Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Operation: Will ANYONE Notice??

We've had several beta fish over the last 7-8 years. The most recent one was blue, and was named Violet Beauregard by the kids. We have had it for about 4 years, which is the longest living of the fish thus far.
Around Christmas, I noticed that the fish wasn't as active and the water was looking cloudy although I had changed the water recently. I cleaned the little tank out again and hoped for the best, but, as I was cleaning it out I noticed the fish's body had a bend in it.
As I continued to check on him every day I noticed he wasn't eating the pellets I put in, 2 per day. I felt really bad just watching him starve himself day after day. And I started thinking, does anyone ever SEE this fish but me? Would anyone notice if one day it were gone?
Unwilling to watch this fish starve to death, on a Monday morning after the kids were at school, I ran a glass of COLD water, and euthanized the poor thing. It only took a few seconds before his little fishy mouth stopped moving, then I waited to make sure he wouldn't resuscitate in the warm sewer only to be eaten by a rat or something worse, and flushed him. I then threw out his tank and food. I've decided I'm done with the fishy pet thing....especially because it seems nobody else cares. I decided not to say anything to Chris or the kids and see how long it takes for anyone to notice....I waited, and waited, and waited.
Just as I suspected, nobody mentioned a thing. I finally asked Chris on Sunday night (just shy of a week, fishless) and he admitted he hadn't noticed. The kids still haven't, and it's been 10 days. The funny thing is when I mentioned this to my friend last night she told me that Gunnar was just telling her kids about his pet fish 2 days ago. So, maybe as long as they THINK they still have a pet, we don't actually have to own one. Now, that's MY kind of pet!


  1. You know, one of the reasons we don't have a pet is the death issues. Not to mention the maintenance issues. That description really broke my heart. I realize that even a fish dying is sad and I just couldn't take the possibility of it, especially if I was the one having to euthanize the poor thing. I, too, wonder how long the kids will go without noticing.... maybe they just take for granted that it's always there, looking cute and colorful for them. I guess that's how it always is with children, isn't it? They live in their own worlds and haven't developed altrustic abilities yet.

  2. I knew they wouldn't notice!

    Natalie's cold water method was much more humane than my idea of putting bleach in the water. Didn't really think that one through...

    I am not a pet person, but not because of the death issue. It's because a pet is only fun for a week and then it simply becomes a chore. I say,'Let them have Webkinz!'

  3. Hey, I think you should do a post about the hole in the wall and the community service consequence. People love to see new ideas for discipline and child rearing techniques. And I'm interested to hear how it worked...

  4. Amen to K's comment! I, too, would love to hear how you handled the hole in the wall. Teaching children about respecting is tough. It's really abstract! Do share!

  5. Oh man I laughed OUT LOUD reading this. My husband reacts the same way to stuff we own, like clothes! If he SEES me getting rid of it, he gets upset and suddenly it's his "favorite shirt" (that he hasn't worn in 4 years) but if it simply disappears while he is away at might take two years before he notices it's gone, and then it's too late! I used to be able to blame the mysterious disappearances on our many many moves, but now that we've been in the same place for awhile, I'm having to get a little more creative.

  6. Reminds me...

    "Here Judd, use a shovel and cut off the paralyzed rabbits head"

    "Judd, you put Pepper in the bug and take him to Dr. Jorgenson's and have him put to sleep"

  7. I remember all the fish you used to have as a teenager. I even remember fish-sitting for you once when you were out of town. The first time I ever heard of a Beta Fish was because you had one.

    My kids have started asking for pets. I said, "No way!" The kids are enough work. I don't need something else to clean up after.

    I think you made the right call on euthanizing the poor fish. And stuff like that is always easier if the kids aren't around. Pets, toys, clothes. If it must be gotten rid of, do it when the kids aren't around.