Four years ago we bought a betta fish for Avery as a reward for giving up her soother. Since her soother’s name was Blue-blue, she named her betta fish after it, naturally.
Blue-blue is now four years old and when we tell other parents how long we’ve had the fish their first question is, “Is it the original fish?” Yes. A quick Google search reveals that the average life span of a betta is between two and six years, in fact. Still, it’s pretty much a miracle Blue-blue’s still with us. Sometimes we forget to feed him. We often go three weeks between bowl cleanings. He was even uprooted from his home during the Calgary flood.
But Blue-blue keeps on swimming twice a day to retrieve his little food pellets from the top of the bowl. Between meals he kind of lays on his side at the bottom. He’s also changing colours; from a lustrous purple-blue to a mottled purple-grey. He looks like he’s dying, a fact that is not lost on Avery.
They say the death of a pet is one way to teach kids about the cycle of life. I wonder, will Avery mourn Blue-blue like she did the soother he replaced? Or will her first question be, “Now can I get an eel?” I have a feeling that when our geriatric betta fish finally passes on and is flushed into the dark reaches of the Calgary sewer system, we as a family will have only learned one lesson:
Dogs are way better pets than fish. (And no, you can’t have an eel.)