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Part of the the frogs' appeal, of course, was that they could be abandoned. They didn't have to be walked or brushed or dragged to the vet for checkups and flea baths and shots. They didn’t even have to be fed every day; just twice a week. And if you forgot to feed them? No problem! "Frogs require very little food and can survive for up to ten days without feeding," said the little pamphlet that came with them. And we know this for a fact because the frogs did survive ten days without food last summer. My daughter moved her entire family and all their things but forgot to take the frogs.
A dog, if I had given one as a gift instead, would never would have allowed this to happen.
The frogs, since that misadventure, have lived with me. Now they sit on my kitchen counter, in their miniature Plexiglas eco-aquarium, which is not exactly maintenance-free. I’ve had to clean it (think Nemo and the dirty fish tank) because some days, I cannot see the frogs. This, however, may be due to the fact that sometimes I feed the frogs more than the booklet says I should.
Some facts about feeding these frogs: They eat pellets that are the size of the dot over this letter "i." The dot a pencil tip makes is bigger than their meal. An entire year’s supply of food for the two of them fills just a tablespoon. They are allowed only two pellets each two times a week. I feed them on Tuesday and Friday. I drop the pellets into their water and they spring from the bottom of their tank and race for the food, almost knocking each other out because they’re so desperate to eat. "Do not overfeed the animals," the booklet states. But sometimes I do.
Someday I am going to walk into the kitchen and one or both of them will be floating instead of swimming. Why I dread this, I don’t know.
The only thing I know for certain is that this year, for my grandson's birthday, I am steering clear of living things and getting him something he has to plug in.
Tell us! Did you ever buy a pet for your grandchildren? What was it? Was it well received? Respond in the Comments area below.
Image: Jennifer Murawski / via Flickr
Read more from Beverly Beckham, including her story of the time she desperately wanted a dog on Grandparents.com.