I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to say I saved the life of a fish – twice. Three years ago I rescued a tank of fish from someone who had lost interest in them. The immediate future of the fish was bleak. The tank had grown so filthy you could barely see into it. I picked up the tank and fish the night I heard about them and all of the fish survived. I had become the proud new parent of a few lovely rescued goldfish. I have always had the same set up in the tank – some plants, decorations, and rocks at the bottom. Simple and safe – or so I thought. Earlier this week I was working at my desk, where the tank sits directly behind me. I happened to turn and look, and saw one of the fish (Butters) upside down on the bottom of the tank, but clearly still alive. I thought that after a few years, one of my fish was passing on to fish heaven. But then I noticed his mouth was open and he was occasionally thrashing his head. When I took a closer look, I realized Butters had a rock stuck all the way in his mouth that he wasn’t able to dislodge.
I couldn’t figure out what to do, so I called my 15-year-old human son down to help me. He suggested I get tweezers and try to remove the rock. I figured it was my only shot to save the fish, so as Shawn gently held Butters I would attempt to remove the rock. It wasn’t easy and took about a half dozen tries because the rock was so large and I was afraid of injuring his mouth in the process. Finally, the rock came out! We let Butters go, and he immediately went back to swimming and being the same fast-racing fish he always was, as if nothing had happened. That night, their tank got a facelift and all new, very large rocks were added to the tank once I removed the smaller ones. If you have a fish tank, please consider doing the same. I never thought one of the smaller rocks could fit into his mouth, but it turns out the real challenge wasn’t getting it into his mouth, it was getting it out. Right now, Butters is perfectly fine, awaiting his next meal to magically appear on the top of the water.