Don’t Ask Me To Pet-Sit
I love my pets.
And I love yours too.
To be perfectly frank, I’d rather see photos of your dogs and cats than your kids. Your pets are always at their sweetest in photos. But although your babies may have that fresh and innocent look, your older kids (older than, say, two) are mostly just mugging for the camera in ways – I must confess – I usually find just slightly obnoxious.
Perhaps this is because I have pets of my own, but I don’t have children of my own. But perhaps it is also because I have seen your kids in action. I often like your pets better.
But please don’t ask me to pet-sit.
My heart is in the right place, but my track record is dismal.
Several years ago, a close friend asked me to stop by and feed her cat while she was away for a few days. No problem, I said. The first day, I entered her house, and there was no sign of Kitty. I discovered the bathroom door was closed, and once I managed to get it open (there seemed to be something wedged on the other side), there was the cat. He had managed to get the door closed behind him and it appears that in his resulting panic, he had pulled down the bathrobe that had been hanging on the door.
But okay. I propped open the door with a few heavy books so Kitty would not be able to lock himself in again, and put his food out. I wanted to pet him to calm him down, but he was nowhere to be seen. But he had always been kind of a spooky little guy. I didn’t worry about it.
The next day, my friend came home, and couldn’t find the cat. She searched everywhere in the house. I had left her a note explaining why the books were stacked by the bathroom door. But there was no Kitty. She was distraught. Until she looked out the window and saw Kitty sitting in the back yard.
I swear I don’t know how Kitty got out. But I can only assume that I was too busy building my book doorstop for the bathroom to realize that I hadn’t exactly closed the kitchen door.
Thank God it ended well.
The same can’t be said of another friend’s fish.
My husband’s friend lived quite near my office. So when he and his wife planned a little vacation, I was happy to stop by their house on the way home from work and feed their tropical fish. The first afternoon everything looked fine. But the second afternoon, two fish appeared to be dead. I didn’t have a lot of tropical fish experience, But I didn’t believe that fish usually do the backfloat. But just in case I was wrong, and they were just napping, I left them there. I carefully fed the rest of the fish, exactly according to directions.
The next day, our friends returned, and they immediately called me. All of the fish were dead. All of them.
I just couldn’t understand it. They had written all their instructions down. I read really well, and I am very obedient. I could not imagine what I did wrong. I felt horrible.
But thankfully, the investigation cleared me from all wrongdoing. The couple discovered that the water in the tank was extremely warm. Too warm for even tropical fish. They realized that they had left the drapes open in the living room, and the morning sun had landed right on the fish tank. There was no way I could have known that, as the sun had moved off by the time I went over. (And of course, if I had seen the sun reflecting on the tank, I probably would have thought, How nice for the little fishies.)
The very next year, the same friends adopted a sweet little kitten. And they needed to go to Maine for a family event. The friends were a bit hesitant to ask me to take care of the kitten. I’m sure that was because they didn’t want to inconvenience me – it had nothing to do with dozens of dead fish, since that was totally not my fault. But my husband said he would stop by.
Well, about noon that day, I received a call from my husband. He was in a panic. He arrived to find the kitten in a very bad state. “She’s barely conscious and she’s panting so hard her whole little body is shaking.”
“Get that cat to a vet right now. We cannot be responsible for killing our friends’ pets two years in a row!” I hollered into the phone. I used the royal “we” in this case. You can do that if you are a couple.
So Hubby raced the kitten to the nearest vet. Where it was determined that the little girl was hypoglycemic, and was in some kind of diabetic coma. The vet gave the kitty a dose of glucose, and she perked right up.
Everything turned out fine. Although my husband said later that it was a whole lot harder taking the cat home from the vet than bringing her there. A little kitten in a coma will lie in your lap quiet nicely while you drive. While on the other hand, A kitten of a full-fledged sugar high will jump around the car like it is an incredibly fun trampoline.
- Posted in: Humor