Dorothy Juliet (named by Big Kid) passed away some time last night. I can't say I was surprised, because she started looking pretty sick a few days ago and I rushed out and bought Goldfish medicine, which we (read: Mr. Ashley) administered faithfully.
Before I put the kids to bed last night, I noticed she was floating on her side and gasping. I figured that was a bad sign, and made the mistake of telling the kids that Dorothy was really sick and might die.
That was dumb of me.
I envisioned some open discussion on the upcoming loss of our pet and some time for goodbyes. I got two kids running around the house wailing, sobbing and then threatening that if she did die it was my fault for predicting it. Mr. Ashley was also highly irritated at me when he emerged from the shower to find complete hysteria. He administered an emergency dose of medicine and I convinced the kids that I had no idea what I was talking about, I was not a vet, perhaps she was just tired, please disregard any prior mention of death.
Big Kid wept continuously and begged me to take a photograph of her. Here she is:
It's a telling photo--her uneaten dinner in the rocks around her, the smudges on the tank glass from where the water dripped during her last dosage of medicine, the safety scissors little kid gave her some time ago and her oyster nearby; staring into her own reflection pondering her imminent demise. Poor Dorothy.
That night as I was falling asleep, I resolved to just get a new Dorothy and keep her death a secret when it happened, even if it meant going through 20 Dorothys in a lifetime, to spare them the heartache of losing her. But they beat me to her in the morning. Mr. Ashley heard Big Kid saying, "I wonder what she's doing?" and little kid answered, "Sleepin," when Big Kid yelled that fish don't sleep and started screaming "MOM WAS RIGHT" as he sobbed and cried.
And cried and cried and cried.
He was mad at the world and sobbed that everything should live 500 million years. That life wasn't worth living if everyone didn't get to live 500 million years and he didn't want things to change or be different and he hated the idea of heaven and there shouldn't even have to be one.
I can completely relate to this feeling. As my dad starts chemo, the temporary nature of life and what a fickle bitch it is has been on my mind a lot lately. So I cried with him a little and told him I agreed but that it is what it is and since we can't change it, we can at least look forward to the idea of a heaven and having everyone we love together again.
Then I offered him a hermit crab or replacement fish of his choice. He sobbed that he could never have a fish again, that it would make him think of Dorothy all of the time, and it would die in like 2 years and he can't deal with it.
"A tortoise," he declared. "I need a tortoise. Dey live like a fousand years."
"But remember how the pet store doesn't sell turtles to kids? There's a reason for that. It's not a good pet for kids and they can be difficult to take care of. They need more than we can give them."
"But I'm da type of kid who needs a pet who isn't gonna die. I can be good wif a tortoise, I promise, mom. It will live like, a hundred years."
I turned the conversation back to crabs vs. fish because I frankly cannot handle the commitment (or smell) of a pet that might live one hundred years, and then I luckily had to leave for a meeting moments later, so I turned the kids over to my mom and they were thankfully distracted from the loss of Dorothy Juliet.
So tonight, we go to the pet store (coincidentally the same pet store that carries hedgehogs which I not-so-coincidentally plan on holding and begging for) and the kids get a pet.
Also, tonight I must go in search of an Arctic Fox. Big Kid's birthday is Saturday and that is his must-have gift--a Webkinz Arctic Fox named Arctie (NOT Artie, don't even suggest Artie). I will probably have to pay rush shipping from somewhere because so far this little bastard has been elusive.
Wish me luck.
You're coming home with a hedgehog tonight.
I wish, but I doubt it. Mr. Ashley isn't impulsive like that. I think the hedgehog will end up being a gift for an occasion or something I buy myself when I get money as a gift--I really don't think it will be a tonight or surprise sort of thing. Tonight is just the first small step of many in the battle for the hedgehog.
I asked if he was excited to hold one and he didn't act crabby about it, which is a positive sign. I'm pretty sure he knows that I will have a hedgehog, he's just trying to postpone it for as long as possible.
I bet it will be crabs or fish--both utterly unlovable. I'd also bet $20 that one kid will want a crab and one will want a fish and fighting and bargaining will be necessary. Good times.
Poor kids. Hopefully you found something great for them.
Here you go:
Hey. Pet death is so hard to deal with - regardless if they are feathery, furry or fishy.
I'm sorry for BK and LK and hope that the replacement hedg...pet will do wonders for their moral at this difficult time.
I gave up on the fish after about 5 Hannah Fishtana's died. I think tortoises are pretty easy, the water turtles are the smelly and dirty ones. You have to clean their tank all the time. I'm pretty sure tortoises just need their poop picked up every few days. I say get him a tortoise :)
Poor Big Kid! :-( It's hard when your first pet dies.
My brother had lizards (newts, I think) when we were kids. I didn't like them much, but they did live a long time, and they never escaped.
This was a really poignant post, BTW.
Poor big kid. We had to put our dog to sleep but told my 5 year old that he had to live at the vet b/c he couldn't walk anymore. I just couldn't do that to him.
