The Friends I’ve Yet To Meet

More and more I find myself struggling to keep my head above water in the world of blogging. Every once in a while, the part of me I try to keep quiet reminds me I specialize in an already over-saturated niche and I feel hopeless.

In response, I browse blogs that tackle topics like mine, to see what they do better than I do. And I’m always blown away.

Because we’re always different. Even if it’s just a little bit. I can still learn from others. What a difference good photography makes. How finding a like-minded group not only increases readership, but brings an audience of allies who encourage a blogger. The million little tricks that help a blog stand out, both at first glance and after seriously reading. The effects of color and layout on a website. How much I friggin’ love italics.

Today’s Daily Prompt asks: what makes a blog good, and what makes one great? I think interesting content makes a blog good. Beautiful images. A lasting message. These are all things I’ve learned from others. But what makes a blog great is really the writer. Not their skill, per se, but their personality. Their unique perspective on life. There are things I could only experience through others, and there are ideas that never would have entered my mind. But it’s not just intellectual. When I find a writer (or a pinner or a tumblr-er or whatever) like myself, I feel like I’ve found a friend.

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When I read, blog or book, I want to be lost in a story my good friend, whom I’ve never met, is telling.

You Can’t Convince Me I’m Not A ‘Real’ Mom

ImageA recent study showed the relationship between dogs and pet parents mimics that of human children and their parents. I fail to see how this is news. I could have sworn it was common knowledge.

We dog moms, and probably other pet moms too, call ourselves ‘furmoms’. Should I explain? I can give you 25 reasons!

1. We love unconditionally

This one’s easy. My dogs have eaten things very precious to me, and I’ve had this amazing feeling of… almost apathy. I approach that as ‘stuff’. And stuff is never more important than my babies. Don’t get me wrong, they still need to be disciplined, but I love them no matter what.

2. I’ve cleaned as many bodily fluids/wastes as any other mom

Plus more hair than most moms. (God I hope you don’t have little sasquatch children…)

3. Everyone and their uncle hears about my dogs

They see pictures of my dogs, they see Facebook updates about my dogs, I have this blog about my dogs. I may need to tone it down.

4. I take my girl on play dates, and I become friends with her friends’ parents

Seriously. It’s actually pretty awesome.

5. I have holiday pictures of my girl

Christmas. Easter. Halloween. And I look forward to getting more every year!

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6. They participate in holidays other ways, too

Desi and our Lab Tinkerbell trick or treated. Lana, Desi, and Sierra wore Halloween costumes. Desi and Lana can open Christmas and birthday presents.

7. My home and car reflect my status as a mom

I even have a bumper sticker. But I meant the toys scattered everywhere, the fur in every crack and crevice, and the unsightly blotches in my carpet. Kids (and furkids) are a stain that never comes out. But in a good way.

8. I hate disciplining them, but I have to

Because that’s what a good parent does. *Not so subtle hint*

9. I dealt with the teenager phase

It just happened much sooner. About seven times as young, actually. And it ended faster. Yay!

10. I learned how to handle all sorts of maladies

Teething, warts, mange, incontinence, UTIs. Basically like teething, chicken pox, rashes, bed wetting, and UTIs. Or, at least that’s the best comparison I can come up with.

11. I drive them to school and daycare

Yep. And obedience classes involved me helping with homework just like real school should involve parents helping with homework. And I like to imagine graduating beginning obedience class is like graduating high school, intermediate is like getting a bachelors degree, and advanced is like getting a doctorate. So my dog is practically as educated as I am. And just about equally likely to get hired, thanks to my English/Psychology degree.

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12. They’ve cost me and arm and a leg

And it’s not just food! So very much food. It’s vet bills, pills, toys, collars, replacements for everything they’ve ruined… just like kids!

13. I’m more familiar with their doctor than mine

I kid you not, when the blood diagnostic center asked my doctor’s name, I almost blurted out my vet. That would have been awkward.

14. Maintenance is a must

Cutting nails, brushing hair, bathing, cleaning ears. The one thing I thank god I don’t have to deal with is using that sucky-squeezy thing (I think it’s called a bulb syringe) to suck snot out of baby noses. *shudders* I do respect you, human moms.

15. They get spoiled by the grandparents

Well, mine does at least. It’s like I have a kid; Lana’s grandparents babysit and buy her gifts and treats every time they see her.

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16. They wake us up in the middle of the night

And first thing in the morning. And during much needed naps. And even when we’re half asleep on the treadmill because we don’t know when to stop.

17. Some of them are terrified of strangers

Like mine. Ohmygosh!! Mom!! There’s someone at the door! They’re here to kill us all!! Make them go away! Bark bark bark!

18. Some are terrified of everything else, too

I got what I deserved. I used to be afraid of radiation, carbon monoxide, murderers, snakes, flesh eating bugs, government surveillance… all when I was in middle school. (100% serious, I was a weird kid.) And guess what! Now I have a dog who is afraid of hats, gloves, plastic bags, Halloween decorations, heating elements, the phrase ‘ooga booga’, vacuum cleaners…

19. Potty training

This was awful for Lana! It didn’t help I was on the third floor and had to run down several flights of stairs whenever she needed to pee. And when she didn’t but I thought she did. And when she said she did and then forgot once we got there.

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20. My fur kid also has A.D.D.

