Wednesday, January 16, 2008

RIP-Old Town Otis

Almost a month ago, I rescued a betta from the pet store. I (thought that I'd) carefully planned the entire day out. I went to Target and found a GREAT bowl and glass rocks. Then off to Petsmart to look for the perfect fish.

I'll be honest, they all looked a little sickly, but I found a male betta with beautiful fins and a spunky attitude. The poor guy tending to them almost had a heart attack; it was a little early, and I guess he was dumping the ones that had died overnight. He looked very nervous that I was back there asking questions about which were male v/s female, and were all the fish labeled correctly as crowntails v/s standard bettas, etc. I was just curious, and I ALWAYS took pride when I worked at a pet store in KNOWING the animals and their "quirks".

To be clear-a betta is NOT a goldfish. They are much more complicated than you'd think. I wasn't prepared!

I picked out my betta, got some food, bought some water conditioner/stress-free and went to the counter to take him home! I was sooo happy, I sang all the way home; Otis sitting in the cup holder in between the seats. I drove extra careful, so that I didn't slosh water around or stress him out anymore than his poor little life had already been through.

I got home, washed the bowl and rocks, and sat it in front of a heater to warm the cold water faster. I added the water conditioner and waited until I could put Otis in the new home to stretch his fins. After about 1 hour, I figured the water was about the same temperature. I slowly dumped the dirty water from the cup Otis was in, until there was only enough for his little body, then I introduced him to his new home.

He swam feverishly around, checking everything from the rim of the water to the rocks on the bottom. I added a few food pellets, which he quickly gobbled up. I was in heaven!!! I couldn't wait for Wayne to get home from bowling to "scare" him! So when I heard his truck, I met him outside, giddy.

"Honey, please don't be angry. I just couldn't help it!!!"
Wayne looked scared....
"I was driving by the pet store, and I just couldn't help it."
*now, around Christmas, there are always people out there giving away free puppies or kittens, and this year had been no exception*
"Please don't be mad, but he's sooo cute, and I named him Otis. The cats love him, the dogs love him. I got him all set up; he's happy!"
Wayne looks a little angry, but I'm not backing down (didn't even crack a grin)-I was tooo proud of myself!

He hesitantly comes upstairs with me.....I can't giggle, not yet! I open the door and quickly close it, as if a puppy or kitten might run outside. He comes in and begins inspecting the house for animals. :) He never even notices the bowl on the bar! DUH-heheheeee I introduce him to Otis! He breathes a sigh of relief.....

Over the next few weeks, I am diligent about O's upkeep. Feed him every day at the same time; turn the light on when needed, off at night; change water as needed; scoop out uneaten food, etc. Well, 3 or 4 days ago, while I am in the midst of a chronic sinus infection, I notice that Otis isn't eating. Maybe his water is too cold-must get out to buy a thermometer! The next morning, I notice little white spots on him-CRAP, he's got ick/ich! I have to get out to get supplies!

I get online to look up the best/proper care for bettas with ick, and OH MY GOD! Someone please tell me, I am the MOST anal person when it comes to researching things. WHY WHY WHY???!!??? I had, only a week before, found some cool shells, cleaned them up REALLY good, and made a little "hiding" spot for Otis. He seemed to love it. Did you know that sea shells constantly release toxins (in small amounts) into the water? CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To make a long story short, and keep me from crying more than I have (don't laugh!), I found Otis, this morning, laying on the bottom of his bowl. The treatments didn't help. I killed my fish with ignorance! I did not prepare myself the way that I should have! His color had come back, he'd gotten spunkier, still not eating like normal, but I thought we were on the road to recovery. Bless his little heart, I am a horrible fish owner!

Please, DO YOUR RESEARCH-COMPLETELY, ahead of time! Have a first aid kit for any animals that you bring home, BEFORE you bring them home! In the 2 days that I'd discovered things and actually been able to do something, well, that could have been the critical time that would have saved my poor Otis.

Ciao***
Gigi

3 comments:

Jim said...

*hug*

My condolences Gigi. But, I must say, you did so much better than I did. I once owned one - for about 6 hours. I have an online friend now who is an expert on fish and corals. Contact her if you like!
http://www.tippytoex.com/

Jennifer said...

I am sorry about your fish. At least it got to live a longer life than it would have in the pet store with the other dead fish.

Senor Granto said...

How tragic, that's why i stick with cats.