I Laughed When My Kid's Pet Died


pet owners dayToday is Pet Owners Day. Who knew they had such a holiday but, golly gee, they do! Not only do pets bring us joy and companionship, studies have shown that pets are good for our health -- they ward off anxiety, depression, boost immunity, lower blood pressure, and the list goes on.

In our home, we do not own a pet. I'm one of those allergic people -- any animal with fur makes me sneeze (or worse). Hence, I am just not used to the whole pet owner thing.

Kiddo inherited the allergy to cats, but she really wanted a pet ... so we bought a fish. A Japanese fighting fish, a beta fish. Name: Bubbles.

Bubbles seemed to like being with us. He had a bowl with a castle in it. Kiddo put plastic dinos by his tank to keep him company. We talked to him. But after about three months, Bubbles started to swim a little slower. His tank started getting murkier faster.

And one day, Bubbles died. As tears welled up in Kiddo's eyes, I did the unthinkable. I laughed.

It was straight out of that episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, when Chuckles the Clown died and Mary couldn't stop laughing at the funeral. That was me. I started giggling and could not stop.

When Bubbles kicked it, I knew this would be a pivotal moment in Kiddo's life. A huge teaching moment. Both of us stared at the fish bowl, at the non-moving pet. I tried in vain to stop snickering and think of what to say as she asked me question after question. There was a lot of talk about Bubbles (giggle) being old and going to a larger (tee-hee) fish bowl in the sky ... how that place is reached via a vast, masterful pipe system (ha ha ha) beginning with our toilet.

I tried everything to stop the giggles. I bit my inner cheek. I took deep breaths. I thought of horrible things. But the laughter would not stop. We said a few kind words about Bubbles and flushed him away. Kiddo's tears flowed faster, and I held her on my lap for about 13 minutes. We decided to draw him some pictures for his walls in that new big fish tank ... on toilet paper, of course. Only then did the giggles stop.

I know this happens to people all of the time. Laughing at inappropriate times. Could it have been I didn't know what to do, not having many pets of my own? Sure, maybe, but I'm not letting myself off of the hook. Say it with me: Worst. Mommy. Moment. Ever.

How do you handle a pet's death?


Image via merec0/Flickr

a mom's life, confessions, pets


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nonmember avatar Anon

I haven't had to deal with the death of my child's pet yet but I remember dealing with the death of my beloved dog right after I got married. I didn't laugh. I'd had many pets growing up and eventually dealth with my parents finally having to get rid of them for one reason or another. When my dog died I was holding her. I can still hear the vet telling me I knew I "shouldn't do anything, right?" meaning I should ask for nothing to prolong her life as she was ancient in dog years and needed to be let go of. I cried so hard if my husband had not been holding me up I would have been on the floor of the clinic. I know that even when my children have a pet and that pet dies, I won't laugh. I'll grieve with them and then try to make them happy again.

Auror... Aurorasmommy07

No Not a Bad mommy that happens to everyone sometimes. I spent my whole wedding trying not to giggle i was sooooo mad after the fact but I JUST COULDN'T STOP!!!!!!! There wasn't even a good reason to giggle! Grrrrrrr




Proud... ProudSingleMum

Our cat died around Thanksgiving 2 years ago. Maybe....4 months ago, my son out of nowhere gets the SADDEST look I've ever seen on his face. I asked what was wrong and he said "I MISS BLAZER" and started to bawl. I went the opposite way of you...I bawled, too. Both of us, a 1+years after her death were uncontrollably bawling. So very sad.

deadp... deadpplrmyhero

I found my first dog ever dead after I came home from volleyball practice. That was hard. Our second dog caught me by surprise and upset us all. He was only 3 years old.

shazaam shazaam

It's a Siamese fighting fish and spelled Betta. You don't even know what you're buying your child? That's sad. I bet it died because you didn't take care of it properly. Practice cruelty to animals much? 

elfis... elfishpirat

Not sure what's so funny about a fish dying..then again, I'm a betta lover. My dog was put down two years ago after a stroke. I wasn't even told until after the fact. :(

Johariz Johariz

Yeah, the fish most likely died because you didn't care for it properly. Great way to teach your kid about taking care of an animal.

Saras... Sarasahmof3

She is talking about uncontrolled giggles.  I got them at my father's funeral. @shazaam, stuck up much. I've owned beta fish in the past.  Yes, you need to clean the tank. I had two tanks so when one was dirty into the clean spare waiting tank he went.  It was a first pet, there is a learning process. Nest time around things will be different.

momav... momavanessa

I had a betta fish for 4 years and when I gave him to my sisters to take of he died a year later. I really think it was wrong to laugh about it but whatever  happens happens and you can't take it back. Hopefully your child will forget that her parent laughed at they're pet's death!


tsk tsk

nonmember avatar lld

It was about INAPPROPRIATE laughter not the death of the fish. She obviously feels badly about it. I've had problems with inapproriate laughter all my life... including as a child laughing when I got into trouble. Not because I wasn't remorseful, it was just the physical reaction that happened instead of crying.

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