In witch there is always a bright side

Published on: 06 Dec 2016

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In witch there is always a bright side
 
OUR first family pets were goldfish. All named after the Nintendo Mario Karts characters. They swam in a comfortably large tank with loads of fresh weed and were largely ignored until the odd time when we could not actually see the little darlings and were forced to change the water. What a stinky job. Water is heavy. I started hating them and their unblinking bulgy eyes watching me while I cooked. They lasted ages but all died off eventually and had humanist funerals in the garden or down the toilet with varying degrees of emotion.
 
Evil (my 13 year old who still deserves this name) was desperate for a hamster so we got one off Gumtree and told Himself (who hates all things furry) that we were just looking after her for a friend, for a couple of years (naughty us). She was nippy and smelly, her name changed frequently but in the end she was called Fudge and Evil loved her. We had been away for the weekend; upon arriving back home, lugging bags, bumping and bickering, a cry pierced the air. Evil was poking her finger through Fudge's cage. "Ohhhh nooooo" she wailed. We all peered through the bars to see the little hamster lying stiff, four tiny legs sticking up in the air. Oh great. I quickly found a large matchbox and carefully squeezed Fudge into it. Sliding it shut I passed the box to Evil saying we would have a funeral later. She started wailing louder pointing with horror at the box. A little leg was poking out the bottom. Ooops.
 
The death of a pet is harrowing and a massive life lesson on dealing with loss. I was walking at Redcatch and saw a doggy friend with two dogs instead of her usual one. Upon questioning her new arrival she rolled her eyes. The dog was old, her in-laws were older and unable to cope with him. Her husband had taken in the dog and she was left to look after it. Her own dog was annoyed with this unwelcome house guest and showed his displeasure by being extra disobedient. We had a moan about men and old dogs and moved on.
 
A couple of weeks later I saw her again. Only one dog. The old dog had died that day. We both teared up as she told me about waking up and finding the dog unable to walk, watching her husband carry the dog for its final journey to Dr Death and the dog looking back at her over her husband's shoulder with knowing eyes. Sobbed we did in the middle of the football pitch. Blowing noses she continued that Dr Death had asked what they wanted to do with the dog after. “We have artificial grass” she sniffed, “we can't exactly bury him”. I pondered her dilemma. “How about lifting up the fake turf and just sliding him under?' I asked. “That could work,” she mused, “then the kids would have a ramp for their skateboarding” We giggled guiltily and moved on.
 
We live and we die. It is happy then sad. Life goes on and I cackle.

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