Christmas is coming. Did you get those gifts for your kids yet?
When we were first married, we had my mixed hound dog, Sherman, but Sherman got old and cranky and eventually had to be put down. Hubby and I agreed that raising kids was enough – we did not need to add more pets to the household mix. But as the kids grew older, each and every one of them began asking for a puppy for birthdays/ Easter/ Christmas or just because.
Puppies are expensive in the long run, and raising kids was enough grief. We stuck to our guns.
Then some bright mind at the Senior Center came up with the idea of having an Ice Cream Social for their clients and grandkids, at which event the centerpiece of each table was a goldfish bowl with a real, live goldfish. One lucky kid at each table got to take that goldfish home, and of course, my kid won – yay! The fish did not come home in the bowl – apparently that was not part of the prize – so we had to scramble around to find something appropriate into which to transfer that fish from the plastic bag it came in. Needless to say, the fish didn’t live very long.
After that, the pleas for a pet grew louder.
We started with sea monkeys. Believe it or not, we actually got those buggers to grow big enough to be seen with the naked eye (if you weren’t too old, that is –otherwise, the kit did come with a tiny magnifying glass).
After the sea monkeys, hubby approached me with the idea of getting each child another goldfish – in a real tank this time. So off we went to buy a 3-gallon tank and 3 very tiny fish. The fish quickly outgrew that small tank – to be safe, we transferred them to a 10-gallon tank, which then also needed a filtration system and plants. But the fish weren’t quite big enough [yet] to fill that tank so we added a few more. Which, of course, quickly outgrew that tank, too. To make a long story shorter, we eventually wound up with a 29-gallon tank –and by that time, the kids had outgrown the fish, so they became my pets.
At one point, Cordelia – bless her little heart – decided she would like an ant farm for some gift-giving occasion. The kit came with a coupon by which to order the ants, which then arrived by parcel post – with instructions to place them in the fridge prior to transferring them to their new home inasmuch as the cold would make them lethargic and easier to handle. Simple enough – except that I forgot they were in the fridge, and the fridge was set unusually cold at that time.
Poor Cordelia was seriously traumatized when the ants began dying, one by one, and the other ants would then drag their dead comrades up to the top of the tank, creating a little burial pile of dead ant bodies – until finally there was only one ant left. I don’t recall if that one managed to drag itself up to join the others in death or died somewhere in the middle of the farm. But I do know that Cordelia never asked for another pet after that.
Meanwhile, the fish were thriving. I made the mistake of walking past the “feeder tank” at the pet store and came home with a dozen or so more guppies, because I felt sorry for them. Those darn things lived for years, entertaining us and our various dogs – until Puppy Cody arrived, and we were afraid she would run into that large tank, so the fish were re-homed.
Join me again tomorrow for Part II of this story. The fish are done, but the pets get bigger.
Image by Jamie