I'm Not An Animal Person

April 19, 2010 by Rieshy
I'm not an animal person.  That doesn't mean I enjoy clubbing baby seals, it just means that after I pet a sweet dog, or pat a gorgeous horse, or even my friend Angie's baby cashmere goats, I want to wash my hands.  I may stand there and have a conversation with the animal owner, but a corner of my mind is just biding time waiting for soap and water.

About a year ago we had to put down the dog we rescued 13 years prior.  Her death was sad but not unexpected and though I grieved her it was in a non-animal person sort of way.  I.e. I grieved what she had meant to our family all while a part of my brain considered what bushes I could plant to fill in the ugly hole she always dug by the deck.

Late last night a very kind neighbor knocked on the door to let us know my 10 yo's outdoor cat, Linus, had been hit by a car.  Definitely unexpected.  The cat was a gorgeous one yo that had won my grudging admiration by leaving my window screens alone and keeping the rabbits out of my salad garden.

Linus loved our 10 yo daughter; she was the worshipped keeper and dispenseror of catfood and fresh cream.  The poor cat's jaw was smashed, skull fractured, internal bleeding, but Linus still recognized my 10 yo and tried to get into her lap for comfort.

He also loved my 4 yo and would allow my 4 yo to flip him onto his back in chubby 4 yo arms, to be toted around the yard for indefinite periods of time.  My 4 yo trips a lot...  I've never seen a cat allow such a degree of clumsy liberties to be taken.  My 4 yo spent a lot of time playing with and pondering the cat.  In fact yesterday, hours before the accident, he asked me, "Why do cats have to go to work?"

Uh, hmm.  Time to clarify the question with a question.  "What kind of work do cats do?"

4 yo answered, "They go jump on computers and climb up and down chairs."

I had no answer- though I did text my husband about it.

At the emergency veterinary clinic I was taken aback by the level of flouresent lighting.  It was the same glowing brilliance as in the children's E.R. with which I'm far too familiar.  It was so bright I felt like I was going to get a tan.  In the children's E.R. I go into a slow-down.  My brain is sharp and focused and I can do anything I need to for my child- no matter how gross.

At the vet's I turned into a delicate pansy and sobbed onto the shoulder of my friend, Wanda.  I kept thinking, "Stupid Cat, Stupid Cat," while I cried.  I couldn't even look at Linus' wounds.

The clinic was great- and compassionate; there was no hope.  It will take longer for my 10 yo and 4 yo to get over Linus' absence than it did for the clinic to put Linus to sleep.

I'm not an animal person.  Yet, here I am needing to write through the experience, needing to say what a brilliant stupid cat Linus was.  Stupid, sweet, wonderful cat.
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Melanie said...

So sorry. I never thought I was an animal person either, until Alan and I got our first dog. Animals find a place in your heart, and especially animals that help your children grow and understand the world. I'll be for all of you, but esp B and J.

Alexandra said...

I love animals. ANd it melts my heart to see my children love their pets so much.

It is the beginning of learning to nurture those smaller and dependent on you.

miranda said...

I'm sorry, though of course more for your kiddos than you. That is very sad.
Your animal phobia is exactly like my mother's. Those inner conversations are the same as hers. She tolerated a couple dogs and one cat growing up. Like you she had her next landscaping move ready when they passed on. Too funny!

Unknown said...

How sad. I think cats are the best types of animals.
I think you are a cat person, which is completely different from an animal person.

Unknown said...

That breaks my heart...

Anonymous said...

I am so so sorry for your loss. I love the oxymoron of a stupid brillant cat. We have a cat and I totally comprehend that statement!

Cheeseboy said...

Ha ha! Club a baby seal... hilarious! I am not an animal person either, but I once broke my cats let on accident in our recliner and the squeals will forever haunt me.

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