pet death: lies and legends

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Hamster math:

(1 pygmy hamster/1 cat) + (1 pygmy hamster/3 dogs) = 0 hamsters

They had escaped. I got a frantic call from my wife yesterday when I was about half a mile from home, howling that she couldn't even go into the room with the dogs where they were fighting over the one. She had already scraped up the remains of the other, which the cat had torn to pieces. I rushed in the door and entered the dog room. They were sitting calmly in a circle around the hamster, which was bloody, wet with dog slobber, on its back, and slowly twitching. I took the hamster out back, hit it in the head with a hammer, and buried it in the backyard.

The boy had been upstairs watching his baby sister while all of this was going on. We told him that they must have got away and he seemed to accept that, although he was full of tears at their absence. "Maybe we could tape the cat's mouth shut, so he can't eat them." "You know buddy, I know we get mice here in the wintertime sometimes that the cat can't catch. I've seen them. But he's an old, slow cat. Maybe the hamsters are making friends with the mice."

This isn't the first time we've lied to him about a pet death. One night when he was 4, he found his beloved goldfish Pam floating upside-down in the tank. We told him that she was sick, but I was going to the pet store to get medicine. I brought the doppleganger back into the house after he went to bed and made the switch. When we showed him the next morning, he said "Pam looks bigger." We told him it was a side-effect of the medicine.

Is this just my miserable existence, or do you guys go through this too? I mean, eventually, the dog or cat's going to die and we aren't going to be able to make up a goddamn story about it. But I feel like we were right to cover up the fact that his two new little rodents were made into mincemeat by all of his other pets.

how's life, Tuesday, 13 November 2012 12:24 (eleven years ago) link

three months pass...

I can't believe this thread has sat untouched since November! We had a rabbit which I strongly suspect did not actually "run away", though I can't persuade Mum to confess. My hunch is a fox was involved because poor Miffy was left in his outdoor run after dusk.

Madchen, Friday, 8 March 2013 11:23 (ten years ago) link

my mum told me straight out when my goldfish died, i was about 5. she made me sit on her knee first, which eased the pain of learning about death.

Tioc Norris (LocalGarda), Friday, 8 March 2013 11:25 (ten years ago) link

when a friend of mine's dog got run over, his parents instead told him that 'Lucky' had been selected to be a special police dog!

Ward Fowler, Friday, 8 March 2013 11:27 (ten years ago) link

a friend of mine tells a story about his dog going missing when he was a kid, and a few months later he was in the park and saw a bunch of rougher lads throwing sticks for it. he tried to call it back but it wouldn't respond to its name, and the guys were calling it "aids" as it happily trotted along with them.

Tioc Norris (LocalGarda), Friday, 8 March 2013 11:30 (ten years ago) link

our fish died recently. I was upfront about it. at first V didn't care/it didn't register then the next day she cried about it a little, that she missed him. now I think she's forgotten about it entirely.

Donkamole Marvin (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 8 March 2013 17:21 (ten years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Beats has just turned 6 and shes already had 3 cats, a dog and a goldfish die. We're very upfront about it but I wonder if that's best. It always feels like there's a rush to grab any opportunity to teach your kid about death but why? I guess the death questions start early.

I thought, 'This is Jeezo. He came in, he activated' (sunny successor), Wednesday, 27 March 2013 19:07 (ten years ago) link

we've had relatives die so we've had to talk about it a bit, altho I doubt she fully grasps the concept. We have told her that everybody dies eventually. Except Superman. he can't die.

two years pass...

Oh god for when this happens.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 30 October 2015 15:22 (eight years ago) link

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