Saturday, February 05, 2005

Po is at Death's Door

A couple of months ago, F and I bought four goldfish. We asked at the pet shop how many fish could fit in the container we'd bought. The girl told us two. Knowing better than her, we put in four. We kept looking at the fish tanks at all the stores and the fish are packed in...yes, like sardines. It turns out that it was a little crowded in our perfect little cylinder of a fish bowl.

F said that it was silly to name them, as they are fish and he sees them as decoration. So I thought silly names would be good. I named them Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Lala and Po - after the Teletubbies. Tinky-Winky was upside down at the top of the bowl pretty quickly. Then the day I took him out, I noticed that Dispy and Lala were sort of picking on Po. So I took Po out and gave him his own bowl. F came home and suggested we get a second bowl and another fish.

We got another fish and I hoped that Po and the new fish would get along. Turns out that they were fast friends. I decided to call the new fish Simone, after a woman who works with F who met a woman and was "best friends" about a week later. It was appropriate.

So Dipsy and Lala have their bowl and their habits. They are aggressive and sort of feisty. And Po and Simone just swim around and enjoy each other's company. Po has been getting these black spots for a few weeks, which I thought were mold or fungus, but which F attributed to "fish changing colors."

Then Po got a black gill. It didn't look good, but number one, what can you do for a fish? Clean water, enough to eat, done. And two, he's had a good life. At least under my care, he's been fed and provided with a clean bowl - plus as much "fish love" as I can give. I thought I'd be okay when he died, but he's taking so long that it's making me a little sad. He lays still and then he jerks and swims for a few seconds and then he lays again. Simone is frantic, she keeps nipping at him. I don't know if she is sad (in a fish way) or if she thinks he's now food. Could fish have any concept that they had company, but the company is now dying? I think their memory is pretty limited to what happened like a minute ago.

I can't decide what to do in terms of euthenasia. I think if I took him out and laid him on a papertowel, he wouldn't last long. F suggested cutting off his head because letting him suffocate seems cruel. I don't think he'll last the night. I'll take him out when he's floating on the top. I'm not good at euthenizing. It's exasperating!

We're having tuna for dinner tonight.

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