I don't own pets (except my whore fish). I had a few pets when I was young. Shep was our dog when I was little but when we moved to a townhouse when I was 9, my mom took him to my grandmother in Maine where he would have more space. He threw up in the car pretty much the whole way there. My mom had to wait until a perfect weather day to sell the car. It still smelled bad years later if the weather was hot and humid.
My mom got me a cat when I was 10. That lasted a few months. I couldn't breathe. As in I Could. Not. Breathe. The house was scrubbed (professionally) several times after that. Years later (like more than 10), the washing machine flooded and made the rug in the family room wet. Whatever was left in the rug filled the air and I couldn't breathe again.
This is why I don't have pets.
But I know people who do.
My brother had a dog, a Bernese Mountain Dog - Chester - who didn't realize he was a dog. He thought he was a boy. That was the most spoiled and loved dog ever. We had had several human deaths in our family around the time Chester lost his fight with cancer. I handled the human deaths okay but the loss of Chester (who was not my dog) still brings tears to my eyes years later.
My boyfriend had two cats when I met him - Shiva and Freya. Shiva is the mighty hunter who likes to attack my toes in the middle of the night. Freya loved me. And she didn't interrupt my breathing. Her death still appears in my dreams sometimes.
Now I want to tell you a story about Bobcat. He's not really a bobcat. He's a cat that got his name because of my father -in-law, Bob He became Bob's cat, hence the name Bobcat. Bobcat is somewhere around 23 human years old. And I love him.
My mother in law rescued him from a house where his former owners had abandoned him. I joined the family a few years later. Bobcat ruled that house. I knew my place was well below him.
He stayed and comforted Bob through a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's Disease. When the disease caused Bob to be aggressive and frustrated, Bobcat brought him comfort.
When my mother in law, Ruth, first battled breast cancer, Bobcat stayed by her side.
When her son and I split and my children had two homes to deal with, Bobcat made them feel loved and safe.
When Ruth developed breast cancer again, Bobcat scared the nasty nurse that we didn't want there. That was fun.
At the end of Ruth's life, she said she wanted to go home to be with Bobcat. He brought her comfort, laying in her bed with her when that's all she could do. He was Bobcat. He was loved.
Now it's Bobcat's turn. He's sick. He's at least 23 - we don't know an exact age. I laughed when I saw the vet's report - she couldn't hear his heart murmur over his purring. That cat can purr.
This is why I can't have pets. Saying goodbye is too hard. Goodbye Bobcat. You were very much loved. I hope you knew that. You leave broken hearts behind.