Kids and Pets

I love animals, always have.  My parents said I began petitioning for a pet dog shortly after exiting the womb.  So when my daughter asked for fish for her seventh birthday, it seemed like a no-brainer.  We got gold fish.  Note to future gold-fish owners:  They don’t do well in bowls.  Two days after her birthday, with the three fish painstakingly named and characteristics assigned (Natalie was the shy one; Lolla, the inquisitive one; and Dorie, the happy one), we settled in to watch them frolic amidst the plastic greenery.  Natalie took ill first, followed swiftly by Lolla.  After several frantic calls to the pet store, we determined that a bowl was the wrong environment, that we had purchased the fish from a less-than-adequate supplier and that Dorie, the happy one, was soon going to be Dorie the tragic.

“I suggest a pond for your goldfish,” said the young ichthyologist at the pet shop specializing in fishies.

“We’ve got to get Dorie to a pond stat!” I called to my husband over my daughter’s tears.

Off we went with Dorie in a sterilized peanut butter jar (Natalie and Lolla having been respectfully buried by this point) to the nearest pond.  With all the joy and anticipation of the Adamsons releasing Elsa the Lion back into the wild (“She was born free, and she’s got to live free!”), we sent Dorie off to stretch her fins in Mother Nature’s bounty.  After some reminiscing about all the good times we’d had during our 48 hours together, we walked away, hand in hand, to let Dorie get acclimated on her own.

Suddenly I felt a tug.  “Look, Mom, look!  Dorie’s got friends!!!”

I turned and sure enough there were two ducks zooming toward Dorie.  With friends like those….

We tried a Betta next.  So easy, the pet store assured us.  Well, Bluestar has been with us fifteen months now, it’s true, but easy?  I don’t know.  We’ve spent waayyy more on accessories for Bluestar’s comfort than we’ve spent on our own home this past year, we’ve dropped him twice during heart-stopping (for us) water changes, and now he is ill with ich and clamp.  We’re medicating him appropriately, but it doesn’t look good.  And my daughter, who can no longer hear the words “tuna sandwich” without dissolving into tears because someone, somewhere is eating a fish, may be about to bid farewell once more to a finned friend.

It’s aging me, and we all know by now how I feel about that.

Well, I’ve got to return to the fish watch now.  We’re attending him pretty much around the clock.

What was your favorite pet as a kid?



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4 responses to “Kids and Pets

  1. Margaret

    That reminds me of the tropical fish tank I had when my kids were 7 and 9 – great to watch but a lot of time and effort to take care of. Finally when I had had enough of the slime and general aggravation I told the kids we were going to release the remaining fish (the ones who were barely surviving) “into the wild” – we happily released them into the nearby Tualatin River (a lot colder than their preferred environment) and managed to convince the kids that they would live happily ever after…..

  2. Shirley

    When I was 10, we learned the top of the TV set was not the ideal location for a gold fish bowl.
    We’ve had good luck with indoor cats, but there’s something to be said for pet rocks… 🙂

  3. 8-yr-old grandson wants a pet and my daughter was going crazy trying to figure out one to play with (no fish for looking at) that was neither rodent, reptile, hairy, loud, or a dirty bird.
    My favorite pet was a turtle — that’s what he’s going to get. 😀

  4. Margaret–maybe you can have a heart-to-heart with my daughter.
    Shirley–Our cat is draped across my shoulders as I write this, and I am trying to dodge the fleas…and the toxic Frontline we just applied. Amen to the pet rock! LOL
    Terri–I had turtles! The little kind.
    Our fish saga continues…I’ll have to update in a day or two 😀

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