Petey the Goldfish was with us for at least 7 years. Lately, he has been showing his age in various ways... first by floating upside down in his favorite corner of the tank. (He nearly got flushed the first couple of times he did that!) Once we grew accustomed to seeing him floating upside down, we just accepted it as his "trick". Then he would be found curled into a "C"- nose and tail touching the gravel... very lifeless. But wait... a sprinkle of food, and he would give a few mighty fish gasps and be up there eating goldfish flakes with Tassadar, Finnix, and Jimmy Raynar.
Day before yesterday, Petey began hiding behind a decorative stone in the aquarium. Daniel "freed" him once, and Tom another time... before realizing he was getting there on purpose. He didn't eat yesterday... and his gasps came less and less frequently. Today, he was curled into the "C", laying on the gravel. I was sure he was gone- but he gave a feeble gasp. Mr C and I had talked yesterday, wondering why we were having such trouble in just removing this obviously dying fish from the tank. When I talked to Becky yesterday, even she thought we should just go ahead and take him out of the tank. (We did the Monty Python scene 'Bring out your dead!' Wait, I'm Not dead yet...)
So a short while ago, Daniel got the net and fished Petey from the aquarium. Petey didn't struggle. He didn't even fight in the net or flop about when he was removed from the water. Dan buried Petey in the yard. Then, Sam and Dan gave him a two-BB-gun salute. They sprinkled fish food ceremoniously on his grave, in lieu of flowers.
Petey was a good fish. He came to us as a prize from the Central High school carnival. He survived a fishy disease that rotted off his fins and tail. He moved with us from Central High, Oklahoma- an arduous journey for a fish- some six hours sloshing in a jar in the floorboard of a car. He shared his tank with numerous other fish type creatures over the years... minnows and plecostomi, and various other tropical fish. None lived as long as Petey.
Now he is gone. We will probably talk about him for years to come.
He was a goldfish. They die. They get flushed... or buried. They are missed briefly or not at all.