Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Horrible pet deaths

On a completely different note today.

I had lunch with a couple of colleagues, and we somehow got onto the subject of pet deaths.

Just like my hamster, when she was still alive and well

Pets are good for kids, I think.

They learn how to grapple with the big issues in life, such as mortality, responsibility and how to take care of something completely defenseless.

Or not, as it would seem.

For some reason, many of our pets seemed to have come to a horrible demise. I list.

Please feel free to purge your own trauma in the comments section.

Squashed hamster
She lived a happy life. She was pregnant when we got her (a result of some form of incest, I'd imagine, but best not to think about it), had babies of which she ate only one, and lived for a long time.

Until I accidentally put the wire top of her cage down in a manner which squashed her head between the wire and the plastic tray forming the bottom. Her neck broke, and it almost ruined our Christmas.

Eaten rabbit
She was forced to eat it for dinner. I say no more.

Starved rabbit
We went on holiday, leaving my grandmother to take care of it. She dutifully fed it, but seemed to ignorant of the fact that the poor animal also needed water. It was found rather shrivelled and dehydrated when we came home. She was never held to account, but I resented her for years for not apologising.

Overfed fish
My friend accidentally overfed her au-pair host family's hundreds-of-dollars worth of tropical fish. The water turned muddy and they all died. She claimed they'd died of a mysterious disease. They believed her.

Flying/fungused terrapin
While being fed dried shrimp, the terrapin latched itself onto his finger. When he withdrew it (a reflex, we can all agree), it flew in a beautiful arch across the room. It didn't die, but wisely escaped into the garden. He found it again two years later, and it died shortly after of a fungal infection.

Squashed hamster II
My colleague's hamster was very tame, and happily playing in the garden, when the neighbour's horrible fat dog attacked and mauled it. It didn't die, but was helplessly trying to crawl away despite being partly paralysed. Her friend had to step on it and sqash it to put it out of its misery.

Heart attack rabbit
Another dog story. The rabbit escaped from its hutch, but before being able to enjoy its newfound freedom, found itself chased by the neighbour's dog. In the end it had a heart attack from exhaustion, and was found with its eyes splayed open in fear and all four limbs stretched out as if in full stride.

So should children really be allowed pets? I'd say yes.

Apart from my squashing of the hamster with the cage, I think we can agree that while possibly reckless, none of the other deaths were a result of gross negligence at the hands of a child.

In fact, the only case of negligence, you'll notice, was at the hands of an adult, ie. my gran, bless her soul.

After all, if living in the wild, hamsters would probably constantly find themselves eaten by offspring, with nobody to squash them should they survive in a paralysed state, which would mean days of painful dehydration or starvation before death.

Ask my rabbit and it would tell you that's not a nice way to go.

In other words, life is cruel. The only reason why we end up thinking of the deaths of our pets as cruel (which they inevitably seem to be), is that death is, like life, also generally cruel.

Starving to death or being eaten isn't nice.

The fact that we witness it just makes it seem worse.

So what are you waiting for?

Your kids want a cat?

Get one for them now, and you'll never have to explain awkward things like the concept of death, nor the facts of life, they'll work it out on their own when the kitty grows up, is humped by the blind old tomcat living down the road, and gives birth to a litter of kittens you'll spend weeks trying to get rid of.

Personally I can't wait to have kids. With pets, I mean.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for not just lurking..

Peer Review Section