Friday, June 25, 2010

A Fish Named Boots

No, this entry is not about shoes. It’s about a fish that defies nature. It’s about a carnival prize that won’t die.

Almost seven years ago our granddaughter Taylor “won” a goldfish at a Japanese festival. It was just a little thing, not even an inch in length. We bought one of those little glass fish bowls to keep it in. So now we had a new pet in the house to take care of. Of course we didn’t think it was going to live very long, because they never do. We didn’t want it to die of starvation though, so off to the pet store we went for fish food.

We walked in and went directly to the fish section. They have a lot of aquariums set up, with various types and shapes of fish. None of them have more than 10 to 20 fish in them. Where is our fish? We walk a little deeper into the store and find a tank with some of our fish in it. I should say we found a tank with hundreds or maybe thousands of our fish in it. It seems that our new pet is a feeder fish! I had no idea that feeder fish were actually small goldfish.  Of course there isn’t anybody in the area to help us. So we start looking at fish food. None of the pictures look like our fish. We’re looking for food for a fish that is food for other fish! We need help!

Eventually someone who looked like an employee showed up. She showed us what to buy. Our granddaughter Taylor, named the fish “Boots.” It made no sense to me either at the time. It’s Boots as in “Dora the Explorer.” Isn't that "Boots" a monkey? 

After a couple of months it became pretty clear that boots was starting to outgrow his fishbowl. So we got Boots some new digs. It was a one gallon Sponge-Bob Square Pants themed mini-aquarium. This one even had a little filter on it. It was cheap and the fish was free, so what the heck!

Cut to almost 7 years later…

Boots in now living in, and has almost outgrown a 26 gallon, big boy, “Jethro Bodine” aquarium. It’s his sixth one, each bigger and more expensive than the last. He’s about 8 inches long and about an inch wide.

He’s never been with another fish (in a biblical sense, or any other), but somehow he’s contracted the full range of fish afflictions including about every kind of parasite and bacteria known to man or fish. Did you know that fish Vets use a lot of the same antibiotics on fish that they use on humans? And did you also know that you can buy them in any pet store without benefit of a prescription? Yup! Got an ear ache, soar throat, Chlamydia, or some other STD? Why not cut out the middle man, go to directly to the pet store, and buy what you need right off the darn shelf?

Boots has received treatment after treatment and now we notice that he’s blind as a bat! Kind of hard for him to eat the medication if he can’t see it! Luckily, most of it dissolves in the water. The counter next to his aquarium has so many different medicine containers on it, that it looks like the bedside table of a hypochondriac! Does he even know that he’s sick, or alive for that matter?

All of this constant treatment has caused my wife a tremendous amount of work. She has to change out some of his water every day. I watch and I try to be supportive; I even help if she needs it… But it’s a fish! Not a butterfly fish, not a Moorish Idol, not a yellow tang, it’s not even a regular goldfish!

There’s a part of me that wants to flush the darn thing down the toilet. But I’ve been married for quite some time and I’ve learned a thing or two about having a harmonious relationship with my wife.

I don’t even want to hazard a guess as to how much money this fish has cost us. Between the medication and constant aquarium upgrades, it’s an aquarium full.

How much money do you have to spend on a 10 cent feeder fish, before it becomes an issue worthy of prolonged discussion in Psychotherapy?


  1. I'm your newest follower! I'd love for you to stop by my blog!

  2. Aw, poor fishy! Your wife sounds like a very dedicated caregiver. : ) Love the photos, as usual.

  3. Cameron - Thanks for signing on!

    Talli - That fish doesn't need any sympathy! He's still going strong! My wife is a dedicated caregiver....for animals! The human race, not so much!

  4. OMG!!!!! LMAO--Only Pat would buy the World's Oldest Goldfish.

    Do what I did to my roomates Oscar--He was big.. Get Stoned--Optional- but we were in our 20's!

    I got a very small safety pin--yes- I am going there. Tied it on with sewing thread, tied it to a little branch, put a teeny piece of Bologna on it- and Boom--Caught his ass!

    Pretty good fight for an aquarium fish-! OK
    It was funnier if you were there and Stoned....

    Fillet Mr Boots, fry him up in buttermilk soak and Flour- and assimilate all his antibiotics and immunities to natural parasites!

    Live long and prosper.

    LMAO-Jethro Bodine sized tank!!


  5. Hmm. I'm with Saint-Exupéry on this one.

    "...You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”

    And though a tamed fish will not sit or beg or lie down, if he's in your house, that's tamed enough.

