Ode to Fred – a Pet Tale

One of my wife’s co-workers recently related an attempt to teach her 10 year old son responsibility.  He wanted a puppy.  She knew a puppy was a large undertaking, so she suggested trying something a little less challenging at first; like a turtle.

turtle, pet, responsibilityShe bought a small turtle and a bowl, he named the turtle Fred.  For a while things went well and she was impressed with the amount of care and attention her son lavished on Fred.  But after a few weeks, that interest began to wane.  After a few more weeks, Fred wasn’t looking so good.  He wasn’t smelling so good either.  She suggested that her son should clean out the bowl.  He reluctantly agreed.

In a while, her son came downstairs and said, “I think Fred is sick.”  Closer examination revealed that Fred was no longer among the living.

This pronouncement elicited a tirade of angry shouts from her son as he tried to blame Fred’s death on everyone and anyone but himself.  In time he calmed down and she explained that Fred’s care was *his* responsibility; that was the agreement.  He was going to show her that he was responsible enough to care for a small creature so she might trust him with something bigger and harder to care for – like a puppy.  He just sulked.

She told her daughter to take the turtle tank out back and toss the contents over the fence into the field.  But the horrified look on her son’s face made her reconsider.  He would need closure.

So a funeral was planned.  They found a suitable place to dig a small hole, they said some appropriate words, sang a song and her son placed a small hand-lettered marker which said, “Here lies Fred. Fred is dead.  Ask me no questions.”

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