I Accidentally Killed the Family Pet (Two Letters of Apology)

I am a pet killer.

It happened a few weeks ago, and the situation is equally humorous and sad. I think the best way to tell the story is in the form of apology letters because I am truly sorry to all parties involved.

Apology Letter #1

Dear War Machine,

I’m writing to you first because, well, I killed you. Even though it was an accident, I still feel this need to be said. I’m sorry I cleaned your tank without doing the research first. I was so excited about sprucing up the place, adding in new pebbles and plants, that I didn’t consider much else. Yes, I put in the tank conditioner, but I didn’t think about your needs — the needs of a sea snail.

All I cared about was the squeaky clean look of the fish tank. The fact that it was a barren wasteland with no food didn’t cross my mind until it was too late. I’m sorry I didn’t do the proper research every responsible pet owner should do and look up what sea snails actually need to eat (besides the gunk on the side of the fish tank…which I had cleaned off). I should have known to buy you algae wafers. I should have seen the signs of starvation when you moved even slower, and then not at all.

Lastly, I’m sorry you didn’t get a proper burial in our backyard. It was rainy and muddy and you were so stinky the trashcan made sense at the time. The little boy who picked you out misses you so much and accidentally calls his new snail “War Machine” all the time. I will forever live with this guilt.


Your Ignorant Snail Owner

Apology Letter #2

Dear Son,

I’m sorry I killed your pet snail. I remember the day we picked him out. We went to the pet store looking for a solution for our gunky tank. The pet store worked suggested a snail or two, which overjoyed you. We looked at all the sea snails, but it didn’t take you long to pick one out. You chose the tiniest little snail in the tank — so small I thought we would actually need two to get the job done.

While we walked to the car, I asked you what you wanted to name him. You chose War Machine. We put him in the tank as soon as we got home and watched him glide along the pebbles. It was so fun to watch you watching the snail. Everyday it was like a game — where’s the snail hiding today?

When we picked out new pebbles and plants for the fish tank, you couldn’t wait for me to set it up. We knew the fish and snail would love it! I’m so sorry I didn’t do the research. I’m sorry the snail ended up dying a week later. I’m sorry I lied to you and told you he was playing hide and seek. You knew better.

I finally told you it was my fault War Machine died, and you weren’t even upset with me. You just said, “that’s OK, Mommy. It was an accident.” You have no clue how much that response touched me and hurt my heart, all at the same time. The mom guilt is real, and I hope I get over it as fast as you did.


Mommy AKA the Pet Killer

Jaime Mackey
Originally from Florida, Jaime has lived in Southern Louisiana for most of her life (so, that makes her a local, right?). She currently resides on the Northshore with her husband and son and teaches high school English. An enneagram 5, you'll most likely find her doing hot yoga solo, on her phone researching a random topic or sitting in the comfort of her home with coffee and a book within an arm's reach.


  1. I accidentally killed my daughters dog (child). She now considers me dead and no longer in her life. I’m terminally I’ll with Cancer and never ever wanted my life nor hers to end like this,. I’ve done everything humanly possible to make amends and take responsibility, even though it wasn’t entirely my fault. It was an accident. I guess that that’s just the way life and death interface.


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