Today, I have a sad story to tell, the story of Dopey, the black moore goldfish.
On Tuesday, dad FOD went to New York for work. When he arrived at the hotel, they put a goldfish in his room. He was a black moore, about the size of a pingpong ball, but twice as long, and far larger than a small bowl could really contain comfortably. He was listing to the side, the clear victim of swim bladder disorder, which can be caused by poor water quality and over-feeding, or feeding of poor-quality foods. Dad FOD, with his good heart, didn’t want to see Dopey suffer, being passed around from room to room, as a decoration. So, with some co-ordination from mom FOD, he air-mailed Dopey home, back to Chicago, hoping to give him a good life. The hotel staff, when dad FOD asked permission, said “Are you sure you don’t want a new one? This one doesn’t look so good.” But that was the whole point, wasn’t it?
When Dopey arrived, mom FOD put him in a little 3-gallon emergency tank, with sand, rocks, a small buddha statue, and some soft plants. The hope was to buy him a large tank, 10 gallons at least, and make him a happy, permanent home. But Dopey was still tipped over, unable to swim properly, struggling as he tried to touch the sand and the plants and all the things he’d probably never seen before. Mom FOD fed him shelled peas, soaked in garlic, hoping to clear any blockages. The next day, Dopey was sicker. He had a cottony growth on his mouth. She treated him with some salt and some antibiotics, to make sure he was free of bacteria. And then he got sicker. And then, three days later, despite all their best efforts, Dopey died. And my FODs, crying, buried him under the little tree in the pot on our patio. It was dad FOD’s birthday, too, but mom FOD said that even though it was sad, at least once a year, we would always remember Dopey and the way he touched our hearts.
Please don’t support places that pass fish around as though they are decorations. Please let people know that these animals need real homes, where they can swim, and rest, and not be stressed to the point of illness. It’s not fair, and just like cats and dogs, fish deserve a fair chance at life.
Rest in peace, dear little friend.