Do You Have Any Pets?

After visiting our friend Dave and his adorable new kittens last week, I have been thinking a lot about pets! For years I’ve been halfheartedly talking about getting a dog- the idea is fun and exciting (and cute!) but I haven’t really thought about the details – would we get a puppy? Would we need puppy boot camp? Could someone (me!) bring a dog to work?

We definitely have the space/lifestyle for a cat but… for some reason they’re just not as appealing to me! You might have heard the story about how I once found myself with a spontaneous kitten…

I was in medical school back in 2014, and I had just finished a looongg day at the hospital (I think close to 27 or 28h) before I was supposed to head to my parents’ house, 1.5h away, to celebrate Thanksgiving. After my shift, I went back to my apartment, showered, took a nap, and then started the drive over. NOTE that I do not at all condone driving if you’re sleep deprived!

So I was passing through some rural areas on my way, and feeling tired so I decided to pull over for a few minutes and drink some water. Just at the side of the road was a hand written sign that said “FREE KITTENS”. My tired self thought “Perfect! I’ll go pet some kittens and that will wake me up and then I’ll finish the drive!” So I went and poked my head into the barn and found the owner, who led me to the back of the barn. 5 or 6 kittens immediately scattered in all directions, except for one curious little one who walked right over to me! Well, that was that. I showed up for Thanksgiving dinner with bleary eyes and a tiny kitten.

At the end of the weekend I took the kitten (Winnie) back to school with me. The only problem was that for the month of November and half of December, I was supposed to be in Ottawa (you spend lots of time at other institutions in the last part of medical school). I asked my parents if they’d watch the cat (my poor dad is allergic to boot!), and of course my Mom told me I was irresponsible and nuts, but she would take him. So I dropped him off there and went to Ottawa. It was only two weeks after that til our Christmas break, and then after Christmas I already had vacation plans. By the time I was ready to take Winnie back in mid January, my Mom was totally in love with him. He’s been there ever since, and the two of them are best buds. My Dad does OK as long as Winnie stays out of their room (he knows the rule!) and that is the story of how Winnie the once-a-barn-cat is now very much Winnie the I-only-eat-certain-food-and-have-my -own-chair cat!

So I’m wondering if you have any pets and if you would recommend getting a pet! We don’t have a backyard, but we do have a park near our house and I think we could easily incorporate a longer evening walk on a day when I don’t run in the morning (side note- I think dogs have to be a certain age before they can run with you, otherwise they’re at risk of hip dysplasia! Not sure of details but this would also be something to consider).

I could also take a calm and well behaved dog to work- of course it would have to be very safe around my patients, including tiny infants and frail elderly! A dog that’s excitable or prone to jumping up would not work well. I don’t actually know how I’d get a dog to work with me. You can’t take pets on transit in Vancouver unless they’re in a carrier, and it’s such a process just to cram myself onto the bus in the morning that I can’t imagine also having a furry companion every day.

Thoughts? Dog? Cat? Neither? How did you get your pets, if you have them? xo

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