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July 12, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

My First Betta Fish

By Colleen Hammer More Blogs by This Author

When I was eighteen, I was fascinated by a betta fish. I know, I know; you're probably going to say I'm weird. (I'll admit to that.) My roommate was given a fish as a welcoming present to her sorority, and I soon took a liking to the fish. It kept me less lonely in the dorm room, and when she was in class I'd talk to it.

Stop right there, I know I totally sound crazy now. But haven't you ever communicated with a pet before? Shared your personal thoughts? Bared your soul? I think the fact that the betta fish couldn't reply back to me was the plus, because I had been seeking a listener. Not a communicator.

Over time, this fish soon became a friend to me. But I noticed my roommate wasn't taking care of the fish, so I opted to ask her if she was going to take it home for the Christmas vacation. She said no, and thus, the fish became mine and was nicknamed Flips.

One Fish, Two Fish...

Sometimes what seems like a great idea turns into a sour one. My family decided to buy more fish, ultimately creating more mouths to feed. This was the best and worst decision, due to how over time my parents struggled to take care of the fish.

Cleaning fish tanks can be a pain, and any pet owner will know this. Even if you are cleaning cat litter, you will regret the moment you have to do it. We all wish animals only ate, and did not digest the food. When the food is expelled, it doesn't look pretty. Naturally, what turned into a cute fish that I loved was swimming around with stringy poop hanging from its body. Gross!

So naturally, I started wondering if I could ever handle a pet. If I couldn't be there when the tank was being cleaned, then how could I call myself an owner of the pet? That was when I started being around my parents when they cleaned the tank. I had to see the best and worst parts of a pet. Even the gross parts. After all, we humans are equally attractive and disgusting. So why can't pets be, too?

Pets Are Like First Loves?

You ever have that moment where you couldn't remember why you wanted a pet anymore? I guess interests vary. Pet flings are like first loves, and soon they turn into first heartbreaks. When Flips died of old age, the other fish didn't look so great anymore. Pretty soon, I wondered why we had a tetra fish. We even had hermit crabs to clean the dirt out of the tank. My parents went all out, and I felt like it reaffirmed my argument of pets being like first loves. 

You go all out. You buy all these things for a pet. They get sick, or die. Then you are left with the pieces. It's sad, it's depressing. But in the end, you are left with the ability to start over with the broken pieces, or you are able to just throw them away.

My parents kept taking care of fish for a while, until I realized, I was moving onto my next desire: a cat. But that could never happen at my dorm. So, I remained without pets for a while.

Missing Pieces


Fish are out of my future, due to the experience being shifted. Somehow I seem to have lost the pieces of what made the idea so great. Has that ever happened to you? Maybe you found a pet that loved so much, and sooner or later it changes to some experience that was foreign to you. You start to push yourself away from it, or just want to forget it happened.

It reminds me of when our Chinese Water Dragon died in my hands -- I suddenly just wanted to not touch it anymore. My memory of that pet was tainted by horrible sights. The same can be said for a pet that suddenly changes, such as when a cat becomes antisocial and you start to question when the change occurred. Now that I've compared how pets are like first loves, you are probably starting to see the comparison clearer now. 

Have you ever lost a pet and changed your perspective?

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