Friday, October 16, 2009

For Roxanne

Feeling pretty drained these days and lean on material, I will seize this opportunity to praise/pimp my blogging hero.  Here is one of my favorite all time posts by A Reluctant Mom.  Hers was the first blog I ever read.  She is feeling under the weather and I am missing her posts very much.

Check her out and wish her well if you have not already.
This post by:  Roxanne Dowell
The Albatross

“Mom, can we get a pet?” Lily asked.

She was 5 years old at the time and a few months prior we had buried our 16-year-old dog. She didn’t want a pet because she missed our furry friend (she barely even knew he was around); she wanted a pet because she liked the idea of having one.

At first I said no, because I knew I would be strapped with the majority of the work and I had enough on my plate, thank you very much. But then she said, “How about a fish?”

A fish! That sounded like a good idea. It didn’t need to be walked, feeding it was simple and I have read somewhere that having fish could be good for the soul (something about seeing them makes a person instantly at peace). Lily, Aimee and I went to the pet store that afternoon and perused the aisles looking for our special friend to take home. I noticed most tanks had fancy filters and other accoutrements, and I started to calculate the costs in my head. Not cheap, was the answer I came up with, so I tapped a pimply teenager wearing a store shirt on the shoulder and said, “Do you have any low maintenance fish?”

He pointed to the beta fish, also known as Japanese fighting fish, and said, “Those are the only ones. They don’t need a filter and are relatively clean.”

I asked how to care for the fish and he said I only needed to change the water about once a week and feed it between 1 and 2 times a day.

“Girls,” I said, “pick out your fish.”

They squealed at the prospect of finding a pet of their own.

“Oh, you can’t keep them in the same bowl,” the kid said to me. “They’ll kill each other.”

“What?” I asked. “Why?”

“They’re territorial. You can keep them with other types of fish, but then you’d need a filter.”

I thought about this for a moment and decided to buy two bowls, two packets of gravel and two fish. “Yay!” the girls said. Lily chose a red one and named him – you guessed it – Red. Aimee picked a blue one and named him Ena (she insisted this was a female fish).

“Do they live a long time?” I asked the clerk. He shook his head. Perfect, I thought.

When we had our dog my husband jokingly dubbed me Dr. Petvorkian because, when he got very rickety and difficult, I confessed that I wanted that smelly, old dog to kick the bucket. I loved him, don’t get me wrong, and even today I feel bad that he died (Click here to read my post on his passing). But he entered his seniors when I was a new mom, strapped with an infant and, later, two kids, and I didn’t have the time, energy or patience to care for him.

My disdain for taking care of another living being was the impetus behind getting those fish, and when I discovered they had a short life span, I was all the more giddy.

Well, it’s been three years and those bastards are still going strong. They swim happily in their bowls, eat whatever and whenever I feed them and flip me a fin of insouciance when I ask, “Seriously? Are you going to live another day?”

“Just flush them,” someone once said to me when I voiced my frustration. I was horrified by the thought. Look, I’ll wish them dead all day long but I am no murderer. I cannot imagine sending them off to a swirly death just because I’m sick of caring for them.

So I wait, daily, hoping they will expire soon enough. My guess, however, is they will outlive most of their species and defy all scientific evidence.

Also, another gift of hers, if you have ever had a pet who needed to be put down.  Dog Day Afternoon  Touching and soooo me.  Enjoy

1 comment:

  1. I feel your pain. I had a rabbit and was told they live around 4 or 5 years. Nine years later....thank you very much.


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