Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

April 14, 2013

Pet ownership gives a crash course in parenting

GLASGOW — I’ll admit I have some quirky habits. I sing along to the instrumental portions of songs. Oh, did you like that Guns n’ Roses “November Rain” iconic guitar solo? You won’t after sitting in my car hearing me butcher it.

For the longest time as child, I used to make my bed while standing on it. I was convinced that I could get the bed sheets to spread more evenly by doing this practice.

Though by far, I’d say my quirkiest habit is my extreme affinity of animals. My boyfriend and I have two cat kids, not pets. We have 4-year-old King Leonidas, the 15-pound Maine Coon and a 6-month-old kitten named Riddick.

Until you’ve spent your Saturday cutting a hole in the kitchen door that leads to the garage for a cat door and spending another hour pushing your cats through said hole to get them used to using their “new door,” then I don’t know that you can classify yourself as a crazy pet owner.

The entire Smith family is just like this. It’s not uncommon for my mother to send pictures of Mille and Penny, the family dogs, with their nifty new winter sweaters. Just this week I sent a picture to my parents and brother of Riddick sleeping on my laptop with the caption “Work is just so hard.”

Our two cats are abnormally sweet natured. They love to cuddle and hang out. King Leonidas demonstrates a trust in me that’s almost unheard of. When I moved to Kentucky from Indianapolis, King Leo calmly sat on the passenger side seat and rode with me for the four-hour drive, ready for our next great adventure in life. When he stares at me with his big green eyes, I know what complete love and trust looks like.

My boyfriend and I thought if owning a pet is anything like having a child, we’ll have this parenting thing knocked. That was until our Easter 2013 trip back to my hometown with the boys.

Within 15 minutes of riding in the car, the kitten had made a mess in his carrier. So there we were in the Walmart parking lot cleaning out a cat carrier with Lysol wipes and tossing soiled blankets in a trash bag.

Afterwards, we headed onward. We weren’t going to miss Easter, and my dad was dying to see the cats. Within an hour of driving, Riddick had gotten sick. There I was in my car, holding the kitten away from my body begging my boyfriend to pull over and grab some paper towels from the back to help me clean him up.

He pulls over to this house on U.S. 31W. He opens the door and King Leo comes flying out, and he runs off to chase him. I was still holding a dirty cat when he took off.  I quickly placed Riddick back in his carrier so I could aid my boyfriend in the hunt for King Leo.

There we were running around a stranger’s house shouting “Leo, Leo, Leo” at the top of our lungs. God, I truly hope no one was home to see us looking like lunatics.

Luckily we found Leo under a truck and we were able to take him back to the car with his little brother who desperately needed a bath. Easter weekend my boyfriend and I got a crash course in the reality of parenting, and it’s definitely not as easy as it looks, we found.

Shelley Smith is a staff writer for the Glasgow Daily Times. She can be contacted by e-mail at ssmith@glasgowdailytimes.com.

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