Posts Tagged ‘Pets’

a cat in your bed

June 4th, 2019    -    5 Comments

“Let’s go to the Humane Society when you get home and adopt a cat. There are too many animals who need loving homes.”

It sounded like something I would say but I didn’t really mean to say it. It was more of a Hail Mary pass, an attempt to keep my daughter in the game before semester’s end. The dog had died. Her cough was worse. Sleeping wasn’t possible. She was sad, tired, lonely and ready to come home. Then she started asking for a new pet. I hemmed; I balked; in desperation I threw into the end zone. In my mind there was still time to backtrack.

My chief regret as a parent is my failure to leave well enough alone.

Our conversations changed overnight.

She immediately named the fictional kitten.  She spent hours shopping for cat furniture online. In one day she sent me seven links for different scratching posts and beds, not to mention a cat hat. (I had to admit it was darling.) There didn’t seem to be any end to her expectations.

Can we please get this bed please please please.

Depending on how well behaved the cat is maybe I can get it registered as an emotional support animal and bring it to school with me.

Before she even flew home she asked how soon after deplaning we could go and get the kitten. I bargained for time, and then I had to level with her. I didn’t really want a cat. I just wanted her to feel better.

It seems to me that there are two checkpoints in parenting. The first is when your children believe what you say. The second is when they don’t believe what you say. If you fail the first, you accomplish the second. I knew I had to keep my word. It was time to let go.

A few mornings later we were at the humane society. She filled out the forms to be a new mother. Then she fell in love once, twice, three, four, five times. She loved every single kitten. Narrowing her heart to fit the one who was old enough to be adopted that day, she made the perfect match.

My mind churned with everything I should tell her that she didn’t know—about the sleeping, the eating, and the mess. The commitment, the responsibility, and the cost. And then, like a circle completing itself, I flashed back to bringing my baby home 20 years ago this summer, and silenced myself with the sudden certainty that she had everything she needed. It’s all any of us have to see us through from beginning to end—love.

And a cat in her bed.

raising a little one

November 5th, 2012    -    2 Comments

She seemed so tiny, about the size of a silver dollar, when we brought her home in the palm of our hands. We hadn’t prepared nearly enough, but we told ourselves that it couldn’t be that hard to raise a baby turtle.

Put it in the tank and watch it grow! Was there more to it than that?

Then we Googled it.  The experts said we needed to add a heater, use a special feeding bowl, and keep the habitat tidy. It was a lot of work, especially for Mom.

When she was little, she made little messes.

When she got bigger, she made bigger messes.

This made mom a lot madder than she would ever admit. Soon, she had to clean the tank nearly every other day! No one else ever seemed to notice all the work that Mom did, which made mom really, really mad.

Was she raising a lazy, ungrateful slob inside those four walls?

As the turtle kept eating, she seemed to get more and more fed up, too. Sometimes she tried to climb out of her special feeding bowl when Mom turned her head. She tried to claw her way out of her cozy tank even after Mom had spent the afternoon cleaning it just so. Sometimes even at dinnertime that turtle would turn her head, looking disgusted, and say “I’m not hungry right now,” or “Is this all there is to eat?” or “I’m going back to my room.”

One day Mom decided it was time to put turtle in the backyard pond. Dad was upset, saying “But she’s still my precious little baby!”

We put her in the pond and expected her to be starved, eaten or lost. For weeks, turtle seemed to disappear entirely. I wasn’t surprised. In my heart of hearts, I never really believed she could make it on her own.

And then one day we saw turtle sunning herself on a rock in the middle of the water, already twice the size she’d been on the day she left home. When we tried to get close enough to take a picture, she dove back into the deep, her natural element, her true home, where she keeps her own secrets and dreams her own dreams.

That’s all there was to it.

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paw prints

July 9th, 2011    -    10 Comments

Book Review & Giveaway
by Georgia Miller

Since my daughter’s literary interests have long veered toward the furry four-legged, she was eager to share her latest book review. Read the instructions at the end of this post and you will be entered to win her own special giveaway.

A Dog Named Slugger by Leigh Brill is a touching true story about a young woman and her service dog.

Because of her cerebral palsy, Leigh was in need of a service dog. She had trouble walking and a dog would help her balance and walk up stairs. When she finally received Slugger, she had to go through several training courses. I learned that dogs can be used for more than companionship.

One day, when she was walking around on campus, Leigh met her future husband. They always loved playing Frisbee and catch with Slugger. When Leigh was interviewed for a job, they wouldn’t accept her because of Slugger. No matter how hard they tried to get Leigh to work without her dog, she wouldn’t give in. She was brave.