Only instead of losing focus during homework, she gets distracted when trying to find a spot to go potty (see number 19).

21. “That’s Mine!”

Anybody else think of the little kid, Randy, from A Christmas Story? Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING belongs to Lana. The food on my plate, all the toys – even the ones she’s not playing with (poor fosters), my spot on the couch… Insert Doctor Sheldon Cooper’s: ‘You can’t sit there, that’s MY spot!’

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22. We argue about the best way to raise them

Seriously, can we stop with this? Some people are SO judgmental. Let’s try to save it for a common enemy instead of pissing off our allies. We all learn, experiment, and figure out what’s best for us and our dogs, just like parents and children. (Note: abuse is still bad, but go easy on assuming everyone who gives a spanking is an abuser, okay? Thanks.)

23. They pout

When Desi gets mad at us, she turns her back to us and ignores us when we call her. Well, she used to. Now she’s deaf, so it’s not really her fault anymore…

24. They will totally lie to our faces

Human kiddos: “Did you brush your teeth yet?” “Yep!” “Then why does your breath stink?!” or “Did you steal a cookie from the jar?” “No ma’am!” “Then what are these crumbs?” (That’s right, we said ma’am and sir in my house! But we didn’t have a cookie jar… boo!)

Doggie kiddos: “Did you eat this shoe?” *tail wags innocently* “Stop lying!!!”

Image25. They have us wrapped around their fingers, er, paws

Lana has this habit of using her Border Collie stare when she wants ice. I can resist that, but when she starts with her Husky talk, I can’t say no. We’re working on teaching her to say ‘Mama’. I’m not even kidding.

ImageI’ve seen mothers of human children take offense, though that’s not the intent of this post. We aren’t saying what you do isn’t hard(er); we’re just saying we’ve had a taste of it, too!

I’d Like a Mother’s Day Gift or Two…

Yesterday I ran across an article in the online dog-lovers magazine, Keep the Tail Wagging, talking about Mother’s Day for “fur-moms”. This fur-momma gave a list of the best gifts her boyfriend could give her for Mother’s Day, as a way to say “thanks” for taking such great care of their pets. She ended it with the question: what would you want for “Fur Mother’s Day”?

Anything I want?! Well there’s so many things, I’m not sure where to begin.

No. I am sure.

Number 1: A few more pictures where my dog(s) and I BOTH look nice.

Kisses are nice, but a good picture would have been nicer!

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Yes, I want a few more of these!

Number 2: It would be nice to hear how my previous fosters are doing.

sierra goodbye

I know they’re in happy homes, but I want a picture of them and their favorite toy, or them playing with their new siblings, or them “smiling”, because dogs do smile (Sierra was all smiles). Because I still love them.

Number 3: I’d love for Lana to not destroy something or go through my garbage, for like a week.

04-20-11 lana makes a big mess

Yeah. I miss the days when it was just stuffing I had to clean up. Now it’s whatever I call “trash” but she decides is “treasure”.

Number 4: Maybe she could be a little less obnoxious at dinner, too.

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I love her more than anything, but I don’t share food. Ever. Just ask my boyfriend. He nearly lost a hand when he stole the first cookie out of a box. THE FIRST COOKIE!!!

And number 5, the one I want more than all the rest combined: A home for Brody (maybe even someone I know?!).

brody at the vets

A picture of Brody after finishing his heartworm treatment. He is still under observation at the vet’s office.

If you’re on our fan page, I’m sure you’ve already seen this image of Brody. The amazing Karen, the head of Aussie and Me, posted it on my Facebook wall on Friday. The vet’s office wrote the caption: Brody has gotten through his heartworm treatment and he will be staying a few more days at the vet’s office for monitoring. He had a visitor stop by to spend some time with him today and it is said that Brody just wasn’t his happy self. It was evident that the treatment has taken a toll on him. Feel better Brody and get some rest. You deserve to take the time you need.

Karen reiterated: Brody is having a tough time with his heartworm treatment but will be ok. He misses you very much. … He is really sad.

My poor baby boy. I’m not there to comfort him when he feels sick and alone. He misses us, and we miss him, too. And that’s just not a good thing to hear in time for Mother’s Day. Even if I’m not a “real” mother.

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We miss this smile.

What mother doesn’t want the best for her kids? Of course I wish my home could be his forever home. But this is Mother’s Day, not Christmas. There are no miracles that would make that work. There are just long-awaited “thank you”s for a lifetime of love and devotion. Or, in the case of a foster mom, enough love and devotion to make up for the bad parts of their lives we weren’t able to fix and last until long after they are gone.

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Brody Boy

They need us mothers and fathers. They are always thankful. They show us every day. Though Brody won’t be back until after Mother’s Day is over, every day will feel like Mother’s Day after he returns. Because that’s the kind of dog he is. He looks at you and you know he is grateful. You know he is devoted. He immediately finds a place in your heart and stays there. So next Mother’s Day, when he has a real “mom”, I’ll still think about him, just as I think about the others.

And I’ll also be grateful to the family who takes them into their home, to love him, to dote on him, to care for him until he dies.

What I really want for Mother’s Day is for Brody to find a family, and to thank each and every “mother” (and “father”) who has adopted one of my previous fosters. They may not be able to say Happy Mother’s Day, but I can.

Happy Mother’s Day to you, the women who love and cherish the fur-kids I used to raise.