Loss of a pet helps to find purpose


Growing up, I never experienced the proclaimed joy of owning a pet. My parents would never allow a dog or a cat in the house. I had a couple fish over the years, but I never made a connection with any of them; then my parents gave me the permission to purchase my own fish. He was able to live his life right in the confines of my own personal living space, my bedroom. He was my own pet, my own betta fish. His name was McCall, and he may have just been a fish to many, but he was my buddy.

McCall was consistency in my life, as I woke up to feed him and changed his water each week. I learned how much of an impact I had on something whose life depended on my care. If I missed a weekly water change, he could become sick. If I fed him one too many pellets, he would become bloated.

Although I no longer have the presence of McCall, the impact he’s left on my life has been greater than any full-size aquarium can hold. I’ve learned how important my  responsibility is when owning any pet, even if it’s a fish. I moved McCall from so many tanks, tried feeding him many foods, and decorated his tank in ways I learned he liked. I learned from him that it’s important to observe the behaviors of any animal to ensure the safety and well-being of any pet.

This was his purpose: McCall was placed into my life to help me learn the responsibility of owning any pet and to ensure that when adopting a new pet, I know how to properly care for it.

The minute after I lost McCall, I knew that I had to save a new betta fish from the PetSmart cups, but I feared that I just wanted to get a new fish to fill the void of McCall being gone. I didn’t want that to happen, as McCall impacted my life in such a way that he should always be remembered. That being said, I did recently purchase a new betta, who goesby the name of Shark Bait. He moved directly into an aquarium filled with all of the proper equipment to ensure he lives a safe, happy life. But, in one corner of the tank, I placed mementos I directly link to McCall.

I know he lived a long, happy life, and I’m glad I was able to experience the attachment and the immense responsibility of owning him, and I know all the knowledge I learned from him will impact me as I care for Shark Bait.