About this Blog

About this Blog: Divorce is something you do, not something you are. It is not easy, but it can be funny. I know hanging on to my humor gave me hope and courage. Divorce shouldn't cramp your style. There are whole industries devoted to helping brides plan their weddings -- why shouldn't we have a style guide for divorce?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Importance of Pets

It doesn't matter if you're the one leaving or if you perhaps got left behind - there's nothing that takes the edge off a day of divorce-wrangling like the soulful, non-judgmental eyes of your dog.  I don't have experience with salamanders or pythons, but I suppose the company of a cold-blooded animal might be soothing in a certain way as well.

I got a cat when the guy I used to be married to finally left.  Weeks of stress and uncertainty preceded his departure -- it was that setup where it had to be his decision to leave, and he wouldn't just make the decision.  So he was leaving, but I was kicking him out.  Geez it was a lot of work.

When it was finally quiet enough to feel his absence, the thought just came rushing in:  get a cat -- now!  The child and I hopped into the car and sped over to the shelter, where we played with and picked out a sweet grey kitten.  An hour later she and the dog were sizing each other up, and eventually became the best of friends.

The cat served an important purpose or several.  Sure, she replaced the warm body of the departed spouse, so that "we" still had a household of four beings.  She was also an important distraction for the child, a source of joy to offset the pain and sorrow of the separation.  For me too:  the dog was too big to be a lap warmer, so those times when I was the only human in the house her demands for attention forced me to stop and cuddle and feel a whole lot better.

Oh, and did I mention?  A pretty effective barricade.  Yes, I did know how allergic the guy I used to be married to was when I brought home the cat.  Well, I'd heard about it.  And I'd never really been a cat person, so it didn't come up.  A few odd times I guess at someone else's house.  But that morning the concept was strikingly clear -- get yourself a damn cat fast or that man is going to come back.

Later that day he dropped by to pick up some socks, or whatever.  It was impressive.  That little tiny kitten.  The wheezing, the shortness of breath, the hives.  They started immediately.  Sheepishly, he asked, "so, I guess I can't come back now."  "Nope."  He stayed by the door, and left soon after.

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