I Keep Killing My Pets!


I keep killing my pets. Well, I’m not exactly sure I’m the one killing them, and can you really call fish pets? Maybe I should back up a bit.

Shortly after Ellen and I were married I got into aquariums, or to be more specific, the fish you put into aquariums. We had a number of aquariums throughout our house. But then we began to collect children and dogs, both of which I found difficult to fit into aquariums, so one by one we sold our fish tanks at garage sales.

A couple years ago my son-in-law, François, got an aquarium. Not just any aquarium, one of those huge ones that your kids could swim laps in if they wanted. Every time I go over to their house I must admit I’m a little jealous.

A couple weeks ago I got it in my head to get myself a small tank and a single fish that I might put in my office and stare at throughout my day. I purchased one of those small, one gallon fish tanks, and a single gold and silver goldfish that my granddaughter Sara was given the task of naming. She chose, Silverbrush. Three days later Silverbrush was dead. Don’t say anything to Sarah, I haven’t told her yet.

Well you know what you do with dead goldfish, but I thought I would hold off on flushing and wait until Ellen got home from work to see if I could make her scream. I chose to do the right thing.

Last night Ellen and I went out to dinner and afterwards visited Petco to get a new fish. We walked through the store and back into their “aquatics” department. Back in the old days they used to call it the “fish” department, but apparently public opinion decided that was insensitive, so now they call it “aquatics.”

I decided to try something different, and instead of a goldfish, bought a Betta. You’ve heard of Bettas? Bettas are those beautiful fish kept in bowls that will hold about one cup of water and always look like they’re dead.

I was assured by the Betta-expert on duty that Bettas just love to sleep and they make beautiful pets. Ellen helped me choose a blue male (You can tell they are males because they have a short little…well doesn’t matter.) and off we went to introduce my new “pet” to its new home.

Now all you fish-snobs out there can calm down, yes, I changed out the water, in fact, instead of using tap-water, I replaced it with bottled water.

The next morning my Betta (I never got around to naming him) was asleep, just like the lady told me at Petco. Only this time, it was the sleep one that never wakes from. That’s right, I killed not one, but two fish in a weeks time.

But I’m not ready to give up yet. The “expert” in the “aquatics” department told me if this happens again to bring in a water sample and they will be able to determine if something poisonous (at least poisonous to fish) is in my water. I told Ellen this morning that if she finds me belly-up, by all means… don’t drink any more of the water!

But I don’t get it, why are my fish dying? I drink this water every day, it smells right, looks right, but something’s wrong and fish are dying. Hopefully testing the water will solve this mystery. I have this image in my mind of returning to Petco only to find all of their fish, in all of their tanks, huddled together and screaming, “No, no, stay away! Don’t let him take us!”

Now I bet at this point you’re expecting some great moral to this story or an application that you can use in your life or church. Sorry, I can’t give you one. I just needed to clear my conscience. But if you had to come up with a moral or application, what would it be?