Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Mystery of the Missing Fish and the Escapades of Nikki

I always have gotten a little nervous when we have cared for a friend's pet while they were away. I mean, what if something happens to the pet while we are gone? What if the pet even died?

Very early in our marriage my husband's friend asked us to care for their little Yorkshire Terrier, Nikki, while they were away for the weekend. I don't remember where my husband was, but he wasn't there, so I had to deal with this all by myself. Nikki came to stay at my house.

When it came time for bed, he climbed up on my bed, and took up command of my pillow. If he could have written a sign, it would have said, "New Owner. Old Owner Go Away." I wasn't quite ready for bed, so I gave him a little time to get distracted and go somewhere else, but instead, he settled in more snuggly into my soft feather pillow, showing clearly that he was not moving until morning light shown in through the window. What was I going to do? My husband's pillow was gone with him.

I decided to try to sweet talk Nikki off the pillow. It didn't work. I tried to bribe him off the bed with treats. It didn't work either. Tiny little Nikki growled at me. I gave him some more time. Finally I decided that I had to go to bed. I was bigger then him. Growl or no growl, I needed to just take charge, scoop him up and put him in the bathroom. So with a quick move I reached out to remove him from my pillow. With an even quicker move, he growled and snapped his tiny little teeth at me and grabbed my thumb. Yikes! Blood oozed from my thumb. At that point I knew who was in charge, and it wasn't me. But then I could go to bed after all, because in all the commotion, he did get removed from my pillow, and I quickly took possession of it.

The next day, before his owners could return, he decided to run away. Oh dear! I called and searched, but didn't find him nearby. So I decided to drive the few blocks to his house. He wasn't there. On the way back home I called and looked, and drove past his old house. They had recently moved to a new place. And there little Nikki was. With shaking heart I retrieved him, and thankfully he went along sweetly with me back to my house.

Little Nikki is now long gone, but this same dear family, and yes, we are friends, now has a daughter, and this daughter was given two gold fish at a birthday party. One goldfish died, but the other one was still alive when it was time for them to go away for the weekend. This girl is very close friends with my daughter, so naturally Emily Rose was chosen to care for the precious fish while they were gone. I had forgotten about what had happened when we cared for their dog.

Everything went fine all through the weekend. Emily Rose was careful to keep her bedroom door closed, so our cat, Hunter, couldn't get to the goldfish bowl. I wasn't too worried though. We had cared for another friend's parakeet a couple different times, and nothing bad happened, even though Hunter had spent some time carefully watching that bird, and we had taken the precaution of wiring his cage doors closed, just in case.

Monday morning, just before I was to go off and do my first day of teaching ESL, my daughter came screaming up the stairs, "Mom, the fish is gone! The FISH IS GONE!"

Gone? Where could a fish go? It's not like fish have legs and tennis shoes to put on. Even though mom needed every second she had to get ready to go to work, she went with Emily Rose to investigate the mystery of the missing fish. Surely my daughter still had sleep in her eyes and just couldn't see the fish, or something.

But my eyes were open, and there was no fish in the fish bowl. And there was no water spilled out on the shelf. Where was the fish? Was Forest playing a practical joke? No, not this early in the morning. And I really didn't think that was something he would do anyway. He liked the fish.

Well, that was too bad. I guess we would have to get our friend a new fish.

Minutes later, Emily Rose came screaming again. "Mom, come see what Hunter is doing and bring the camera!"

It was just like in the cartoons! Oh how he hoped another fish would appear in the fishbowl. The first one was delicious, but just a little small.

The mystery of the missing fish was solved. The guilty party was caught and duly punished. There would be no treats for him for a long time. Our friend got to go to the store and pick out a new goldfish. I made it to work before the students. And our lesson was well learned.

4 bouquets of wildflowers (Comment here):

La Tea Dah said...

What an excellent post! I enjoyed the stories (Nikki is a fiesty thing!) and the goldfish story was sadly funny.

We've had many pets (pony, goat, sheep, cats, dogs, birds, & fish). Although all are 'loved', I've observed a strange 'caring' for fish. The boys, at 19 and 22, are still attentive to the needs of their goldfish. Tender hearts, I guess. Once I suggested that the goldfish would be fine staying at home while we were gone for a long week-end. They died. Never again! For awhile we carted the replacements off to a friends. Now when we travel, the fish go with us. A canning jar fits into the pop holder in the vehicle --- and a lid with holes punched in it keeps the water inside the jar. In motel rooms, the countertop becomes the fish ledge, and all is well. But, some might think we are a pretty strange family --- to travel with our fish. Especially since the Schnauzers stay at home!

:) LaTeaDah

Anonymous said...

That is way to cute!

Barb said...

Really funny story and I love the photo.....cats will be cats. >:)


Pamela said...

we have little fish that jump out of the acquarium if we aren't careful.

... but when it belongs to someone else and your cat was the culprit, what a story!