Of course, after the many years of helping Leigh, Slugger developed arthritis. It eventually got worse and worse, so Leigh decided to get another service dog named Kenda. Kenda was a young, fun-loving puppy. So she helped Leigh during the time when Slugger was sick and had to be put to sleep. That part of the book was so sad I didn’t want to read it at night before bed so I read it in the car on the way to gymnastics.

I thought this was a great book. It is absolutely perfect for the young dog lover, or a dog lover of any age. It’s good to read books about dogs so if you’re looking to get one, you can learn what they are like. This is now one of my favorite books. I loved it. I learned a lot about people and dogs, and it made me feel lucky.

If I could say anything to Leigh Brill it would be that you are really awesome and you are one of my idols. I hope you write a book about you and Kenda!

Now for my giveaway. Please leave a comment with your suggestion of more books I should read and review this summer. If I choose your name, I will send you a super cool duct tape wallet handmade by me!

It’s Kid’s Week on Cheerio Road. Check back frequently for guest posts on the darnedest things.


your life is a garden

October 31st, 2010    -    10 Comments

And you are the only gardener. Meditate on this.

What looks like Christmas

December 13th, 2009    -    9 Comments

Purchased the Wii she put #1 on her wish list for the last three years now that it has fallen to #2 behind hamster, the kind of retro hamster that – like the two fish, turtle and dog – requires someone’s mother to clean and feed it.

Encouraged her good dad to buy a little Christmas tree and found out three days later it cost $100.

Coerced my daughter into having a cup of hot cocoa with me at Starbucks despite her protests that, in 70-degree sunshine, she wasn’t very cold right now.

Raided her piggy bank to pay for the cocoa with every intention of repaying it.

Let my husband pick out a computer for her and he chose one that is better than mine.

Spent $160 on gifts at Target and allowed the cashier to sign me up for a store credit card to save 15 percent, a process that took 15 percent of the trouble it will take to cancel the credit card.

Soon realized that 15 percent of $160 isn’t nothing but amounts to less than nothing.

Learned that a plumbing leak requires replacement of the dining room ceiling before our Christmas company comes.

A ceiling over our heads instantly amounted to my greatest wish and blessing.

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Proof of an alternate universe

June 22nd, 2009    -    8 Comments

Me: I have to pick up the dog poop in the yard before Amy Tiemann comes today.

Him: I just picked it up on Saturday.

One day soon he should get a dog.

Like sand through the hourglass

May 12th, 2009    -    8 Comments

Another spring.
Another carnival.
Another gallon of distilled water every week.
Introducing Zippy and Bubbles.
Newly installed and counting the days in this life everlasting.

A morning memorial.

Photo by Georgia Miller

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The squiggly wigglies

April 23rd, 2009    -    3 Comments

I’m off for a three-day retreat at my practice home starting tonight, because this silent spaciousness is where all stories begin and end.

Before I leave I want to share some recent inspiration.

First, the Shambhala Sun has reposted my piece on the Dharma of Barbie. Even after you think you’ve tossed her, the old girl never dies. And there’s always a new generation of parents for her to haunt. If you scroll down to the end of the story, you’ll see the announcement that I’ll soon be launching a blog on their site named after the stuff that is always near to my heart. Once I sort the lights from the darks, we’ll see what comes out of it. Leave a comment over there and let them know that I’m not just full of suds.

This column in the New Yorker snapped, crackled and popped my eyes open earlier this week. It’s a fascinating look that could leave you wondering about how much you’re willing to commit to yourself during troubling times.

Speaking of troubles, I was touched by this letter to fellow practitioners. Not just because the need is urgent and the time is now, but because of the sheer delight in seeing that, even to a Rinpoche, practice is just pretense. We must all pretend harder!

Lastly, I was so moved by Cam’s reflection on loss. It reminds me that the why that has no answer is the very why we keep going, and that love and loss are never separate.

And just for a parting grin, this snippet of conversation two days ago over a sleeping dog.

Mom, you know what I’ve figured out?

What’s that?

A well-trained dog isn’t that much fun.

Why not?

Because you don’t get to wrestle it, and have trouble with it. You don’t get to be mad at it.

I see.

So a well-trained dog isn’t the best kind.

You think?

If we ever get a new puppy can we name it Squiggly or Wiggly?

The next bubble to burst

January 5th, 2009    -    12 Comments

“Although we can expect small-business failure rates to increase over the coming months, the entrepreneurial spirit is still alive and well.”

– Dr. Jeff Cornwall
The Entrepreneurial Mind

Pup Sudz

The ULTAMATE doggie
grooming center!
Make the dog look good!
small dogz: $5
medium dogz: $10
large dogz: $15
Jan 4 (only)

We don’t take credit cards!!!

