The Death of a Pet

It is never easy to say goodbye to someone or something, especially if they have touched your heart.

This afternoon despite desperate attempts over the weekend to optimise the condition of the tank water, Machete, our axolotl passed away. Unfortunately I don’t think it was painless and peaceful.

I rescued him a little under four weeks ago from someone who knew that they were not providing him the best home. His appetite was good but he was very thin. We were planning on getting two axolotls together a little bit down the track. But I have a very empathetic personality and when I saw this little fella, I couldn’t resist trying to help. Sadly, I think I only prolonged his life for a little bit. The Ph levels in his tank had dropped dangerously low and he acquired a fungal infection on his gills and possibly ammonia burns from the nitrites/nitrates being too high in the water from him defecating in the water and my lack of knowledge.

 

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Either way it was a difficult conversation to have with the kids, so we eased them into it by telling them that we don’t think that he was doing too well and he probably wouldn’t make it. Both kids have gone to bed extremely upset knowing that they have lost a pet.

So – I am back to overthinking and wondering whether it is selfish to have pets, knowing fully well that we are going to outlive them. Is it selfish to place the burden on our children knowing that they will have to say goodbye. Or is it a beautiful thing to have these trusting, unconditional loving animals in our lives – and build the resilience and knowledge of death from a young age? I just don’t know.

A person who has married into the family told Alan earlier last week that we would kill it and that we shouldn’t have gotten such an exotic animal… I don’t understand how someone can have such nasty and negative comments to say – and why put those thoughts into the universe? Such a negative mindset has a huge impact on everyone around them.

I really hope Machete knows that I did my very best. That I wanted the best for him and that my kiddies loved him even though he wasn’t a pet they could cuddle or take to school for show and tell.

So as I sit here, with warm tears rolling down my face, knowing that the morning is going to be grief ridden and difficult, I want to acknowledge that mindfulness and understanding is extremely important with children when dealing with such sensitive issues as death. All of the information I give Master 8 and Miss 7 will be truthful, yet age appropriate.

 

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