Monday, August 29, 2011

Reason #4: Sweet Salamanders and Other Pets

The Story and Untimely Death of French Fry
When I was younger, I used to go with my grandparents to a campground a couple of miles from their house. They kept a trailer there and used it as a place to hang out on weekends and summers, a place for friends and family and fires and barbeques. One time, I went with my grandparents and my cousin, Sam, to spend the evening at the campground.
My cousin was a year younger than me then and probably could have been my identical twin. We decided to go out exploring through the woods and came upon a creek that flowed through the campground. With the brilliant idea of catching “fishes,” we traipsed back to the trailer to get a bucket to put them in. We couldn’t find a bucket, so instead we got plastic cups, which turned out to be a good thing because we needed something to catch the fishes with. We decided that the best technique was to scoop up random cupfuls of water and hope that we would catch something.
After only a few minutes of scooping, we actually did catch something, but it wasn’t a fish. It was a beautiful orange salamander! We showed it to our grandmother and kept it in the shade until it was time to go, at which point we snuck it into the car.
When we got home, we realized that we needed a place to keep it so we asked our grandmother for a bucket. Sighing, she dug through her cupboards in search of a big enough Tupperware container for our poor creature. We put it gingerly inside of the plastic dish and added some water and grass, named it “French Fry”, and walked away.
Sure enough, when we came back a few hours later, sweet old French Fry was belly-up. So we buried him in the middle of my grandma’s garden. RIP French Fry.
The Story and Untimely Death of “Birdie”
Playing in our backyard one day, my sister and I found a poor baby bird that had been knocked out of his nest and was lying on the ground. It took us quite a while to realize he was no longer breathing.
However, after we had made this discovery, we decided that “Birdie” needed a proper burial. So we grabbed a shovel and headed for the woods. Two feet off of our property line, we dug a hole and placed the small bird inside of it. After covering him with dirt, we realized that what he needed now was a headstone.
We poked around a bit and eventually found an old cinderblock, which we dragged on top of his grave. My sister painted the name “Birdie” upside down in green paint on the top of the block and we both said a few words about the bird’s life. I realized many years down the road, when my dad found the gravesite and asked what it was, that the letters e and d in Birdie’s inscription were backward. You were a good friend, Birdie. We’ll miss you dearly.
The Story and Untimely Death of the Little Red Fishies
My sister at one point owned her own fish tank, where she kept a zebra fish on one side, and another type of small red fish on the other side, separated by a plastic divider with extremely tiny holes in it. The small red fish was pregnant when my sister bought it. Eventually, the babies hatched. We all ogled at the teeny tiny baby fishies that morning. Then we went to school.
When we returned home that evening, the zebra fish had eaten all but one of the little baby fishes (which it finished off the next day). Who knew that zebra fish even ate other fish?! When, some time later, we did remove the plastic divider between the two fish, the zebra fish ate the momma red fish as well.  Good luck in the afterlife, little fishies.

I also unfortunately suffered the loss of a long-time family pet, a beautifully demented sheltie named Lady, who died earlier this summer of cancer. She was the best friend a gal could ask for. Comment and tell me about "the story and untimely death" of a pet you once owned, and don't forget to share about your truly loyal and loving pets too!

Lady and myself


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