I feel kind of bad. I was talking with Donecia a while back about what a pain it has been to take care of my sister's adopted pet, a Beta (aka Siamese Fighting Fish). She left him under my care when she recently moved to Alexandria. Well, I saw Bentley floating today, and I've never seen him swim on his back before. His shimmering blue scales had turned gray, and he looked a little swollen.
Yes, I'm afraid he was, as the police categorize certain people, deceased.
He (at least I think he was male) just needed a couple flakes of store-bought fish food a few times a week, but I sort of resented sprinkling them into his watery home. I think the worst part of taking care of Bentley was cleaning his bowl. It eventually got sort of slimy, and the water would turn from clear to cloudy.
But I did it. I don't think his death came from neglect. In addition to feeding him and cleaning his manmade habitat, I made it a point to check the temperature of his water (because Betas live in warm water in their natural Southeast Asian habitats -- though I think he came from Wal-Mart or a pet store).
You obviously couldn't pet Bentley, but it was kind of funny to see him stalk and attack his fish food. My sister and her college roommates had him for more than a year-and-a-half before he began his four-month and fatal stay with me. So he was at least 2, which apparently falls into the average life expectancy of a Beta. I think he was pretty healthy for most of his underwater life, even though he seemed to be having trouble swimming in a straight line the other day. I guess that comes with old age when you're a fish?
My tiny bit of remorse over my Bentley-care animosity is probably silly. I'm giving this fish the same confessional tribute I would give a dead person. You know how we sometimes feel bad saying mean things about someone who has recently passed away? So we throw in some nice things, too. (I'm not talking about historical figures here.)
Anyway, I figured this would be the closest thing to a proper, animal friendly eulogy. Even though animals don't use the Internet. But neither do dead people – that I can tell.