It’s always sad when we lose a pet, particularly one we’ve had for a while. But death isn’t always a sad event–especially when the creature in question has lived a long, productive, and happy life.
And that’s the case today.
Ghillie joined my reef in early 2011, when he was just under six months old. He adored my adult seahorse, Cygnus–then the dominant male in the tank–and followed him everywhere.
Monkey-see, monkey-do was the rule of the day.
Ghillie grew quickly, and made some unusual friends along the way. We introduced a baby clownfish (my teenage son named it, “Emo”) on a probationary basis, knowing that clownfish rarely tolerate other creatures near their hosts. Ghillie and Emo developed a friendship that lasted the rest of Ghillie’s life–and to the end, Ghillie was allowed to hitch inside the anthelia Emo considered home:
Ghillie even got along with Emperor Maximus Angryfish I, our watchman goby.
Eventually, Ghillie found a mate. He bonded with Ceti and the two became inseparable.
Which led to Ghillie becoming a father:
Ceti died in September 2014. Both she and Ghillie seemed to know it was coming. The night she died, they hitched together on a coral at the bottom of the tank, and stayed there, facing each other, for several hours:
When I returned from dinner, she had died–but Ghillie stayed with her to the end.
Last December, I introduced a group of young seahorses to the reef. Ghillie accepted them instantly. He taught them to eat from a feeding bowl, and never objected when they followed him around and hitched to his body.
He seemed to enjoy being a “dad.”
One of the babies (little Magellan) was smaller than the others, due to a physical issue. Ghillie appointed himself Magellan’s protector-in-chief.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed Ghillie slowing down. He’s wanted to spend more time by himself, and though he ate well and was healthy all the way to the end, it seems four years and six months was all the time allotted for him to share with me–and for me to share him with the rest of the world.
Last night, Ghillie died in his sleep. He did not suffer, and I don’t think he would want any mourning. Instead, I’m posting these photos as a celebration of his life as all the things any seahorse would want to be: a loving friend, a father, and a “wee swimming beastie” that brought much joy to many people.
Good night, sweet prince, and goodbye.