As for the hedgehog, I had 3 and love love love them. I would have another if I didn't have 2 kids. I would wear overalls and put them in the pocket and let the sleep all day... so cute!! They only live 2-5 years though, so beware of getting your heart broken.
Sorry to hear about Dorothy.
It's a long shot, but do you have a CrackerBarrel restaurant near you? Their "country store" (gift shop!) is surprisingly well stocked w/Webkinz and comparably priced. Good luck!
Bless his heart. Try a beta if you get another fish. They live happily in a tiny bowl and last longer than other fish.
Justice (girls clothing) has tons of the Arctic Fox Webkinz. (I'm in GA, so I am assuming your area would have the same.)
I here to tell you - don't (repeat DON"T) get a turtle. I speak from experience. Turtles are waaay
beyond a full time job.
When they get sick (and they will) it's becomes an event & everything else MUST come second or turtle will either get sicker or die.
The daily cleaning turtle is WORK. Cleaning his "Home" is also a daily event.
When they bite (& they WILL bite you, they effing bite with such intensity that WILL break bones (I know - it happened to me). Little kids bones will break even easier & it freaking HURTS. Then you have to deal with the open wound from the bite & the loooong list potential problems from having turtle saliva/bacteria in the wound.
God forbid if they scratch you. oy!
God forbid you get a turtle with "dietary" issues.
Even with the super diligent turtle & turtle home cleaning - the smell will wear thin quick.
When your turtle gets sick...it's not a cheap fix. Lways requires shots & cramming liquids & pills down his throat. Turtles tend to retract their head when you go to touch it. Try grabbing a turtles head to keep him from retracting into his shell & then try to give him his meds. Oh yeah those claws!
So you duct tape his legs into this shell & then try getting his head out of his shell.
Now you are in the emergency room explaining all this.
Then if you didn't manage to kill it, managed to keep him relatively healthy- decades go by.
Oh by the way....touching a turtle can get him sick quick. Oh yeah it it will get you sick quicker.
You have to wash your hands & anything turtle touched (clothing) very very very very very well. So unless your kids want to wear welder gloves - then they had better be the best hand-washers ever!!
We had Yertle for too damn long & sunk a TON of money into keeping him happy & healthy. It was not worth it. But we had committed ourselves to taking care of him (we adopted him from someone else who hit their limit with his care & feeding) & when he finally died - it was a relief!!
We had a party.
So you still want a turtle?
I'm a softy. I always tear up when my fish or birds die. I can relate to Big Kid.
Bless your baby's heart!! What a sweet kid. He has my sincere condolences.
This is some bad shit.
It is also bad shit that I am 37 years old and had this same conversation with myself today about how animals should live longer.
You should tell him it was probably those scissors that killed her. I kid, I kid! Hope the next pet does live forever..as should we all!
Susan in Texas
I totally disagree with all the water turtle hate. We bought 2 red ear sliders at the beach last year & they are a daily enjoyment for us. We've kept fish for years & IMO those little bastards are nasty & require daily upkeep. Much worse than the turtles. They're not as much fun either.
We have our 2 turtles in a 20 gallon tank, no special setup other than a floating platform & thin layer of rocks. I only change their water every 6 weeks (if they're lucky). The key is putting in a weekly dose of turtle bio somethingmajig. It breaks down their poop, sorts out the ph levels & cleans the water. Basically, it does my job for me. The water is always perfectly clean & virtually smell free. They can get a fishy smell to them but as long as there is a lid on the tank then it's not a problem. I truly have no issues with these guys & I'm a pretty lazy pet owner. We feed them store bought turtle food ($5 for a can that lasts 2 months). We occasionally feed them some of the various fruits & veggies that they like but we just put them in a big bowl or something when we do that because it makes the water messy. We've had zero health issues & I think that's because we rarely take them out of the tank. When we do handle them we just wash our hands really well with hot soap & water. If I'm overly paranoid that day then I might put a squirt of bleach in our hands while we're washing them.
We spend time every day just watching our guys (named Hannah & Gustaf because they were bought the week we were evacuated from the beach due to the hurricane). They seem to have their own personalities & they're always making me laugh.
The only downside is that they will eventually grow to be the size of manhole covers but I'm pretty sure we have a couple of years by the time that happens. We've had them a year & right now they are about the size of your palm.
I love your blog title...awesome..I was just sitting here thinking....i need to get the superwoman thought and put them to BED!
Another fish is an option, or a turtle. I had turtles growing up and learned quickly not to put my fingers in their face. Ouch. I would steer clear of hermit crabs -- boy, do they stink!
Oh yeah, if you're looking for something warm-blooded, I've heard sugar gliders make awesome pets. Little mess and lots of love.
you don't want hermit crabs
trust me (because you have any idea who I am, right?)....earlier this summer I went through a crab-saga and it hasn't ended yet....
not worth it
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