The unthinkable had happened, Swimmy had jumped from her tank.
Just a couple of weeks prior, our family had gone on our annual ski vacation to Utah. Our farm menagerie, usually cared for by a pet sitter was this time divvied up among several parties. Two dogs and a cat went for boarding at the vet, one dog to my parents, and someone came onto the farm to care for the horses. This left our two eight year old goldfish fending for themselves. Extensive research went into the best way to “care” for them while being away. As a kid, I remember my parents plopping in weekend feeders to our fish. This gave off a “slow release” of food whenever we needed to go away. However when exploring this option, I found that is was not feasible for goldfish as too much food may get released all at once killing them. I had spent eight years keeping these goldfish alive, I wasn’t about to lose them that easily. A ” fish expert” at the local pet store told me my best option was to feed the fish very well the day we left and the day we returned and all would be well. This seemed like the very best option as we were only going to be gone a total of four days. My well fed, very spoiled fish would only miss two meals.
Upon entering the house fresh from our vacation, the smell is what hit us first. As I approached the fish tank to eagerly feed my aquatic friends, I noticed only Swimmy circling wildly. Where was Bobby? I dashed to the other side of the counter and quickly found the source of the smell. Bobby lay motionless, stuck to the floor. My first thought was that our cat Oscar had scooped him out of the tank until I remembered that he was a the vet. Bobby had apparently jumped. I was heartbroken. The kids, well, considering, this was THEIR fish, took the news in stride.
Swimmy had lived her entire life with Bobby and now you could see the obvious sadness his absence brought. She no longer chose to swim around happily, but instead hung in a corner. This went on for a couple of weeks. One day when returning from a morning ride I found her tank empty. I ran to the other side of counter where there lay Swimmy motionless. I cried out loud. I picked up her limp body. She showed no signs of life. The fall would have been over four feet with an impact to a tile floor. Her eyes were sunken in and there was no sign of breath. Through tears I started chest compressions begging her to come back! Nothing. I placed her back into the tank and watched her lifeless body float to the top. I reached into the tank and worked her body back and forth, trying to get water through her gills. I felt her squirm in my hand! And then in true miracle fashion she swam away.
Swimmy will celebrate her 10th birthday with us in July. ( And yes, her tank now sports a top )