My children are not the most responsible pet owners. This is not a problem with the dog, nor the cat before her, because we are reasonably responsible and can compensate. The situation is quite different when we either did not want the animal or were unaware of its existence.
About a week after the conclusion of her fourth grade year, Jane brought me a paper sack with a moth in it. Apparently the moth had been in its cocoon on the last day of TAG (talented and gifted) a couple of weeks earlier. How long it had been out of its cocoon yet trapped in a sack in her room, I have no idea.
This most recent summer, my son became the proud owner of two field mice. My husband and a colleague were firing the wood kiln when they saw a mouse. The other man caught it and put it in a bucket. Daryl was so entertained by it, that when another one appeared, it was caught and placed in the bucket as well.
I came home from work to be greeted by a young boy grinning from ear to ear and showing me his new “pets”. After confirming that the pets would reside in the bucket outside, I paid them no further heed.
A day or two later, I was sitting on a bench outside and I noticed a large brown jewelry box next to me. It was the velvet kind that hinges open on one end that a necklace freshly purchased from a jeweler would be in. As I reached toward it, my husband said, “that’s a double mouse coffin.”
“What did you just call it?”
“It’s a double mouse coffin. Daryl wanted to keep those two mice so we drilled holes in the lid of the bucket so they could breath. But he left the bucket in front of the porch and it rained and they drowned.”
“Oh. So why hasn’t the coffin been buried?”
This question got the mice buried by Daryl and his grandpa near a tree. When Daryl talked about making a tombstone, his grandpa suggested that they instead let the mice be “anonymouse”. Ba-dum-dum.