Thursday, October 14, 2010

Story of a Fish

It's time to introduce you to the other "member" of the family.

Everyone, this is Rosy.

She's a goldfish.

She's the only pet this family has ever had.

Nope. Scratch that.

She's the only pet we've had that survived more than 3 days.

Living in apartments, pets weren't really an option. At least fluffy, cuddly, shedding pets weren't an option. Fish, on the other hand...well, does anyone actually even count them?

When Bug turned six years old, we decided it was finally time to introduce him to the concept of responsibility and all that stuff that is supposed to come along with owning a pet. So we got a tank, a filter, gavel, a fake plant, a whole bunch of chemicals, and such. Then we set out to get a fish.

We first tried a national pet store chain. There, we were told that we would have to bring in a sample of our water, and they would test whether it was conducive to aquatic life forms. Apparently, we failed this test, because they refused to sell us a fish. Seriously? It's a fish.

So, we turned to our good old fall-back, Wal-Mart, who has no apparent scruples about who they sell fish to. We purchased a couple of cheap goldfish and took them home.

Well, it turns out there may have been something to that failed water test. Despite our best efforts, all fish were dead in two days.

We were not to be discouraged and went back to Wal-Mart. They, no joke, have a fish exchange policy, that if your fish dies in the first several days, they will exchange it for another one. Free. I can't remember if we had to produce the dead fish for evidence or not. But we left with new set of gold fish.

Same result.

We decided to change technique. We got a different type of fish.

Same result.

We had no idea why. We were obsessive about checking the water temperature, about testing the balance of the water with little chemical strips. We had combed in the Internet for solutions. We remained clueless.

But this time, Bug was discouraged and sad. He said we weren't meant to have pets. I wasn't keen on trying again, since I would look at those little fish and just think about how they were coming to the house of death. We were fish killers.

We decided to try one last time. We made a couple modifications, purchased a few new things, and then went to the store one more time.

We got a beautiful tiny fantail goldfish that Bug named Rosy.

She did, well, swimmingly (sorry, couldn't help it).

She made it through the first week, and then the first month, and then three months!

At three months, she got horribly sick. Her fins were all stuck together, she would stay at the top of her tank gulping air, she moved sluggishly.

I did more reading, calls to the pet store, and treated her.

She survived.

Now, she's two years and three months old. She's survived two illnesses, two boys, and a 1200 mile move.

The average life expectancy of a gold fish is 3 years. (Yes, some can live much longer, but most don't.)

Every time she acts funny, we're convinced that she's about to go belly-up. During her last illness, Bug and Monkey were in tears as I explained that Rosy was an old goldfish, and we would take good care of her, but she might not make it.

She did just fine. She's an old fish, but she's hanging in there.

Yes, she's a fish. We can't cuddle, pet, or hold her. As far are pets go, who really counts fish?

We do.


  1. I think Rosy is lovely, and of course she counts!

  2. Yes, I know, fish ARE certainly pets especially do the little ones that love them. Here's hoping Rosy lives out her full like. You all sure have taken good care of her :)

  3. We have tried the gold fish thing a few times.....they all die on us. But I have to ask.......HOW do you doctor a SICK fish? Really. I want to know. I am seeing visions of What About Bob? reading this! Thanks for posting it!