I should be asleep, but I can't sleep yet. Achilles, my 14 year old cat, has surgery tomorrow. Whenever I have to wake up extra-early, I go into hyper-vigilant mode, which is useless. The tumor on him I had checked is cancer, but the vet says that in cats, removing it might be the solution. I hope so; it's important to take this thing off, but beyond that I won't put him through anymore. Last night he got so excited his Alpine Scratcher refills (with catnip) arrived that he body-checked Maynard out of the way. Now he's resting peacefully with his head on his paws like one of Raffaello's angels.
My clients have been very supportive about Achilles' situation. Obviously, it doesn't come up with everyone, but in the households where people are home and I am there for the dogs' exercise and amusement, they know what is going on. That is for two reasons: One is that if I have to miss visits, it will be the ones where I'm less needed because people are home. The second is more basic: They ask how I am. Being the kind of person to respond, "My cat has cancer," that's how I answer. In the words of my wise Grandpa Herbie: "Never ask anyone how they are. They might tell you." That was meant to be funny, so you can laugh with me, if you like.
The only client I told by email was Jenn, the Fur Posse's Person. The Posse is Luca, Smudge, and Onyx. We've been having email exchanges about pet health and nutrition for a while, mostly because Smudge is a diabetic cat. We agree that a raw diet is best for animals. I probably should have implemented that myself sooner. Maybe Achilles wouldn't need surgery if I'd done that. (They didn't ask for food all day, just nibbled, but now that the pre-surgery fast is in place are pestering me. Cats...)
She told me tonight that Onyx, who is an elderly cat, is failing. Of the posse, he gets the least attention from me, due to an exuberant dog and a cat with special medical needs. I always make sure to find Onyx and give him his cuddles and safe transport to his feeding area, up on the bathroom sink. He's not always hungry, but likes the cuddles away from Luca, a Pit Bull to make you change your mind about Pits if you are uneasy--She has to chase him a little, but he hates it. She could get him, just knows he's her friend.
I feel guilty that while Achilles has been going through this, though I am not sure he realizes he is going through anything, I have taken big steps to improve my health. The reason I started was that I felt too challenged by life. I was dragging: Instead of being psyched when I had a full schedule of dog walks, it was like "Oh. I have a lot to do today." Then a panic attack... A real one, like you know what it is, but it's so bad you think, 'Wouldn't it be funny if this was an actual cardiac arrest and I didn't notice?'
That had to end. I want to be at my best for all my animals, but didn't want a pill, and Jenn saved the day! In an email conversation I mentioned that PETA had opened up swanky new offices down the street on Sunset. I said I wanted to volunteer and she (small world) has a friend who moved to LA to work there. She did gently let me down that one probably has to be vegetarian to work there. I have always supported a non-animal consuming life for ethical reasons, just thought, for me, I would be unhealthy. I had to keep my strength up...
Jenn told me about www.crazysexylife.com Why would I want my life any more sexy or crazy than it is, you may ask? I ordered a used copy of the Crazy Sexy Diet from Amazon, and it is not really a diet, as much an an explanation of why people are vegan. Huh. It's not just to annoy the rest of us and be skinny?
I have been living on no meat or dairy, processed stuff, diet Coke, coffee, sugar for a few days. I still smoke and like the 2 buck chuck, but one step at a time! The funny thing is that this corresponds with my busiest workload since Christmas. What that requires is stamina to run up the hills and staircases of Echo Park and Silverlake. Definitely not the time to "cleanse." After just a week or so of a vegan diet, I was up those classic Silverlake staircases twice as fast today, thinking, "Did I quit?" No, this is not a reason to keep up bad habits, but encouragement to feel even better.
Enough about how crazy and sexy I am. When Achilles is home from the hospital, he's going to be on Stella and Chewy's. It's a real shame I tried to cut costs and feed him an inferior, though "premium" food. Now I'm paying what his food budget might had been for a couple years for a very unpleasant experience for him.
Before I was a pet sitter, I thought I knew everything about pet nutrition. I worked in a couple of pet supply places that sold only the good food. Now I'm questioning everything about what I should eat, too. All I know for sure is: Cats and Dogs are not meant to be vegetarians. Hot dogs are not good for anybody, even if your dog only responds to them.
Surely there is something else?