By Katy Cable -The Weekly Runt
A 4-min. read

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d like to dedicate this to those special, often over-looked women whose “children have paws.”

My heart goes out to women who have a difficult time on this holiday. While this year I may have a joyous Mother’s Day to celebrate, there were year’s when awkward family dynamics and unmet expectations made “Martyr’s Day” seem more apropos. I hope sharing my story and survival tips will help get you through the day and make it special.

Mother’s Day just a few years ago, my daughter was graduating high school then heading off to college. If that wasn’t enough, my beloved 13 year-old Pug Raisin, made his final departure for Rainbow Bridge.

I was approaching “empty-nester” status, wondering what I would do with my life. For the last 18 years I’d been consumed as a stay-at-home “MOM-ager” to my daughter who had been acting professionally since infancy. Very soon I would be putting her on a plane to attend college clear across the country. The time had come to get off the runway and let her take flight.

I sat in my quiet, clean, empty house battling severe depression while firing out job resumes through a waterfall of tears! I missed my daughter who hadn’t even left yet and I missed Raisin. I even found myself missing things I’d always complained about like: dog hair covering everything, dirty dishes left out, my daughter “borrowing“ my favorite clothes, and endless booster meetings.

In an effort to keep busy and get out of the house, I checked my ego at the sliding glass doors of PetSmart and took a part-time job consulting pet parents. My job no longer required high-heels and designer attire, but sneakers, yoga pants, a name tag and lanyard. Gone were the days of taking meetings with top-brass managers. The managers I was working side-by-side with now, were the same age as my daughter.

Ironically the company I represented was a new pet food company called “NULO and at that moment I truly felt I had hit a “NEW-LOW” and my best days were behind me. I doubted I would last through the first pay period.

Much to my surprise, I was having the time of my life at my new job. Working with pet owners fulfilled me in ways no other career ever had. It did nothing however to quell my desire for another dog. -Just the opposite. I was so desperate to fill the huge hole in my heart Raisin left, I began obsessively searching every rescue and shelter. Had my husband not threatened divorce if I took in a dog without his approval, I would’ve snatched up any three legged, frothing-at-the-mouth, rabid beast needing a home.

The more I searched, the more frustrated and disappointed I got. My husband quickly grew tired of my insanity so I agreed to call off the hunt until after the holidays and join him on a business trip. -Something I hadn’t been able to do since complimentary meals and free checked bags were still offered on flights.

No sooner had we pulled up to our hotel when I received a text alert. It was a photo of a pug who was the spitting image of Raisin as a pup. Strangely enough the pup was in a shelter located not two miles away from where we were staying. I was just certain it was a sign from God! — Kismet! I pushed hubby out the door for his meeting and proceeded to race over to the shelter.

When I arrived, his cage was empty and he was listed “unavailable!” -It was yet another disappointment! As I went to leave I heard yelping from another cage. I was sure a dog was injured and rushed over to help. When I arrived at the scene, I noticed a tiny black pug sticking her paw through the kennel bars yelping for me. My heart melted. I knew then and there she was my new dog. I pet her and assured her I would be back to take her home.

As luck would have it, I was able to pull some strings and adopt what was a very sick little pup. It was apparent, though just a puppy herself, she had just had a litter. The shelter said she’d been found on the side of a desert road and was likely a breeder dog who had never been out of a crate. She was terrified of everything. I named her, “little black Olive” and promised her that life was about to drastically change.

For me, the cure for depression was this new dog. Olive made me happier than I’d been since everyone had “flown-the-coup”. I was having the time of my life getting to know this darling new (and previously abused) pug.

No sooner did I find my perfect new pug, I got offered the “dream job” I’d applied for a few months prior. With Olive at my side and the ability to work in Nikes, I passed on the 80 hour work weeks and non-stop corporate demands. -And not for one second have I regretted my decision.

The takeaway of my story is: KEEP THE FAITH! Be optimistic and hopeful. And most importantly, don’t rule out something that involves wearing comfy shoes, a name tag and lanyard. You might find you’re happier, healthier and far more fulfilled if you fall off the corporate ladder and try something completely new.

So if this Mother’s Day, has you feeling down, consider this, most mother’s claim “CHILDCARE” is the #1 thing they want on their official holiday. ? Here’s a few other things you can do to feel better:

1. Indulge in a 5 minute pity-party. Cry, scream, throw something, and feel sorry for yourself.- YOU GET 5 MINUTES!

2. Get out and count your blessings. Write or think of 20 things you’re grateful for. Over-achievers or severely depressed, go through the entire alphabet and find a blessing for each letter. Extra Credit: Go visit ANYWHERE you’re likely to encounter toddlers having meltdowns and stressed-out parents.

3. Treat yourself to something nice. Better yet, treat yourself to a special day. Go buy yourself a present. No, splurge! Go buy flowers, candy, a full-body massage, whatever makes you happy. Start a new tradition honoring what a wonderful “Dog Mom” you are!

4. Honor special woman who are mothers to PETS! Why not plan your own little party. Not up for a big production, there are some fun, unique gifts for pet moms. If you’re short on cash, donate time by dog sitting or walking their dog.

5. Don’t have family or friends with pets, how about volunteering some time to an animal shelter or rescue. I can give you lots of recommendations for places that would love your help!

Getting out and doing for others or spending time with an animal will definitely make you feel much better. (-If it doesn’t I will personally refund your misery!?) Who knows maybe you’ll come home with a new “fur baby” of your own. A dog will love you unconditionally in ways a mother or child never can.

Happy Mother’s Day! -Whether it’s to a child by birth, blood, or choice. And Happy Mother’s Day to those special moms whose children have paws! ?Pugs & Kisses -Katy