began the same as practically every other day --- with one cat screaming to get outside so he can use the litter box he created in a patch of yard rather than use the two that are conveniently located in the house. His rumblings then set off Darby, who begins jingling his tags as he shakes his head, hoping for an invitation to bed. As I reach for the phone to see what time it is, the cat sleeping on the pillow above my head starts up, since motion is a sure sign that I’m awake and ready to serve. It’s 4:40 a.m.
I stagger out of bed, giving up my warm, soft spot to the dog while I set about feeding the cats, cranking out some coffee so my eyes will fully open and letting Bad Kitty Bo outside so he can use the restroom and get his morning drink from the pool.
Well, at least the newspaper is here. The world is divided by two types of people; those who read the paper every morning and those who do not. Being the former, I decide to get my morning dose of news in the peace and quiet of my first pre-dawn vacation day. I can easily digest everything that interests me in twenty minutes or so. Well, that was my plan, anyway.
The cats had other things in mind, namely, using me as their personal doorman and treat procurer every four to six minutes for the next hour. In the door, out of the door, in singular or groups. Finally, their bellies, bladders and general curiosity sated, the cats settle down for their post-breakfast snooze.
Naturally, it’s now Darby’s turn to get up and repeat the same pattern, except for the twelve trips in and out the back door. He makes up for his lack of indoor/outdoor indecisiveness by grabbing the nearest toy, pushing it into the paper I’m still trying to finish reading. We play the closest thing to fetch Darby knows for a bit and he settles down in “his” chair. At least he settles down until he sees “Brindle”, the neighborhood stray, making his way through the backyard. The sight of the cat sends him into spasms of barking, whining and turning in circles, imploring me to open the back door so he can give chase.
And so it goes. Turns out they actually do nap --- while I’m out running last-minute errands, leaving them refreshed and ready for more inside/outside, head rubs, belly rubs, butt rubs, treats, eats and play the moment I get home.
Finally, the sun sets and everyone is in for the night, dozing in their respective spaces as my husband and I settle in for a bit of television before turning in for the night. I’ve already warned him that tomorrow it’s his turn to be lead servant to the four-footed emperors we’ve cultivated over the years.
Six more days of this and I’ll be begging to go back to work.
Here’s hoping you got a little rest and relaxation over the holidays, but if you’re reading this it’s highly probable that you are a pet owner, in which case I’m guessing you didn’t. Good thing they’re so adorable, isn’t it?