Relationships: Pets


“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ~ George Elliot


Samantha came away from a fair yesterday with two free goldfish which she named Justin (after Justin Bieber) and Skyler (the boy in our ward Samantha looks away from when their eyes meet in a crowded room).

Approximately 28 hours after she was given these fish, Justin died. This was cause for much moping at our house this evening. Alan and I tried our best to validate her sorrow and explain that we did the best we could.

In an attempt to console her for a brighter future and to get her to latch on to something to save her money for (nothing has worked yet), we encouraged her to save up for better quality fish.

Skyler and Justin are/were feeder fish and replacements are .28 cents a piece at WalMart. According to a few articles I read online about this breed, they often come diseased and can even cause the larger fish feeding off of them to be deformed. Even though I didn’t treat our chlorinated tap water before putting the new pets in it, I am going with “it was diseased” as the reason for Justin’s demise.

We have now treated the water and hope that Skyler will live a little longer.

(My camera battery died so I got this photo here. Justin was white with orange patches. Skyler is solid orange.)

This situation with Samantha reminds me–as many do–of my own experience with pets while growing up.

My most memorable experience was that of my hermit crabs. Our family friends exchanged gifts with us every Christmas and one year my gift was a pair of hermit crabs. At age 12 or 13, I thought they were pretty neat. After about four or five months of living in my room in the basement, I thought they needed more warmth and light so I put them outside. And forgot about them. And they cooked.

Neglect. That’s my problem with pets and house plants. I don’t like that about me, but there are obviously more important things in life than caring for something that can’t really interact with me on an emotional level.

Which is why I loved our dog Cosie (short for Cossette from Les Miserables). I know I still didn’t give her as much love and affection as a dog really needs, but she loved me. She was the only dog that we had that I remember and there was definite emotional interaction. I still miss her.

But then she died. They all do. I think that’s another reason I don’t want pets. You get attached to them and then they’re gone.

I want to get over this and love an animal as it deserves to be loved. Like Alan does. I think his philosophy is close to the old saying, “it’s better to be loved and lost than never to be loved at all.” And I love him for it.

Every dog that Alan comes in contact with acts like he’s their long lost pal. Not long after I met him I noticed this and asked him, “Why do dogs love you so much?” His replay was,

“Because they know I love them.”

Alan has a great love for all of God’s creatures… spiders, worms, the three snakes that have been living in our backyard since we moved here. Even the now dead lizard my niece Abby insisted on bringing home from the remote dessert a little over a week ago. Today, he asked if she would go give it a proper burial instead of letting it sit in a box, coldly accompanying a plastic toy lizard.

Samantha’s only reasoning for our owning a house is so that we can get a dog. For her and Alan’s sake alone, I would like to have a dog. I can learn from them. I’m confident that with Alan and Samantha around the animal wouldn’t be neglected and bake in the sun.

Your comments are the butter to my bread.

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