I was originally going to title this post, How the Internet Makes Being a Pet Parent Better. I changed my mind when I realized that it wasn’t really “the internet” that I meant, but the people a pet owner can meet there through various online avenues. For me, those avenues are primarily a pet blog and Facebook. There are many others that one might choose as their favorite “virtual water cooler,” but in the end it’s the interactions we have with other pet owners and the friendships we form that matter more than where we choose to gather.
Some people, including me, have a hard time remembering what life was like B.I., or Before Internet. My virtual water cooler visits are an integral part of my day. It’s how I stay connected to others while enjoying the solitude and freedom of a work-from-home career. Yet it’s become so much more than that to me, and I only realized just how much more when my beloved cat, Annabelle, recently fell gravely ill.
I was cycling through all of the “downer” emotions that besiege us when our fur kids are sick: anxiety, fear, sadness, dread, helplessness. Mostly, I was just very worried about Annabelle and terrified that I would lose her. I do have people in my “real life” who understand the turmoil that having a sick pet creates, but only a precious few. I really needed an army, because I was trying to be strong, for Annabelle…and I was failing miserably.
I found my army on Facebook, where my friends’ list includes many good-hearted souls who love their pet as deeply as I do. I also participate in a Facebook group that’s comprised of crazy-about-cats people like me. One thing I especially love about Facebook is that no matter what you might need from others – support, opinions, answers to questions, knowledge that only comes from personal experience – you can post a status and get what you need immediately. It’s like a real-time lifeline, a metaphorical tow rope thrown to a drowning man.
My pet-loving friends on Facebook understood my pain like few can, because most had been there before
And when the stress and strain of my gravely ill kitty caused me to spiral downward toward despair, a gentle scolding brought me straight out of my “pity party of one” and back to life, back to diligently trying to focus on positivity, hope and faith. One cannot and should not ever underestimate the importance of those three things when your pet is sick. We simply can’t let go of the thought that all will be well, even when it looks like it might not be. It can mean the difference between surviving…or not.
My sweet, loving kitty is a lot better now, and I pray she will make a full recovery and have a long and happy life. At this point, all I can do is take it day by day. Today, I am thankful she is here. Each day I have with Annabelle is a gift, and I'll never take that gift lightly.
I feel fortunate to have so many wonderful pet loving friends and acquaintances who helped me cope during one of the most heart wrenching times of my life. Yet I also know that if the unthinkable happens, if I lose my Annabelle much too soon, my army will be there to help me fight and recover from my devastating loss. It feels good to know that I’m not alone; I will not ever be alone, because an army of passionate pet lovers has my back. That, my friends, is how the internet makes being a pet parent better.
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