On Vacations, Older Pets & Stress

Prompt o’ the Week: A woman leaves a party in
distress, not even stopping for her coat on a cold winter night. She
hurries along the sidewalk in heels, hot tears on her cheeks threatening
to freeze as they fall. One car stops to offer her a ride, but it’s a
lone man inside, and she knows better. Then another car pulls over, and a
couple asks if they can help…

My impending vacation to Florida is stressing me out. Not actually
going there and having a good time, of course, but having to leave my
older dog who has been getting progressively worse health-wise over the
past few weeks. He’s 14, which is a perfectly respectable age for a dog
(esp. half Doberman – they have a normal span of about 8 yrs). He’s got
cataracts/failing eyesight, hearing that pops in and out, bad joints,
cancerous tumors, and still happily begs for ice from the freezer
several times per day. He occasionally has trouble getting up and down
the back stairs, and the supplements I give him with each meal are
pretty close to the only things that keep life livable for him. I make
minor adjustments to his care on an almost daily basis, depending on how
he’s doing that day. 

And in a week, I’m going to leave him and our other dog in the care of my parents for six days. 

I’m not saying my parents aren’t perfectly capable of taking care
of the dogs – they’ve done it before, and they look after the house too
so it’s not sitting empty while we’re gone. It’s a winning situation all
the way around. But I’m a control freak, and that means I tend to try
to control even the things I really have no control over – like how
Gabriel will do while I’m gone. Needless to say, I’ve been stressing a
*lot* over him for the last several weeks, on bad days wondering if I
should just put him down, on good days hoping against hope that he’ll
make it through our vacation so Lucy has a doggie companion while we’re
gone. Everything from how to dole out and store their supplements to
making sure all their food is mixed up and ready before we leave…and
yes, even instructions and payment options for the vet should it be

I admit, this is one of the reasons I very rarely travel. I hate
leaving my dogs. Honestly, it wouldn’t matter if the best vet on the
planet was personally petsitting for me – I’d still be worried. Because
you know that know one can possibly take as good of care of them as I
can (seriously, look up “control freak” in the dictionary). 

Lest you worry that I won’t enjoy the vacation, fear not. Once I
leave, I’ll be fine. I know there’s nothing I can do from that point
until I get home, so I’m pretty good at just blocking it all out and
focusing on where I’m at and what I’m doing at the time. And I don’t
normally stress quite this badly…but Gabe’s mortality is right “in my
face” at the moment, and that’s making it worse. 

So if I seem a little flaky and/or scatterbrained lately, that’s
why. Stress can be a debilitating thing, and most of the time, I simply
refuse to let things get to me (and it works well – I’m pretty
strong-willed, if you hadn’t noticed). My pets and the few people very
close to me are the big exceptions to that, unfortunately or
fortunately, depending on how you look at it. 

As I said though – I’ll be fine once I’m on the plane. Being a
“live in the moment” type person means I suck at documenting vacations
through photos, but I’m excellent at leaving things behind and focusing
on the “now”.

So now that you’ve had your daily dose of “happy” from me this
Monday morning (and I’ve gotten all that off my chest, which makes me
feel a bit better), on to the writing-related news.

Last Friday/Saturday, I was on a serious *roll*. Gabe was doing
well, we weren’t completely focused on the shed thing, and I got three
covers designed and done, a short revised and sent to the editor,  Rock Me, Stalk Me
finally formatted for print *and uploaded* (see print cover above), and cover art purchased for one more short story. I
can’t tell you how good it feels to finally be catching up on my
business “to do” list. “Awesome” doesn’t quite cut it. So even though I
skipped out on a lot of good work time in the evenings last week to
watch TV premieres (hey, the well needs refilling somehow!), I made a
ton of progress. Yay! 

This week I have a bunch more stuff I want to get done with only
five more days until I’m on a 2 week hiatus from the day job (6 days
gone, but 10 more days just home – perfect). I haven’t taken 2 weeks off
at one time from the day job *ever* (I’m not even exaggerating there,
sadly), so to say I’m excited is an understatement.

On the list for this week:

– Finish up at least one, possibly two short serial stories in progress
– Cover art for two more books
– Post submissions call for the winter BSB anthology
– Write an extra scene to schedule for the two other serial stories for when I’m on vacation
– Make up extra dog food daily so it’s all ready and in the freezer
for vacation (Lucy’s food must be made ahead, due to her special
dietary needs)
– Write up dog care instructions for my parents
– Order and install new dog gate inside the front door (long story)
– Complete a big last-minute project for the day job (isn’t that always the way it goes?)
– Whine about the fact that my new Kindle Paperwhite won’t arrive
until the *day* we leave, so it will sit home in the box until I get
back, dang it.

Oh look – I can check that last one off already!

Alrighty then – this is rambly enough. Here’s to a good, productive week for us all…eh?

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