Pet owners like that are the only pet owners here.


I spent most of yesterday wandering through various veterinary facilities, husband in tow. We sat in waiting rooms and exam rooms, carrier in my lap, or worse, the carrier sitting on the floor, its occupant out, growling, firmly held down on a metal examination table.

It was more than 48 hours since she was able to eat or drink or move freely.

Last week I posted about my cat, Copy, and her vet fears. This week she’s in the veterinary hospital with a mysterious bacterial infection. What happened? No one knows. She was in magnificent form at the vet’s for her vaccinations  Friday. She hissed, she spat, she did her best Linda Blair impersonation. We apologized to the vet techs and murmured sweet nothings to the cat and brought her home for the bath she needed. And then she was bafflingly ill.

As we sat in a succession of waiting rooms Sunday and yesterday, we ran into people who were dealing with their own problems. A black lab thumped his tail against the floor at the veterinary hospital’s waiting room. It was a soothing kind of percussion, the tail-thumping and happy panting, and I leaned forward to smile at the dog.

“He’s a very sick dog,” said his owner, an older man whose grief had hardened into rage. “I don’t know what’s wrong with his vets. They just can’t seem to get it together.”

Everyone in that waiting room was there because their pets were in crisis. A teenage girl with gauged ears and spiked hair sat fidgeting, a parrot on her shoulder.  A very young policeman paced in and out of the hospital’s waiting area, waiting for his K-9 unit to be brought out to him. A woman with a slipping bra strap would not leave until she had said goodnight to the pet that was, like my cat, staying overnight. A man wept, his head on the receptionist’s desk. We could not turn away from him, because there was nowhere to turn.

That was horrible, but seeing all of those pet owners was, in a way,  its own kind of comfort. Well, as much of a comfort as a reality check can be. My worry, and pain and guilt wasn’t unique to me. Nor was my shame at being so worried about my cat, when other people have sick human beings in their lives.

That said, I hope I never go back to that waiting room again. I’m waiting for a call from the vet at the hospital now. And kind as they’ve been to her there, I cannot wait to get the handle of her carrier into my hands so we can run out the door.

4 thoughts on “Pet owners like that are the only pet owners here.

  1. Oh. What a touching, heart-wrenching post. I’m sorry Copy isn’t feeling well. I’ve wept oceans over my pets (current and past) while stoically dealing with the heartbreak over my people.

  2. His grief had hardened into rage.

    What a sad, heartbreaking situation for that man and his dog and what a beautiful and original way you’ve expressed it.

    I hope your beloved cat is better tomorrow. Then you can really celebrate Thanksgiving. Love — Jane

    • Thank you, Jane. Sadly, we had to put Copy to sleep on Tuesday evening. The house has been terribly empty without her. It’s been a sad Thanksgiving week, but I am thankful that we were able to put her out of her pain.

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