Last week, we went to the vet.
Both Sabine and Jutta are completely healthy, but it was time for a checkup. Luckily, our vet confirmed that they’re both completely healthy as well. Good vet visit!
But the car ride was another story.
Both Sabine and Jutta have enjoyed car rides at different points in time while they’ve been living with us. The past few times, Sabine hasn’t enjoyed it very much, but J avidly remembers how much she seemed to enjoy riding home with him from the rescue. Maybe it’s a vicious cycle. We don’t really go on car rides with Sabine very often, except when we’re going to the vet. So we considered the possibility that we may have conditioned her to dread car rides.
Jutta, on the other hand, loved car rides. Back when she was constantly grumpy due to what we later found out was a chronic stomach problem (that was happily remedied by dietary changes), going for a nice, long car ride was one of the few things she really seemed to enjoy. We’d pack her up in her tote bag, with her blanket, and J would drive while I held her and petted her and we drove around. She loved it. She got so relaxed, and was doing happy tooth clicks…seriously, this was the happiest we’d ever see her in those days.
Now, though? Now, she doesn’t like her usual bag o’ snuggling. Sabine doesn’t like her carrier. Both girls were not very happy when we got to the vet the other day. They’d been fine with their conveyances before, but apparently that has changed.
So we switched them for the ride home.
At first, we were worried. Sabine had seemed angry when we arrived at the vet, but not really scared. Jutta, on the other hand, had seemed very scared. What would riding in a carrier, without me petting and soothing her the whole way, end up doing?
A lot, as it turns out.
Both girls were completely happy when they came home. Sabine was poking her head out of the bag, doing her little kangaroo pose and looking around while we were driving home. She loved the attention she was getting, and didn’t seem at all upset. When the sun went down, and she couldn’t see very well anymore, she just started to relax in the blanket and enjoy her ear rubs and nose scratches.
Jutta was perfectly calm as well. She didn’t even thump when we let her out of the carrier in the living room. Usually, she’ll thump anytime she’s returned to the floor after having been picked up — be it for brushing, nail clipping, a vet visit, or a car ride.
What’s my point? My point is, listen to your pets. You may not think they’re speaking your language, but they tell you a lot if you pay attention. Just like humans, their feelings and opinions can change. They’ll let you know what they need.
This goes for people, too. Some people aren’t always the greatest at communication, and it’s up to you to do what you can to decipher what they actually need. There is no simple set of one-size-fits-all rules for communication.