Opening/Closing day customer count: One, her own dog, who doesn’t count.

“Mommy, no one ever comes to these things, no one ever wants to come to these things, and they don’t even care how hard we try!”

–Georgia Miller, age 9, The Entrepreneurial Mine

Keep a goldfish alive in 20 easy steps

November 20th, 2008    -    11 Comments

A-Goldfish-In-A-Bowl-1530827_jpg_472x225_crop_upscale_q85I’ve had this post in my mind for a very long time, nearly every time that I look at Redhead, age 4, and her next-door fishmate, Firefly, soon to be 3. Actually, I’m not certain of their chronological age at all, just that they have been in our disbelieving care for what seems like forever. Here’s my secret formula for goldfish longevity.

1. Suffer the immediate demise of two to three other goldfish and tell yourself you will never be so foolish as to bring another one home.
2. Leave the house for the morning.
3. During which time your husband drives by the pet store and escorts your daughter inside, then leaves with a 25-cent fish and $40 in tank, decoration, and filtration supplies.
4. Install said fish in this high-dollar, intensive care, assisted living habitat.
5. Remind your child every morning and evening to feed the fish.
6. This requires repeating the following phrase eight full times, twice a day, every day, for 1,460 days: Did you feed the fish?
7. Repeat after me, Did you feed the fish?
8. Repeat it 23,360 times over four years.
9. Then feed the fish yourself.
10. Leave the house for the morning.
11. During which time your husband takes your daughter to the old-fashioned carnival in the park, then leaves with a free, 25-cent goldfish in a cellophane bag.
12. Inwardly scream, then regain your calm with the thought, “I bet these fish could share the same tank.”
13. Remove remains and give teary daughter a tutorial on “survival of the fittest.”
14. Leave the house for the morning.
15. During which time your husband drives by the pet store and escorts your daughter inside, then leaves with a 25-cent fish and another $40 in tank, decoration and filtration supplies.
16. Repeat steps 4-9.
17. Use only distilled water to refill tanks.
18. Fully and/or partially refill tanks every Saturday.
19. This requires two gallons of distilled water at $1.29 each once a week for 208 weeks.
20. Marvel at the lifespan of your fish, but do not do the math.


A tale that wags the dog

September 30th, 2008    -    18 Comments

Mommy, who’s your agent and editor?

She has called to me from the fourth chapter of her new book, the kids’ version of that golden syrup Marley & Me, speedily read in bed before lights out.

We have imposed a moratorium on her voracious nighttime feeding of the Harry Potter seven-book collector’s series, noticing only months too late the correlation between her interrupted sleep, resurgent fear of the dark, wakefulness after 90 minutes of early dreaming and her tearful terror of being alone. (These things are rather always of obvious origin, although pitiably difficult for parents to recognize.)

She leaps up from bed and comes to me, certain that she has everything she needs to write her own international bestseller – a pencil, paper and dog whose name begins with an M. (Plus mom’s trusty publishing contacts!) Hastening to the dining table, she starts and finishes, sensibly enough, with a rendering of the cover. What more need be said?

“Molly & Me” it reads, with illustrations of the lead characters. Inspiration has wagged its tail, and all before bedtime.

If only I had her literary pedigree.

One good reason to take the dog

August 30th, 2008    -    10 Comments

Yes. That. Dog.

A gift, a charm, a fortune

July 10th, 2008    -    18 Comments

It was supposed to be about 115 degrees today but it wasn’t. I’d heard a rumble about it for days. But this morning I shivered under the covers. Outside, a morning breeze danced on my bare arms. I figured it would all ignite at mid-day, but by evening we had a cloak of clouds and a tease of sprinkles. This is the kind of thing I take as a gift, a charm, a fortune. Lacking any other kind, it will do.

A little respite, you see, an oasis in the crossing. I just finished a tough writing gig that had me on my knees for weeks, inching forward through the drifts, making up words about a topic so suffocatingly arid, so dense and intense, that it could only be called “work.” I burrowed into the clattering bones of it this afternoon, wrote a little bit more and shocked myself by being done. A gift, a charm, a fortune. Lacking any other kind, it will do.

We knew it was dying, one of those troublesome turtles that required so much coddling care that I couldn’t help but come to love it. It had stopped growing, stopped eating, stopped moving and then tonight Daddy pronounced it dead. “Mommy,” my daughter called, “Can you light some incense?” She adorned the burial box. My husband turned the earth. She placed a stone and I said the chant. A gift, a charm, a fortune. Lacking any other kind, it will do.

For Jupiter, my good turtle

Please remember to leave a comment to enter my giveaway of The Maternal is Political. A gift, a charm, a fortune. Lacking any other kind, won’t it do?

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