A couple of weeks before my son’s 4th birthday, we received a couple of frogs from my mother-in-law. If you’ve been in Hallmark, you’ve probably seen them. They come in a small clear box with a plant to provide oxygen and a snail to keep the container clean. You also get a year’s supply of food; tiny brown pellets to be fed to the frogs twice weekly. My son wasn’t too taken with the idea of frogs, but he thought they were cool enough and checked in on them once in a while. My husband and I named our frogs Sam and Dean after the brothers in Supernatural, and they turned out to be more interesting than expected.
The first thing we noticed was that one or both frogs were very vocal; my husband noticed them croaking one night and since then, we heard them being quite loud when they chose, especially during the evenings. As a couple of months passed, we noticed that Dean looked a bit smaller while Sammy seemed to be growing. During feedings, Sam would bully Dean and end up with both pellets. As you’d expect, this didn’t go well for Dean and he died within a couple of months. Still, we had Sam and he continued to croak away and jump around like crazy whenever we passed by his little home.
It was a blessing in disguise that Dean died, as it meant we had a lot more food for Sammy. He was always excited to get food, which is probably why he always became very jumpy and responsive when I would talk to him or go by his box, but I do like to think that he was excited to see us because he had come to like us. Maybe part of his little froggy brain understood that we were family. He definitely felt like part of the family to me, which is why I took it so hard when he passed away on Friday.
I cried like a baby when I discovered he had died, even more when my husband buried him in a matchbox in the backyard. It barely fazed my son, which is good, but it broke my heart. Yeah, he was just a little frog from a card store, but he was our pet and he was special to me. He was unique; my former coworker had a pair of frogs in her office and they never croaked or responded to people the way Sammy did. None of the frogs in Hallmark ever acted the way Sam did. I knew the end was coming (his plant and snail both died, so I had been cleaning his little aquarium out more than usual to make sure he had oxygen and clean water) but I was a little in denial about it being so soon. Just writing this is making me tear up.
Pets are important and I don’t think Sammy is any less important than our pup dog Ripley, just a lot smaller and a tad lower maintenance. I couldn’t hug him or nap beside him like I could with Ripley, but I could pet him and talk to him and love him just the same. He brought us joy, if only for a short three years. I miss him greatly and I’m glad we had him with us. I’m not going to replace him though, as I don’t feel like any of the other frogs will match his awesomeness and personality and I don’t even want to try. Thank you, Sam, for making me smile and laugh for the last three years, for making our home a bit happier, and for being a joy right until the end.