Wednesday, December 9, 2015

All Creatures Great and Small

We are a household of rescue pets. Our two dogs were rescued after being abandoned. We have four cats that were rescued from a local feral cat population in order to provide them with an inside home and a chance at domestic life. We also have a goldfish who is a “rescue” pet. That’s right. He was a feeder fish at the pet store, destined to provide nutrition for a predatory fish or a turtle. According to one pet store owner, a feeder fish is expected to live about two weeks. Our fish has made it ten years, so far.

Our first goldfish was one we acquired when our daughter was just a year and a half old. She named him “Pish” which was how she pronounced “fish” at the time. Pish was also a feeder fish that was a give-away at a children’s pet show put on at a neighborhood church by Ed’s Pet World. Pish made it to eight years of age, but that was before we learned that air bubbles and water filters can help make life better in a goldfish bowl.

We enjoyed Pish while he was with us, and then acquired our current goldfish, whom we just call “Fish” in the tradition of “Pish.” Contrary to what some may say about goldfish, Fish is quite interactive and aware. At night, when it is suppertime and he sees me come to the living room to sit on the sofa, he does a kind of dance at the top of the tank, wagging his tail and shaking his head to remind me that it is time to feed the fish!

Recently, my wife bought some brightly colored cut flowers and placed them in a vase by the fish tank. Fish immediately noticed, and seemed to be quite enthralled with the colorful addition to his immediate environment.   

Fish gave us a scare, or at least a heightened sense of concern, last week after I changed the water in his tank. As usual, I took him out of the small tank while I cleaned it and let him adjust in a plastic bag to the new water to be place in the tank. After the tank was ready and he was placed back in the tank, he was clearly stressed. He stayed at the bottom, keeping his fins close to his body – no interest in swimming about or eating.

My wife and daughter both said, “Fish is not happy.” I was worried. I kept asking myself if I added enough de-chlorinator to the water, and did I allow enough time for his body to adjust to any temperature changes in the fresh water? Then my daughter asked if I had any stress medicine I could give Fish. Great idea! It always helps when you can think of something to do other than worry. I checked our basket of fish supplies and found a bottle of “stress coat.” There was just enough left in the bottle to treat the tank.  We treated Fish’s tank and hoped for the best.

Happily, the next morning Fish was back to his normal self, swimming about, fins flowing, enjoying his home again. We were all greatly relieved. That little scare just served to remind us of how connected we all are, and how important all creatures are in this life, all creatures, great and small. 

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