The Sweet Smell of Owning a Pet

Back in 2006, my girlfriend and I made the decision to adopt a small puppy. Well, my girlfriend made the decision, and I didn’t say no because I was too verklempt and also wanting to sleep in the same bed. That ‘girlfriend’ would somehow become convinced to marry me. And that Boston Terrier, ‘Cooper’, would somehow begin to become solely my responsibility for the next decade as we began having many, many children. Pardon me, while I step aside – my wife is swatting me in the head and torso as she argues against that statement… we BOTH took turns walking the dog and wiping messes from its paws.

The reality is that I spent most of my adolescence taking care of our golden labrador retriever, Cara, until my junior year in high school, when she passed.

My dad brought her home as a puppy when I was only 6 years old.  We made an attempt at potty-training her inside – using window screens to block off the kitchen and the daily newspaper to cover the floor. If my memory serves correctly, the mess and stink of this process certainly could’ve used some Febreze, but we were ahead of its time.

Cara ultimately ended up being an outside dog and loved our property in rural Pennsylvania. We built her a ‘home’, complete with blue flagstone that she could lay on to warm herself in the afternoon sun. Her handcrafted doghouse was insulated and lined with cedar chips to keep her warm through winter.

While it wasn’t optimal having to go outside (rain, snow or shine) two times a day to take care of her, we built a bond that could never be broken.

Almost ten years had passed before my wife persuaded me to get on board with ‘Cooper’. I knew the heartache associated with saying goodbye to Cara, but I also remembered how amazing it was to see the wag of her tail, the love in her eyes everyday as I came home from school, baseball and track practice each day.

Cooper was with us until the summer of 2018. He was part of the lives of all of our children and while I had my own selfish hang-ups associated with having to clean up after him in his final months (my wife was in her third trimester of pregnancy), he was such a vital part of our family.

I had pegged myself as someone who was ‘done’ with having anymore pets. Perhaps it was the emotions that rode along with losing both dogs. But with those losses, came a space that needed to be filled. So we refreshed our fish tank and when my son graduated from Pre-K, I made him a promise for a tortoise, unbeknownst that ‘Ella’ would live well beyond me. And then there was my daughter, who came to me several weeks later with teary eyes, weeping about how badly she wanted a cat. As my wife and daughter both worked me over, I forecasted what the future would bring. My prediction was that the nostalgia of a cat would wear off after a few weeks. I finally relented, and Katy was adopted. The next morning we adopted her sister. And just like that, we were a two-cat family. These little balls of fur were sneaky and loved to pull their claws on anything in sight…

So here we are, with a Russian Testudo that will live until we have flying cars, a 30-gallon fish tank with a half-dozen different species and not one, but two felines. They go by the name of ‘Katy’ and ‘Purry’. If you don’t get the ‘Katy Perry’ reference, I won’t hold it against you.

Yes, we’re enduring the smell of the tortoise terrarium when Charlie isn’t paying enough attention. Yes, we have the occasional fish that needs to be removed from the tank and we’re certainly in the throes of scolding our cats, as they stretch out their claws on our leather sofa, club chairs and almost anything with valuable fabric.

The difference in owning pets over the years is that, now, the smell is easily eviscerated with a couple of quick sprays from both Febreze AIR Heavy Duty Pet Odor Eliminator and Febreze FABRIC Pet Odor Eliminator. I pull the trigger, forget about the bag of clumpy cat poop that my daughter leaves by the front door every other day and let the smell of fresh linens bring down my blood pressure.

Despite all of the negativity I have towards the maintenance behind owning pets, the smiles and hugs that are showered across the pet landscape by my kids each day when they get home from school, makes it all worth it. NOTE: I won’t freely admit it, but I do find myself snuggling with the cats while they’re off at class… they’ve found daily spots on the windowsill of my office.

So whether you’re in the ‘thinking’, ‘plunging’ or ‘loving’ stage of pet ownership, let Febreze be part of that love story (and make your house smell better).

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored campaign on behalf of the #DontSweatYourPet campaign for Febreze, however, all torn up leather sofas and soiled carpet stair runners are mine (and my kids). For more information, follow Febreze on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to get your own at Walmart!

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