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Pets are hard, sister.

The general maintenance isn’t, on the whole, so terrible – it can be work for sure (housebreaking, for example. Walking the dog in the blizzard. The ubiquitous cat vomit), but that’s part of living with another person.* It’s what you do in exchange for close companionship – we meet each others needs: Your kid needs sneakers for spring soccer, your shaggy doggie needs a haircut for warmer weather. Your spouse likes meatloaf, your cat (who also likes meatloaf) needs good kibble. You prefer to sleep in soft sheets, your rats like to dig snoozy spots in that grainy cage fluff¬† that looks like Dippin’ Dots gone weird.¬† You prefer the ultra-soft quilted 2-ply in the bathroom, your ferrets prefer the comfort of corner (any corner, but especially if it has a rug under it). You and your luvvy like sexytiemz together, your cats like to watch the show. It’s how we live with each other, and that’s where the delight of being together dwells. And sometimes a houseplant or two suffers in the process, but I try not to ruminate on it too much.**

It’s the end part that just dismantles me. There is no elder care or reliable palliative treatment for this – it’s all hands-on, you and your pet, and there are no last words. If it’s ok to say, I will admit that I get more attached to my pets than I do to most people. No one humors my fuck-ups and foibles like my pets. And very few others sit on my lap for extended periods of time making happy noises about just the fact of being there. Humans I struggle with regularly, pets much much less.

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December 2012