Many people take their car for spring and fall tune-ups, but autumn is also a great time to schedule a check-up for your furry friend, especially if they’re over the age of ten. Most veterinarians recommend annual check-ups for non-senior pets and biannual check-ups for pets considered senior.* (The age that a pet is considered older varies by species and even by breed.) I’ve found that spring and fall are great times to schedule an all around check-ups for senior pets. My “junior” pets have their check-ups each spring so that their shots will be up-to-date before summer travel and to make sure they’re ready for the challenge of summer adventures like hiking and trips to the beach.
No matter what time the first crocuses bloom in your neighborhood, it’s those small changes that mark the beginning of spring and not a date on the calendar. For me, it’s the first appearance of bunnies in my yard, buttercups blooming, and the first real chance to clean the winter’s debris out of my flower beds and garden and start planning for the new growing season.
As the days grow warmer, many of us start daydreaming about summer trips—weekend trips, day trips, and, of course, that long and elusive summer vacation. Hitting the road for a couple of weeks during those dog days of summer is the ideal break from our work-a-day lives. But, why not give your dog a break too? Many dogs love to travel.
Pets can get depressed. I know. I have a sad cat. She's not as sad as she used to be, but she still has periods of depression. She'll lay with her tiny black head resting on her paws and look up at me mournfully as I pass. I can practically hear her sigh. Depression is actually normal in animals, just like it is in humans. It's a normal response to anxiety. No one, I suppose, can be happy all the time. But, prolonged depression can be a sign of illness or can lead to the illness itself. But, don't worry, if you do have a sad, emo cat or dog, there are some things you can do to cheer them up.
There’s a certain lure to vacationing with your pets. I admit it. There’s no worry about whose feeding Fluffy or whether or not she’s shredding the curtains while you’re exploring the wilds or surfing in some sunny spot. And, who hasn't heard of Norton, Peter Gethers’ footloose feline who traveled the world, Churchill’s fearless parrot, or a slew of other moggies and doggies that faced peril and high adventure without the twitch of a tail. Even my neighbor’s overfed tabby Ryder became a literal Cat Abroadand now strolls the rues of Paris with as much moxie as he did my backyard.
Taking a cat, or, in my case, cats, with me on a short trip should have presented no problems. After all, all the cats, with the exception of the Kitten, have traveled before. True, mainly their trips have been to the vet or to my parents’ house for an extended stay. But, as a kitten, Lo routinely made interstate voyages tucked happily in his carrier. His initial yowls of displeasure dissipating after the first half-hour or so and giving way to resignation and finally catnip mouse chewing. But, my decision to take my four feisty divas with me to the cabin for our summer getaway didn't take into account cat/dog dynamics, the cruelty of Tig, or the pure and unbridled enthusiasm of one small white kitten.
There is a dog on the couch. It is small and white with bright black eyes that look a bit like plastic. It has a dotted pink bow jauntily tied by one ear and appears to be wearing nail polish. The cats are not pleased. They don’t hiss or scratch. The simply stare. If looks could kill, this polished pooch would be a pile of ashes by now. Five sets of jeweled blue and bright green eyes have been peering at Francie for the past hour. Every now and then Nonny, my Siamese diva, breaks rank to run up to me and meow questioningly. There is a dog on the couch.