If you are the pet parent to multiple pets, be it dogs or cats or any combination of any kind, you know that your biggest crisis is trying to get a good picture of everybody so you can post it to Facebook or Instagram or both. Certainly, health issues, peeing at the Apple store at the Grove, squirrel obsession, not getting along with other dogs, lunging at runners on the sidewalk, etc. make pet parenting no walk in the dog park but, getting the perfect picture is the Machu Picchu that makes the occasional “who peed here?” mystery look like an ant hill.
Yesterday, I overheard a conversation between my little jewels. Millie told Ricky that he was the reason their last picture only got 33 hearts on Instagram and 55 likes and 11 loves on Facebook. Oh, it was the cutest picture, I wish you could see it. Ricky was resting his head on Millie’s back as they both stared at the camera. Maybe I can figure out a way that I can post a few pictures of them on this blog, if only to illustrate my point.
In truth, Millie might be right. Her Instagram and Facebook pictures are legendary, just ask anyone who lives in our household or even my Mother. Millie has the biggest, most expressive brown eyes, legs for days, ears that perk up or rest gracefully, depending on her mercurial disposition. All day and night long, Eric and I sit around telling Millie how beautiful she is.
We also spend some time telling Ricky that, he too, is very attractive.
In our private moments, Eric and I worry that Ricky might get a little depressed about the extra attention Millie gets. Does he know that we post 4 Millie pictures to every 1 Ricky picture to Instagram and Facebook? He might, because we’ve told him a few times.
I don’t want you to think we are awful. We do tell him that, in an informal, international poll, he was voted 2nd best looking dog in the history of the world. No small feat. And that he should not be too sad about losing to his sister. It always happened to Jan Brady, too, and she turned out fine. A little bitter, but okay.
A few months ago, we put Millie on a medicine that we have to administer, at the same time, every 12 hours. I thought it would be a burden, to make sure one of us is home every day at both 7:45’s. I wasn’t so worried about the morning one, but the evening dose, I thought surely, would cut into my bustling, glittery, surging social schedule. And to be honest, it has a little. Going to dinner or seeing a show or meeting friends for a drink all has to be negotiated around Millie.
But it’s also turned into this unexpected gift. Because we wrap her pill inside a delicious canned food meatball, Millie loves her medicine. Around 7:20 a.m. and p.m., she knows her treat is coming. And not just because every two minutes I announce, “It’s almost TREAT time!” And when the dogs hear the refrigerator opening and the foil being lifted off the can, they run to their places. Ricky stands outside the kitchen door and Millie mounts her post on top of the couch. Millie’s special meatball is first and then they both get a little extra food that they eat out of my hand. In their glee, do they sometimes chomp into a finger? Truthfully, yes. But they are babies, and babies can’t help themselves.
Giving Millie her medicine and Ricky his treat has become one, or I guess, two, of the highlights of my day. Part of it is the tail wagging, the exuberance that I get to witness. It’s a privilege to bring them such happiness. But I think it’s something more too. It’s like every 12 hours, I am forced to remember how much I love them. They are the priority. All else falls away and in these increments, I am keeping them alive, and protected, and healthy, and cherished.
So while they may not ever give me a perfectly posed picture, they give me so much more. And the pictures, well, you have the evidence, they aren’t so bad. I’m not objective, wouldn’t begin to claim such a thing, but you can see for yourself. Pretty cute.