Thursday, May 26, 2011

We Love You Bob

As you may know, Harris received a beautiful Betta fish for his birthday from a good friend back in December. We knew he liked Bob, he would say hi from time to time, and Stella would say hi to him every day as well. We enjoyed caring for him, with his lively personality and flashy fins. We made sure he was well fed and that his 1 gallon bowl was clean. That was my main job. Every week, I would do a bowl clean. It was pretty easy to tell when it was time to clean it, and I enjoyed the job.

1 week, it was bowl cleaning time (on the calendar) but the water didn't look especially dirty. I decided to wait a few days. It was sunny outside. We did some gardening, and enjoyed our time outdoors. Little did we know that the combination of a few warm days outside, resulting in a warm house, coupled with a delayed water change would result in something so terrible. Bob became sick. He was bloated and constipated. His fins looked less-than perky. After about a day, he wasn't swimming so straight. Mindi jumped online to try to figure out what was wrong with our fish. We were able to pretty much self diagnosis him with Dropsy, a bacterial infection directly linked to water quality. You can imagine I am pretty much flogging myself emotionally right now. How could I have been so lazy? How could I have been so inconsiderate? This little fish was depending on me for a healthy living environment! I am a Pisces... can you tell? We knew we had to do something to help Bob or he would die. I went to PetCo to try to find a fish medicine. I came home with a heater for his bowl after realizing that his ambient temperature was far to low for a Betta (on average 67, while the optimal temperature for a Betta is 78), and a bottle of medication that I thought would help him. A day passed and he looked worse. I did more online research, and then rushed him to the PetSmart. The fish lady examined him and offered me the right kind of medication. She was optimistic, and so we were as well. We treated him for the full recommended week. He did look better, but not even close to healthy. I started another round of medication. Today was the last round of week 2. He looked horrible, It seemed as though his Dropsy was cured, but his belly was all distended because, believe it or not, he was constipated. We researched how to relive that and had no luck with the recommended treatments. I realized that the chance of a cure was slim. I knew it was time to help him in a different way. He was suffering. I am sure that there may be some folks out there that are half-chuckling with the thought that fish don't have feelings. Think what you want people. They can feel pain. I digress. I did some more research. Research on the most humane way to euthanize a fish. I found a wealth of amazing and thought provoking information. We chose this method, rated the second most human method of euthanization second only to the anesthetics that only vets use. I did the legwork to prepare the scene. I asked Mindi to do it for me, and I left the house like a coward. I cried on the way to the grocery store. I whimpered to the nice checkout lady who "felt my pain", and I nearly fainted on my way back to the car. Bob is no longer in pain. Taking a life is profound, even if it is "just a fish". We love you Bob.

If any of you ever find yourself in a similar situation, in that you feel that your fish would be better off not suffering, please follow the links above. On a quick side note, do NOT EVER flush a live fish, freeze a live fish, crush a live fish, or boil a live fish. That is inhumane.

I hope that you all give your pets an extra belly rub or scratch behind the ears tonight. Tap the tank and tell them that you love them, or give them a bubble making scuba diver to keep them company. We talked with Harris about it tonight and we will all bury Bob together in the morning.


  1. Thank you for sharing that link! I will absolutely follow those guidelines should we ever be in a similar situation!

    Sorry about your loss :(

  2. Poor Bob! We have had a very similar issue with our Beta Liberace, I used vodka per the fish store.
    i never heard clove oil but will certainly keep that in mind for future. Thanks for sharing. Don't beat yourself up too much. Bob had a wonderful life :)

  3. I'm a pisces too, and I completely relate to you not wanting to put any animal (no matter how small) through undue pain. I'm so glad you had Mindy to help you euthanize him, and I will totally follow that link if we ever have to do the same thing.

  4. As your *animal loving, crazy advocate for humane methods in all care, and fan of the gift of a dignified peaceful death* friend, I am profoundly proud!! Also, *thank you * thank you * thank you* for talking to the kids about it rather than getting a "replacement" or vaguely saying he went to a "better place." Kudos!!!

  5. Awww. I'm sorry. That is hard.


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