Wednesday, January 14, 2009

They're Swimming with the Sea Kittens Now

We've had a rough week on the pet front.
Scout had one of her unexplained anxiety days today, shaking all over, whining, climbing the door, trying to dig her way into the pile of blocks in the corner. All she wanted was to be outside, but it was much too cold for her to spend the day out there. A little benadryl helped take the edge off, but still, not an easy day.
And then there were the fish.
I woke on Tuesday to J's news that Stripey the fish was no longer with us. Stripey's been around quite a long time, for a fish in this house. The only other one that hung on longer was our first goldfish, Leo. Lest you get too upset, we've actually been kind of hoping Stripey would kick it soon -- staying on top of the feeding and the cleaning of the tank seems somehow beyond us.

We're not going to get any awards from PETA for our treatment of fish, that's for sure. I heard this story on NPR on Monday about PETA's plans to rebrand fish as "Sea Kittens", cute and cuddly creatures that shouldn't be hooked through the head for recreation. I really wonder sometimes if PETA wants to be taken seriously. I'm right on board that we need to be taking serious looks at where our food comes from, but come on. Sea Kittens??

Anyway, we had JUST cleaned the thick layer of algae off the sides of our fish tank over the weekend, and also invested in a new fish companion, an algae eater O. named Frog.
So, given O's renewed interest in the tank and the fish, there was no way of letting Stripey just "disappear" and wait for him to notice. When O. woke up, we had to let him know that Stripey had "die-ded." I knew he'd be upset, but hadn't really expected the torrent of tears. I told him Daddy was going to scoop him out of there.
"Is he going to put him in the trash!!!??" was his alarmed response to this idea.
No, no, we'll flush him down the toilet, and he'll go out into the river with the rest of the water, I said.
"But, other fish will EAT him!!!!" he sobbed.
After a few minutes of talking him down from this hysteria, O. then shifted his attention to Frog's loneliness, and wanted to know when we would get another fish to keep him company.
So, off to the pet store we went after I picked him up from preschool. We picked out a "colored" fish (a neon tetra) and one that looked very much like the dearly departed Stripey.
O. christened them "Colored" (something that sounds like 'Cuth' for short), and "Striped" (because Stripey was Stripey, and this one can't be the same). He spent quite a bit of time watching them swim yesterday afternoon and this morning.
When we fed them this evening, "Cuth" wasn't looking so good, no darting movements, staying suspiciously listless at the top of the tank.
I just flushed him.
I'll deal with the fallout in the morning, I'm sure. Perhaps I can reassure him that "sea kittens" don't eat each other.


mep said...

R.I.P., Stripey and Cuth. I'm sure these two sea kittens are frolicking together with all the others in that same stream.

CaraBee said...

Not to get too serious, but I do think that having these early brushes with mortality are good lessons for kids. I feel like parents that shelter their kids from this sort of stuff too much are doing them a disservice. Much like the kids sports that don't keep score because they don't want anyone to feel like losers. They also don't let anyone feel like winners.

Coming down off my soapbox.

Brittany said...

Story of my fish life. I think I am banned from the Walmart fish department.