With the animals, it’s the guilt tripping I cannot stand. “If you do not adopt, it will starve?” “If you have adopted, you must keep indoors.” “Why do you not have more toys?” I DO NOT DESERVE TO KEEP AN ANIMAL AND I TOLD EVERYONE SO. I said I did not have money. I said I did not have open credit. I said I was not often home. I said I could not handle an all-indoor animal. I said I did not want a house full of toys or food balls hidden under the couches. I said I was not a nurse. I said it was the wrong time. I said I would become non-functional if I had to deal with another pet death. But in the end I ceded to pressure, feeling I deserved to die. I cried at the vet’s, getting Ricky’s first vaccination: “No, don’t congratulate me, I have been forced into this, and it is not something I will be able to carry through.” Why, all my life, has everyone said I do not know myself or my situation and they do? Why was I raised to feel I had to submit to shaming and pressure or I would be hurting others?


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