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Monday, August 20, 2007

Aqua Death

I'm in mourning. My beautiful beta fish, affectionately named Bait, died. It was a slow death; painful to watch. He listed to one side on the bottom of his aquarium one evening. Several loud taps on the the walls didn't stir him. I was concerned but hoped he'd be back to his old self in the morning. I awoke to find him completely flat on his side, gasping slowly. Gills flapping out, holding open, then shaking closed. Poor Bait. I tried to make eye contact, let him know I was there. He just stared vacantly forward. I felt horrible going off to work, leaving him to struggle alone on the black gravel.

This went on for two more days. I debated about euthanizing him, just flushing him away and out of his misery. I couldn't do it. I let nature take its course. Upon returning from dinner (a fish dinner, no less), I found him still. He was dead.

What happened next is a bit concerning. I was unable to fish him out and flush him away. I kept his body there in the aquarium for two days. I knew it was wrong, a bit disturbing, even disrespectful to little Bait. But, I missed him and I just couldn't say goodbye. I started wondering about those sick souls you hear about on the news who keep the dead bodies of loved ones they've murdered in the house for weeks. Is this how it starts, I wondered? Did they keep their dead fish around for days? No. Snap out of it. I did not murder Bait. Big difference, as I see it.

One thing I did realize is that this is the first pet death I've experienced since leaving home. My Mom, saint that she is, always took care of our animals when they got sick and died. Dogs, hamsters, birds. You name it, Mom came through. She was the one strong enough to do what was best when the rest of us couldn't face it. So, I reminded myself I'm a grown-up now and fished Bait out, brought him to the toilet and flushed him down. Then I went to Petco and got another. Life goes on.


Jeremy said...

Sad, but most loved ones who get murdered and stashed in a closet are not called "Bait" :-)

My Dad took care of all animal issues untill I was a teenanger and had to make a hard decision to put down a faithful dog with a allergy that could not be cured or helped... Hard thing to kill something you love, or even watch it die if you know it is better for it. Still feels very wrong!

~Deb said...

This is one of the very reasons why I don't own pets anymore. We outlive them. :(

Hope you're doing well.

Sandy G. said...

Sorry about Bait. Betas are beautiful fish. I used to have one.

If you have time, I've tagged you for the middle name meme. Please come on over to see the rules if you'd like to participate.

~Sandy G.

ender said...


sorry about bait ... i lost a beta fish the same way about a year ago. i was surprised at how upset i was over it. poor li'l ink.

PetArtist said...

I'm sorry about your little Beta. My daughter recently lost her blue betta 'Zippo', she had him for two years and was quite devestated for a couple of days.

Loosing a pet is awful, we get so attached to them when they are a big part of our lives. I think if more people would stop and experience the love a pet, then humanity in general would be better off.

There are so many positives about owning a pet, the biggest negative of course is that generally we will outlive them. No matter how sad that is though, I couldn't bare to be without animal companionship and friendship - beats most humans anyday!

Cugat said...

That's sad, but at least fish don't get fleas. My kitty has fleas and those are hard to get rid of.


My Cynical Score

You Are 40% Cynical
Generally you give people the benefit of the doubt. But there are exceptions.
You buy into many of the things that mainstream society believes, but you're not anybody's fool.