I used to have pets, cats, dogs, an occasional rabbit. Now, I have fish given to our family by a friend who thought our kids would like to have fish. The first three died, as did some sort of strange frog thing that looked like it was dead even when it was alive, so we are not sure how long it was dead before we noticed. There are two that have survived my passive attempts to kill them, so far.
You never forget a dog, because it runs to meet you when you come home, chews up everything of value in your house, poops on anything it can’t chew up, barks at nothing in the middle of the night, and generally makes a nuisance of itself to make sure you know it hasn’t died or run off. Cats are slightly less noticeable, but they show themselves just enough to remind you to feed them.
Fish cannot do anything to get your attention. The best they can do is swim wildly around their little bowl hoping some stray light will reflect off their scales and catch your eye so you remember to change the water so they can breathe. Sure, they don’t try to procreate with your legs, but you cannot sit down on the couch and scratch their heads or wrestle around with them…at least not for long…and it usually ends badly for the fish.
All you can really do with fish is stare at them, which seems to make them nervous, probably because they think you are contemplating how best to prepare them for dinner. They don’t realize the only people who actually eat tiny fish are drunk frat boys and sober junior high boys, and none of those boys do much in the way of preparation.
In any case, do we really want to teach our children to stare? How is that responsible parenting? You can always tell the people who grew up with fish, because they just stare at everyone without saying anything. That’s how having fish for pets teaches you to interact with other living things. Ok, that last statement may lack any semblance of accuracy, but that doesn’t make it any less true, and it is also a good reason for me to refuse to replace the last survivors when they cease surviving.