Tales of a ‘Pet Mom’

“Emmy” I was only a teenager when you were born 23 years ago. We stayed out in the barn all night long sleeping on bales of hay waiting for you to come. You were born in the early hours of the morning. You had long gangly legs and splotchy red and white spots all over your body. I spent every day getting you used to wearing a halter and being handled. You were the first Tennessee Walking Horse baby born in our barn. I trained you to ride by walking you down to the pond every day and climbing on your back in the water. You would swim around with me and splash in the water. You were my baby then and you are still my baby now 21 years later. Despite your arthritis you now take care of my 4-year-old daughter letting her gain confidence riding you on our weekly trail rides. I love you with all my heart and dread the day I have to say goodbye to you!

“Rose” I came home from work and heard a tiny meow in our garage. I saw a skinny black and white cat with no hair down her back pop her head out from behind the wood stack. My kids went right over and started petting you. I ignored you for the first few days hoping you would go back to where you came from! But you didn’t. You came right inside with the kids and made yourself at home. You had to have treatments for your skin and needed surgery to repair two hernias that you had. But when you came home, you went right back to the kids, taking turns sleeping with each one of them on their pillows at night. You now greet us with your meow every day when we come home from work. You are a very special kitty!

“Jake” I was 8 months pregnant with my third baby. We were out in Amish country buying a toy box for our family room. On the wall I saw a poster with five fluffy Border Collie pups. I couldn’t resist “just taking a look.” Pregnancy hormones took over when those five puppies came bounding out of the house and began running around my legs, jumping up, and licking my face all over. It’s a wonder I didn’t take more than one home with me! But you stood out. You came right over and climbed in my lap. You ran around my older kids’ feet yipping and wanting to play. I knew you would love my family and fit right in. My kids named you Jake from “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” You were a troublemaker right from the start and you were plagued with separation anxiety when away from me. You finally found comfort in staying with Maizy our Golden Doodle while I was away at work. Every morning you make your rounds and wake us all up for school and work. You love to run in the woods, herd the horses, and fetch your ball. You are always by my side and the most loyal dog. You are a part of the family!

As a “pet mom,” the above stories are about just a few of the special animals that I am proud to call my “pet children.”

I define a mother as someone who cares for those that are dependent on her. She is loving and compassionate. She makes sacrifices for her children to give them the best life that she can. She feeds them, nurtures them and protects them from harm. Whether you have human children or not, you can still celebrate Mother’s Day because you will always be mom to your pet. Pet moms are some of the best moms I know and we are grateful for all of you who care for those pets that need us most. My many pet children are an important part of our family and they make our lives complete!

Happy Mother’s Day from the Dunkirk Animal Clinic!!

Dr. Rebekah Frost writes monthly for the OBSERVER. Comments may be directed to lifestyles@observertoday.com