Saturday, November 22, 2008

RIP, Winston.

The Lord certainly blessed humans with the opportunity to have pets. I had a wonderful little dog, Spanky (see picture in the sidebar), who was just the best. Someday I will probably have another little dog - I just love the cuddly, cute, LITTLE ones. That don't shed. Or eat like elephants. Pete doesn't qualify.

OK, I'll admit I have a soft spot for him, but only because he's so stupid I pity him.

Anyway, two years ago Abbie decided she wanted a fish to keep in her bedroom. She decided on a betta, since they don't require the whole tank set-up. They're pretty happy just swimming around a bowl with a few rocks and a plant. We were told not to expect him to live more than a year, but really, how attached can you get to a fish?

So here we are, two years later, and it's obvious Winston (named after Winston Churchill) is dying. We brought him in the kitchen this evening to give him a bath (change his water) and he hardly swam away from the cup we were trying to catch him in. He sort of paddles a little bit, then slides down to the bottom of the bowl. Abbie was heartbroken watching him struggle. She actually cried a few tears. We gave him clean water and decided to leave his bowl where it is on the counter, so that he could die a peaceful death. It's really quite sad.

But in the interest of not having a totally depressing post here, I'll share a couple of short anecdotes about Winston. Yes, even fish have a story to tell.

Winston eats betta bites - little pellets of compacted, uh, betta food - whatever that is. We trained him from the beginning that, when we tapped on the glass bowl, food was coming. He learned to swim to the top in anticipation of yummy bites every time we tapped. I know you think I'm kidding, but I am totally serious. And if the house was quiet when you fed him, you could actually hear him crunching the pellets. Again, not kidding.

Betta bites must have given him great energy, because he was pretty active. His bowl is at least eight inches deep, holds a little more than a half gallon of water, and has a big plant in the middle. Abbie woke up more than one morning to find a rock on the floor. Winston was the only one who could have thrown it there. Still not kidding. And Leah said many times that the fish kept her awake at night flipping around in there.

So yes, Abbie was attached to little Winny, and said her goodbyes before she went out for the evening. She is already making plans for the next betta. She wants to replace the plant with a little pirate ship and name the fish Smee. :)

Update: This post was written Friday evening. As of a few moments ago, Sunday at 1:30 pm, Winston is still clinging to life. He has been mostly unable to swim to the top of the bowl to eat, but he did manage to get a boost from his plant yesterday and eat one betta bite. Mostly he lies in the bottom barely moving his gills. It's heartbreaking. If anyone knows of a humane way to put a fish out of its misery, please let us know. And once more, I'm not kidding.

Be thankful ~


1 comment:

Karate Mom said...

I don't know if you've gotten any other hints on euthanizing a fish, but one way is to put them in ice water. I'm not sure how...humane...that is but it does seem to do the job quickly. But make sure the water is super cold.

My husband has kept fish for a loooong time, so that's how I know these random things.