When Logan was a toddler, one of his favorite pastimes was playing in the shallow water of a pond in the backyard of Brian and Kelly’s neighbor, Ed Plaspohl. After months of trying to catch one of the many small, slippery tadpoles in the pond, Logan decided he wanted to try for an animal that is easier to catch. So Ed helped Logan catch a toad.

It was Logan’s first pet, but unfortunately, Logan didn’t have the toad for very long. Brian picks up the story in Chapter 10, “Mr. Plaspohl’s Tadpoles.”

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When you’re 2 or 3 years old, it’s that simple. A toad isn’t any different from a dog or cat. You keep it in the house, it eats from its food bowl, and it keeps you company and lives to a ripe old age. But when you grow up, you learn that wild
animals sometimes don’t make the best adjustment to captivity. Logan’s toad was no exception. It died a few hours later.

The loss of a pet is often a child’s first experience with death. Though Logan experienced the loss of his sister at a very young age, this was the first time death became something concrete to him, something he could see and feel. Predictably, Logan was crushed. With the tears still streaming down his face, he
wanted to call Ed and tell him. So we called him and let Logan
share the bad news.

“Mr. Plaspohl, my toad died.”

“I’m really sorry,” Ed replied. “But I think that toad was happy that he had a friend like you who wanted to take care of him. Sometimes toads just die.”

It wasn’t pleasant, but Logan discovered something about the world around him that day. He developed a new appreciation for the fragility of life and a new sense of awareness about the world around him.

And I think that’s a major part of life: learning to appreciate what you have today and what you might not have tomorrow.