Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dude. He's, like, a fish.

At Thanksgiving, several family memebers asked if we had a pet and/or were we getting Bobby a puppy for Christmas. My initial reaction (Hell to the no) was usually tempered with my classic response that I only house break one thing at a time (Charlie is still in diapers). My oldest would love to get a dog. Or a cat. Or basically any kind of pet with fur. (For some reason, he does not think his two year old brother counts, although I see many similarities). I have no interest in getting a dog for the obvious reasons. I will be the one who walks it, bathes it, trains it and picks up it's poop. A cat seems like the next best thing but I am horribly allergic. So that's out.

We have had one pet in the past. A fish. Well, I guess it counts as a fish.

At our old house there was a large pond in the backyard and one day all the neighborhood kids were scooping all these tiny minnows out and trying to sell them to each other. (Note: The collective idiocy of the neighborhood children was one of the big reasons for our move). In one of his less shrewd moments, Bobby came running in the house asking for $5 to buy a fish. I explained to him that he could scoop one out for free. He needed a fish bowl but I wasn't prepared to invest any money in housing for a free minnow that probably wouldn't last the day. I found an old take-out wonton soup container (this was during my incredible wonton soup cravings while pregnant with Charlie), added some pond water and our little pet was all set up. Bobby named him Dude. I'm not sure why. At the time, he was really pushing us to name his baby brother Corn. Again, not sure why.

Dude grew a little. Very little. Later we read that fish will only grow enough to fit their environment. And that wonton soup container was nice and tall but not so wide. He seemed happy though. (I can't believe I just wrote that. Can a fish seem happy?) We refreshed his (nasty) water from the pond and tried to feed him fish food from the store (a 79 cent investment) but he didn't seem interested. He was, I guess living on whatever was in all the pond water (which was rather murky).

Bobby got really attached to Dude. The Husband and I could not believe he was still alive. We explained to Bobby that he probably wouldn't live very long since he was really meant to live in a big pond. Bobby was convinced that we had saved him. Surely, some larger fish or turtle would have eaten Dude by now had he been left to shift for himself out there!

A year and a half later Dude finally went belly up. A YEAR AND A HALF. A year and a half of changing that horrible water and Bobby worrying when we traveled if Dude would be lonely. He would usually set up an elaborate ring of stuffed animals around his bowl/soup container. Which actually seemed to me like it would scare the crap out of the little fish to see all those large brightly colored furry things about to take over his home. But Bobby was convinced that they would keep Dude company.

But I digress. Dude, he died. And Bobby was broken hearted. He cried and cried. He was so worried that Dude had gotten sick and he hadn't noticed or that we should have done something different (ahem, like maybe get him a real bowl). We put Dude in an old matchbox on top of a tissue and buried him under a tree in our backyard. Bobby had us put a picture of him in the box with Dude so that he wouldn't be lonely. A few months later we moved and Bobby was upset that we were leaving Dude behind. There was talk of exhuming him and moving him with us but I quickly killed that idea.

With this much drama around a free, wild minnow, I cannot imagine the trauma and drama if we lost a real pet. So, for now, we will remain puppy free. Unless someone knows where I can get a puppy that fits in a wonton soup container.


Well I Do Declare said...

Poor little Bobby! I can just picture that minnow in the soup container! HAHA

Jen said...

I'd say it's more like poor little Dude! :) Oh, and do you have the rights on "Hell to the no", or can I borrow it, too?

AndreaLeigh said...

How pitiful! But what a sweet story. Pets a major work, that for sure. At least mine are.

thepreppyprincess said...

Oh my word, this was hysterical, and sweet and cute all at the same time. It *very* much brings back childhood memories!

Thanks for popping by the blog...we are loving yours!

Hope the week ahead is kind to you!

PS: Loved the Scrooge/Advent post!