May 03, 2013

a sad story about pets

I was talking to a friend yesterday about owning animals. She has a mini farm. I want her farm. But while I was telling her about all the pets we had when I was growing up, I realized I kept ending with, ... and then it died.
It's true. No matter what, our dogs and cats died. Very suddenly. Suddenly... hit by a car. Suddenly... shot by a neighbor. Suddenly... ate poison. Suddenly... just dropped dead for no apparent reason.
The only pet that lived for any length of time was Mr. Limpet. He was my fish. And every morning for the 3 years that he lived, Moma would ask me, Sunny Jane? Did you feed your fish? Every morning. For 3 years. I hated that fish after a few months. I wished he'd just die like all the other pets. I'd go in there, eyeball his fishbowl, thump it with my fingers, and hiss, Die sucker. And on the day he did finally die of natural causes, I made myself a cake.

Anyway, Karen and her girls inherited the family pet death curse.
There was Leah's praying mantis, Praline, who died suddenly when a fat, chubby, two year old Lucy dropped a rock on her. There's still a grave marker in Karen's front flowerbed for Praline.

 Leah and Praline

Then there were Leah's other two praying mantis, Jessie and Justin. Justin died suddenly of unknown causes. Jessie died a few days later when Leah decided to operate on her with a pair of scissors. Their grave markers have been lost over time.
Then there was Samson the dog. Samson was a boy. And fairly one track. His favorite thing ever was to play "piggy back" anytime one of the girls walked out the back door. Emma was like, That Samson... he always wants to play piggy back. And many times I had to go outside, and rescue her or one of her sisters from him. But one thing I can say about Samson, he was always really happy to see us. Anyway, Samson was taken to a new, and better home one day. Like, for real a new home. He didn't die or anything. And although the girls cried when he left, Emma told me later, It'll be nice not to play piggy back anymore.

 Samson, wishing there was someone he could play piggy back with.

And there's Marshmallow the rabbit who couldn't be exposed to too much sun because he's an albino and bright lights will make him go blind. We're pretty sure he's blind now. But good news for Marshmallow, Karen gave him to a new, and loving family before we could kill him off completely.
And finally, there's Willoughby. Oh, Willoughby. Poor bunny rabbit. His demise was the most tragic. Something we didn't know about Willoughby's breed, they get over heated really fast. This is bad. It kills them. I got a call from Karen one day that Willoughby was dead. So I went to her house and she told me the story: I thought he would just like a little sunshine so I put his cage out on the back porch and gave him lots of water and put a towel over half the cage so he would have some shade if he wanted it. But then when I went out there later...
At this point, Karen started crying.
... he was dead. And his little body was stretched out like he was reaching for his water bottle, but it was empty. He had drank it all. I killed him, but I didn't mean to. He had heatstroke.
Our friend, Heather, had walked into Karen's house right as Karen was trying to restart Willoughby's heart by pouring a bottle of water over his stretched out body.
Karen had Heather check for a pulse. Heather said she was sorry, but there wasn't one. Karen had Heather remove Willoughby's body from the scene of the crime. Later, we all stood around Willoughby's shoebox coffin and said our last goodbyes. Karen cried the hardest.
And several months later, Lily said to me, Re'nemeber when Mommy ax'dently killed Willoughby? He was cooked. But not in a microwave like popcorn.

Molly and poor Willoughby

So the moral to this story is, one time I was pet-sitting some people's goldfish and they both died the next morning. There they were, just floating on top of the water. To this day I don't know what happened. I felt really bad, and had to throw them away in a ziploc baggie.

She Who, For The Sake Of The Animal Kingdom, Should Probably Never Own A Pet