Saying goodbye to a family pet

Last weekend we said goodbye to one of our first family pets, our goldfish Keith. We have had a pair of goldfish – Keith and Alan since Bean was about two. They started off small little things and grew and grew until they had gotten through several tank upgrades and fully educated me on goldfish keeping – seriously who knew it would be so hard?!

Having these two little fish was a huge learning curve. Who knew goldfish were really dirty fish and needed tonnes of space to swim in? They have cost us more money than we ever dreamed of and yet we loved them. We nursed them through tank changes, poor water quality and even white spot until last weekend when Keith suddenly died.

We don’t really know what happened to him – their water was looking a little murky and we had changed it the day before he passed and they were due a tank upgrade but his demise was quick and a shock.

Bean was very upset. We moved Alan into another tank and disposed of Keith. We let Bean be involved and explained that Keith was going to a new home to be a pet fish for someone in heaven and that he would make them very happy. She drew a little picture of Keith which we have taped to the back of the new tank to keep Alan company and some tears were shed. She didn’t just forget about it either, she mentioned it now and again for the next week and Jelly Baby too remembers that once we had two fish but now we have one.

I firmly believe that having pets is good for children. They learn responsibility and how to care for another living thing. They also learn valuable lessons about the fragility of life and that it is sad when someone or something dies. We will get Alan a new companion, but for now his lonely swimming reminds us of the joy that these pets give us and how lucky we are to have them.

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