Frog was a good frog. (S)he never complained, unless you interpreted that plaintive high-pitched hiss that sometimes emanated from the depths of the neon-rock-filled tank as a call of dissatisfaction. Frog required such infrequent care that I often forgot (s)he even existed, and thus when listing family members I often left Frog's name off the list. But (s)he never protested.
Frog arrived in early 2001. The simplicity of a pet like Frog was appealing to single, twenty-something me. I also had a cat. And though Frog was unlikely to provide significant companionship for either myself or my cat, a frog seemed a more exotic pet than, say, a goldfish- if you were willing to overlook the fact that Frog was purchased at Target.
Having an amphibian as a pet is a pretty thankless hobby. Frogs don't lick your hand, or snuggle in bed, or provide home security, or clean up crumbs off the floor for you, or act as an alarm clock, or even do much of anything except hide in the darkest area of the tank, wiggling up to the surface from time to time for a gulp of air or two, or for one of the mysterious tiny brown nuggets of frog food you've tossed in there every day or so. But Frog had sass - never needing affirmation or approval from anyone. Frog was too cool for that.
At some point late in the evening of August 3, or very early in the morning of August 4, 2008, Frog leapt from the watery depths of his/her tank and into the airy wonderland of our kitchen. After that, it's a mystery what became of Frog. My guess is that Frog found the darkest place (s)he could to hide but at some point, lacking hydration, expired there. My husband's guess is that our poodle caught sight of Frog and saw not a brother or sister, but an easy snack.
We'll never know why, after more than seven years, Frog chose this moment to escape his/her safe, if boring, existence. Perhaps Frog saw us packing for the beach and wanted to go too. Or, Frog decided that the quiet solitude of tank life was no longer suitable for his/her needs. Maybe Frog wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, like Thelma and Louise. But I'd like to think that Frog sought out independence, adventure, self-determination, and control of his/her own destiny. Don't we all want that, ultimately?
It was the end of an era in our household. Looking back, I realize Frog pre-dated so many important things: the death of my cat, our marriage, the arrival of many dogs, and the purchase of our home. We'll always remember Frog as a loyal, if dull, part of our family we were privileged to forget about for the better part of a decade.
We made a monument to Frog in one of our gardens out back using two largish blue stones from the tank. If my husband is right, I suspect that our poodle memorialized Frog in his own way, on our neighbor's yard.
Rest in peace, Frog.
Dana is a serial animal collector, writer, and yoga teacher in Richmond Virginia. Currently, she has one husband and one terrier and no plans to expand her family.