My large neutered male tabby cat, Shadow, has been diagnosed with diabetes. This means twice-daily insulin shots: 4 units with a little syringe at 8 AM and 8 PM. Surprise! I've had Shadow for nine years, I think. Got him from my sister Margaret when her life involved multiple addresses at apartments from Manhattan to Pacific Beach (California). Until now, he's always been low maintenance: not interested in escaping or getting treats or diving into freshly-dryed laundry or vomiting on our white rug or draping himself across my shoulders (thank God, because he weighs fourteen pounds). Totally unlike my other cat. Shadow enjoys laps, guests with large purses, kibble, being chased and getting brushed. Completely reasonable!
This twice-daily insulin ritual requires an adjustment on my part. Not on Shadow's because he doesn't even notice the injection! What am I learning from this? Well, my belief about pets has always been that once we aquire one, we must remain committed and responsible. I remember thinking long and hard before getting a kitten back in 1995, because a kitten could be a 25-year responsibility and would include having to live only in places that allow cats and never dating anyone allergic to them. (Yes, I was single back then.)
Our commitments get tested all the time. I've certainly had that happen over and over as a lay leader. The first time I had to miss a Madison festival because of a Covenant Group Ministry facillitator training, I complained loudly beforehand, "Shit! My paid job never conflicted with a festival!" But, the training was absolutely wonderful: fulfilling and fun, and the first time I facillated a training (fantastically). Came home exhausted and had to lie on the couch for two hours to recover, but was really proud of myself for rising to the challenge.
Since then, I've missed a number of events because of my church responsibilities, but have found them worth it. We'll see if I feel that way next month, when I'll have to miss part of the National Women's Music Festival for a leadership orientation at my church.
But back to having to give my cat an injection twice a day, every day -- good heavens, it is almost 8 PM. Responsibility calls.