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                            Never give up! (Never surrender) - The story of 'Buddy' the betta  

                                                                                                                         author: Betsi Vesser
                                                                                                                                                                 date: 03/26/02


My son, Nick, wanted me to share this article with you.  Nick owns a Betta named Buddy.   He bought him with his own Christmas/birthday money last year.  Buddy has been a healthy little guy who was always looking for a fight with his reflection.  He would follow Nick’s finger around the outside of the aquarium which he called home.  Every night in his prayers, Nick would always include Buddy.

 One day, Buddy began to look lethargic.  He began to lay on the bottom of the aquarium and seemed to have lost interest in food and swimming.  He was beginning to lose his color in his body and fins.  His back-end was sort of twisted around and he didn’t seem able to move his back fins much.  He never played anymore.  Never having had a Betta before, we assumed that Buddy was headed for the last fishy-round-up.  Nick, however, had different ideas (as did Buddy).   We went through a morning ritual of tears and not wanting to leave for fear of Buddy’s demise by the end of the school day when we returned home.  Each night brought on stomach aches as Nick agonized over his precious pet’s illness.   I simply watched and waited, not realizing there was help for Buddy. 

 Finally, one morning, Nick headed out to a friend’s house to spend the day (school was out for the day) and once again left in tears and begged me to come home at lunch to check on his little friend.  I agreed, although I told him not to hold out too much hope, for Buddy was pretty much on his side and floating, struggling for breath.  I also noticed that he seemed to have developed a white color on his scales and the color was nearly completed gone from his tail.  I was near a pet care center at lunchtime, so I called Nick and asked him if he would like for me to go ahead and pick up another fish just in case Buddy didn’t make it.  Nick, in his childlike faith, answered no – he was sure Buddy would be still alive, but if he wasn’t, he wanted to be the one to bury him and pick out a new fish eventually.  I stopped in at the pet care place and told them my predicament.  They said there was probably little hope now, but that if I had caught it earlier, I could probably have saved him.  (That made me feel so heartless!)  I headed toward the house and when I got there, the little guy was still on his side.  I tapped on the side of the aquarium and lo and behold, he waved those little side fins at me and struggled to swim.  I realized then and there that I just couldn’t give up on him.  He was a tough little guy and WANTED to live, so I had to at least give him the chance, if there was one.   So back to the pet care center, where I loaded up on Aquarisol, aquarium salt, and tetra balance.  I also bought all new stuff for the inside of the aquarium so I could throw out anything that might be infected.  If Nick could believe in Buddy, then who was I to argue?

I came back to the house and began treating him immediately, praying all the while that I had not waited too late.  I called Nick and told him Buddy was still alive and I had some medicine that MIGHT work.   Nick assured me he would be fine and he’d see Buddy when he got home.  Off I went to work, 2 hours later than I should have been. 

When I picked Nick up from his friend’s house, we headed straight home.  There was Buddy, still not moving much, but at least not on his side floating.  Over the next few days, we continued to treat the aquarium and Buddy began to improve.  Each night, Nick would worry, but after a tap on the glass, Buddy would prove he was still alive and kicking (or swimming – sort of).  This was about 3 weeks ago.  Buddy is still with us, and has learned to make it to the top of his aquarium to eat using only his side fins.  His tail fins still don’t work well and his back end still is curved around.  He still has a light color on his body and just the blue on his back fins, but there is a tinge of red coming back at the very bottom of his tail fins.  So we have hope.  Or at least I do – Nick, you know, never lost it!  We continue to treat him with the medication in hopes that he will recover completely, but if he doesn’t, it won’t be his fault.  Buddy is the fish that never gives up – he is one tough little Betta!

We will continue to try and help our smallest and wettest family member.  And when and if he dies, I will do something I have never done over a fish before – I will grieve.  Because Buddy and Nick showed me that you really can NEVER give up – miracles always happen!

A footnote from Faith:

This article was originally submitted in early February, but I decided to wait and see if Buddy was really going to make it before publishing it. Well, Buddy is a tough little fellow and as of today (7 weeks later) he is still alive and well, back to flaring at his reflection in the mirror. Granted, he has limited swimming abilities since his sickness, but that seems to bring down Buddy none ;). He is a living proof that one should "never give up, never surrender" !! :) Special thanks to Betsi, Nick's mom, for taking the time to write this story and sharing it with all of us betta lovers.