So Long Old Friend... We Hardly Knew Ye!

Farewell Sal!

Christopher caught Sal the Salamander last summer at his friend Paul's house. The kids waded in the brook behind Paul's house, caught the little salamanders and tossed them in to the kiddie pool. Patrick, another friend, Rebecca and Christopher wanted to bring theirs home. The salamanders were placed in Dixie cups and brought to their new homes. Once we got home Rebecca insisted on transfering hers herself. I warned her not to as I didn't want the slimy amphibian slithering out and onto the floor scurrying under the sink. But typical of her impatient self she insisted on doing going ahead without me. Her hand, not as steady as mine, slipped and out came Mandy... into the sink and then ... down the drain ... and into the disposal! "MOMMEEE! MOMMEEE!" She shrieked. I knew that was going to happen but she wouldn't listen and she wouldn't wait. After the initial tears, we did chuckle about it.

Christopher, my patient child did wait for me to transfer his pet Sal into a temporary home. We gave it a rock and I added some stress coat that we had on hand for our fish to dechlorinate the water. Sal seemed so happy in his new home and surroundings. Don came home that night and insisted that Sal have a proper home and went to the pet supply store to buy a tank fit for the persnickitiest amphibian. We put his rocks in there so he would feel at home and fed him salamander food. Sal's new home was next to the fish tank on the kitchen counter. He loved to flirt with them and they with him. Our pets were happy. We took good care of them and enjoyed them. We cleaned his water regularly and marveled that he lasted as long as he did. On Tuesday we came home from school and noticed that Sal was very still. He gets still from time to time and a gentle knock on his cage will wake him up, sending swimming up and down his home like a little fish. He would always cock his head and look at us with a little smile as if to say, "Hey, I'm OK. I was just taking a little siesta!" But he did not wake from his siesta yesterday. Poor sweet Sal... Oh how you are missed!

We often read The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer about a little boy who decides to keep a salamander as his pet. The story unfolds as he answers all his mothers questions... Where will he live? Where will he sleep? What will he eat? What will he play with? It is a favorite of all of ours -- beautifully told with stunning illustrations that capture the eye and the reader completely.