When you are single in the city, pets can be the perfect way to combat the occasional loneliness that accompanies urban living. They are warm, welcoming, forgiving companions who don’t care that you missed a client’s deadline or that you’re heartsick from your latest failed non-relationship. They greet you with tails wagging, ready to be loved and love in return, and make you feel like you are the only thing that matters to them.
I wouldn’t know about this elusive “companionship,” however, because none of the above describes my pests…er, pets.
A typical Seattle evening: I arrive home after work/gym/happy hour, etc. (usually not in that order) and put the key into my apartment door veeeeery quietly so as not to alert Baylor and Macy that I am there. No such luck: both pets are waiting in the entry and I can only get one foot in the door (NOT a euphemism) because Baylor is yipping to go potty and Macy is in crouch position, ready to burst out any tiny opening in the door the moment the opportunity presents itself. Holding my huge purse in front of me as I walk in (“Get back! Get BACK! Macy, no!”) I manage to squeeze through without either pet escaping, dropping and tripping on my keys in the process, which causes me to fall onto the dog, who yelps and jumps onto the cat, who growls and dives under my feet where she ALMOST makes it out just before I ALMOST slam the door on her tiny head. Exhausted, I lean against the doorjam and sigh, only to realize I’ve just crushed my meticulously pressed drycleaning into a wrinkled mess. Welcome home, my ass.
Then it’s a mad dash to feed the yowling kitten and change to take the dog out to the park (see previous posts regarding the dubious atmosphere at the Denny Regrade) where I fend off several propositions from particularly unpleasant urban individuals and attempt to work off Baylor’s pent-up energy and grant myself a relaxing evening at home. Alas, such is not the case.
Upon returning home I discover that Macy, unhappy about being left behind, has shredded AND ingested portions of several bills I was going to pay, upset my desktop junk box and tried to work through a 6-pack of bagels, the dog food and my Bluetooth. Baylor (not tired at all) immediately races over to her and proceeds to torment her until she gets so upset that she races over to me and jumps on my back to escape. I scream a string of profanities upon feeling her sharp kitten claws opening yesterday’s wounds (from a similar incident) and put each pet in a different corner of my apartment for a time out, where they both ignore me and immediately start spatting again. Resigned, I let them have it out while I begin the routine of dinner, internet time, Anderson Cooper (when he can be heard over my shouting – “Baylor, get OFF her!”) and finally a shower (blissfully free of pets), from which I emerge to discover both sleepily waiting for me to put them in their respective places in bed and snuggle in to sleep.
After much tossing, turning and reorganizing the animals to give myself a little bit of space in which to rest, we all finally come to comfortable agreement (as long as Macy is nowhere NEAR Baylor) on our sleeping arrangement and I am able to read a chapter of my book with one pet warming my feet and the other purring happily in my ear. Okay, so maybe I’ve been a little harsh, because this unique companionship between humans and does exist between me and mine – it just takes a while to get there. Even after all the trials and tribulations of the day-to-day with them – the fights, the frustration, the training that is going so poorly, the stress of rushing home to take care of them, the shredded bills and litter everywhere – they both look at me with their warm eyes and sigh contentedly in the nearness of my presence, and I know I wouldn’t trade them for anything.