  6. John - I don't think I'll be fishing for Boots anytime soon. The darn thing is probably going to out live me. Did you know that under the right circumstances, goldfish can live more than 20 years? They can also do dormant if the surface freezes? Amazing....

    altadenahiker - I don't know how tame he is, but no matter. Pets are not expendible in our house.
    Besides, my GD would be crushed...

  7. poor blind bootsy....

    yes, it was so funny when mom was going nuts over trying to fix him, but she did! i give her MAD props! (yes, i just said mad props)... it wasn't FUNNY really, but amazing how much time and money you put into something that was maybe a quarter to begin with....

    but you know mom... will go to ANY length to save an animal, and will go through ANYTHING to not have taylor hurt.... awwww mom....

    poppa, be nice to poor bootsy.

  8. Hi, there! Found your blog from another blog..I've been surfing. I too love photography blogging. What a great story about the goldfish...but I was wondering why it wasn't at your grandaugther's house? Maybe I missed something..LOL...animals do cost money...but not as much as boats....:) Maria

  9. I can answer your question Maria!! Like Ashley said above.....I (Nana) would go through anything for my granddaughter not to be hurt and if that meant, me taking care of that carnival feeder fish, for the next 20 yrs so it wouldn't die, then that's what I did!!! LOL AND, yes we go to great lengths for animals in this house!!! ;-)

  10. This is my newest reason for not letting my son not get a fish - the potential of prolonged care and the eventuality of having to find a suitable nurse, which your wife seems happy to do for now, but who knows the murderous rage that lurks beneath the surface!

  11. I taught with a guy once who had a Koy pond in the summer. Each September he would start with these tiny Koy fish and put them in an aquarium the lenght of the classroom. By the end of the year they were huge football sized carp. He trained them to follow him so anyone who walked by the tank could take the fish for a walk. Back and forth. All day long.

    I made the mistake of getting attached to one. He was the one who a few days after being moved to the big farm's koy pond, jumped too high for joy and landed on the grass. He was unable to get back into the pond. Good thing I didn't see him after the cats had gotten to him. I hear it was gruesome. Everyone told me he was suicidal but I knew that fish. I loved that fish. I miss that fish. I will never ever have another fish. Mr Sprinkles was the best Koy fish ever.

  12. At least it wasn't a catfish, they can live over 100 and never stop growing.
    Now some carp (which goldfish and koi are) can live 40 or 50 years or maybe longer.
    I had one of those little green turtles that loved to eat goldfish.

  13. Ashley - She really did put some effort into "saving" him. The lady has a lot of heart...
    I am nice to Boots. The guy has some staying power, that's for sure.

    Maria - see buymebarbies comment.
    thanks for reading and commenting!

    BMB - The fact that he still lives is a testament to your hard work, my dear...

    Jhon - Who knew a goldfish could be an expensive fish to keep. As to what lurks beneath the surface, I'm now afraid!!!

    Cal - That's a good story! I never thought I could get attached to a fish (still not sure). I was amazed to find out that Koi and ornamental gold fish can live in ponds that are frozen over for winter with no ill effect...amazing!
    Mr. Sprinkles.....

    Drake - I think "boots" is going to live for a lot longer. I'm glade he's not a catfish. But then again, catfish are good eating!

  14. I honestly didn't know that AGE--but I know some Koi live really really long yes?


  15. Oh my gosh! We have the same situation here! We have a carnival fish that just keeps going and going. We have spent hundreds of dollars on filters, etc and our college boy makes it clear that our job is to keep his fish alive!

  16. Wonderful shots. I often read the text on my BlackBerry and don't get back to see the pix (which is a shame).

  17. My baby sister won a fish at the fair when she was three years old. I told my mom we should flush it because it would be dead in a week, but she ended up purchasing a little tank for it. The rest played out exactly like your above described story. "Goldie" died when my sister was 12 (nine years later) and was a total of 9" long and 1" wide. When she died my sister put her in a box and buried her in our yard. Lol. Those things are resiliant!

  18. John - Yup, if the conditions are right up to 25 or 30 years! Amazing...

    BB - I have no idea how much we've spent, but it's a lot of moolah!

    tapirgal - thanks! I just got an internet compatible phone myself.

    Cake Betch - first off, Great name!
    Thanks for reading and following. I appreciate it. I'm feeling pretty darn flattered. You only follow about 5 or 6 folks, and two of them are "The Sassy Curmudgeon" and "Hyperbole and a Half." They are two of the absolute BEST blogs ever! If you start a blog, let me know!!!


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