Overboard? Sure, why not?

Published 9:54 pm Monday, December 15, 2008

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m one of those people who has to have pets, even though my apartment lease strictly forbids them.

However, I don’t really consider a gerbil and four goldfish “pets.” Apparently, neither does my rental company, because they know full well about the animals, and I haven’t been kicked out yet.

My gerbil, Marble, has the best of everything. She gets as many chew toys as she needs, the best food, bottled water, and a weekly dust bath. She even gets cheese, crackers, vegetables and fruit from my “human food.” Whenever I pick up food for the office, the cardboard drink carrier is torn to shreds over the course of the next few days by the furry little creature.

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However, the real insanity of recent days has been my goldfish.

My four goldfish, Creamsicle, Chocolate, Reese’s and Tiger, live in a lovely tank in my living room. Creamsicle is the oldest at about a year and a half, and Tiger is the youngest – about a year old this month. Creamsicle, Reese’s and Tiger are fantails, which are beautiful goldfish with elegant double tails. Chocolate is a black moor, which is a kind of fantail. However, black moors are bred to be a velvety black color, and have “telescope eyes.” Their eyesight is not great, and they tend to be slower and lazier than ordinary fantails.

Recently, I began to notice Chocolate’s telescope eyes were getting a little too “telescopey.” Many who have had pet fish can probably relate – he was getting a disease called “pop-eye,” where a bubble develops under the fish’s eye and it pops out from their body.

Therefore, on my last day off, I headed to PetSmart to see if they had the medication I needed. After plenty of complaining about the price of medication for a fish that’s nearly a year and a half old, of course I purchased it anyway.

The stuff smells terrible. Every morning last week, I gagged as I poured little silver packets of powder into the water after removing the carbon filter (also not a great-smelling piece of a fish tank). All the while, I was hand-feeding (yes, hand-feeding) Chocolate at the bottom of the tank, because he couldn’t or wouldn’t swim to the top.

A little overboard, yes, I admit. However, I am happy to report Chocolate is looking more lively, and hopefully he and the others will live for many more years.