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Old 07-03-2009, 01:39 PM   #1
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How the hobby helped.

I just felt the need to share how the hobby has helped me recently.

A little back ground. I've had aquariums since I was about 7 years old. I've always enjoyed watching the fish do their fishy thing and even enjoy the maintenance involved. I love the look of a well balance tank, lots of live plants, driftwood, rocks etc. I also have an ex husband. From that I got 2 wonderful dogs. Karma, a 6 year old female shepherd/retriever mix and Loki, a 9 1/2 year old huge yellow Lab. They were more than dogs, they were my "kids", my companions. Then I met my boyfriend and we became a family.


In the past year I have rekindled my love for the hobby. My boyfriend gave me a 29g for my birthday last year. Since then the tank has gone through many changes with fish and plants. I'm always moving things around to get just the right look. We've added 6 more tanks since then. The most recent is a 40g breeder we are setting up for Rams and Kribs.


Also last year we found out that my yellow lab Loki (aka Goober) needed surgery for a polyp. The vet took a biopsy and sent it in. The results were that it could turn cancerous. We were told to put him on a diet as he was 130 lbs. It made the vet nervous to put a dog that large under anesthesia. She said he was healthy but a bit large for his breed and at his age, 8 years old, she wanted him in prime condition.


Loki went on his diet. He dropped down to a lean 106. But other problems developed. He started have trouble pooping. We tried a different dog food and that seemed to help. Everything went back to normal until 4 weeks ago. He wasn't able to poop at all.


We tried another dog food, it didn't work. We took him back to the vet. The prognosis was grim. The surgery would do him no good now. The polyp had turned cancerous and was blocking him up. The vet gave him maybe a month or two before we would have to consider put him to rest. She had us put him on a diet that would make his poo softer and maybe easier for him to pass. Buying us a little time with him before his quality of life got worse.


Two Sundays ago we decided to try giving him all the things he hadn't had. Since he was a water loving dog (always in our koi pond or in his little kiddie pool) we took him to the mountains to let him play in the streams. He loved it, but it tired him out. He would splash around the water, tongue hanging out of his mouth, being a total Goober. He was happy. He was doing what he loved.


For the week after, he was lethargic. Barely able to get up, barely eating. Needing to got out every half hour but not able to do anything. My Goober was suffering.


Last Thursday my boyfriend and I made the decision that we couldn't let him suffer anymore. I could see in his big brown eyes how bad off he was. He still tried to greet me when I'd come home from work, but it was so much effort for him. At this same time we were working on the 40g set up. Friday my plant order came in. But considering what we had to do with Loki on Saturday it wasn't that joyous.


Saturday morning came. I cried the entire morning, I cried on the drive to the vet, I cried while I sat beside Loki and held his head in my lap. I cried while the vet gave him both shots, I cried while he passed away in my arms. The loss of such a sweet and loving companion tore at my heart. I'd had Loki for 6 years. My ex and I adopted him from the Humane Society. The first time we saw him he was bouncing on a trampoline with a Kong toy in his mouth and the most Gooberish look on his face. But through the look I could see that he was all heart. A big puppy that just wanted to love and be loved. Which he was, by everyone who got to know him. My boyfriend is more of a cat person than a dog person, but Loki grew on him.


After the upset of the morning we came home. The house quiet. Karma knew something was up. She saw us leave with Loki but didn't come home with him. I went to bed to lay down, Karma jumped up beside me, rested her head on my legs and let me cry. My boyfriend came in and joined us.


Later that night, trying to keep myself busy, I started planting the 40g. Finding therapy in planting half a square foot of micro swords and the various other plants I had ordered. Keeping myself busy over the next few days by spreading the plants in all the tanks seemed to have helped keep me from focusing on the loss of Loki. It didn't stop the pain, just gave me a way to channel it. Now I sit and look at the tanks, finding an inner peace knowing they helped me get through a rough point. I'm in no way over the loss of Loki. That pain is still fresh but I can watch the fish and find some calm.



Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.
George Eliot (1819 - 1880),
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Old 07-03-2009, 01:57 PM   #2
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I am so sorry for the loss of Loki. Thanks for sharing. I actually had to do the same years ago with my lab Cassidy. He had cancer and I was faced with the same choices you were. As much as it hurt to do, I know it was the right thing to do for him. Just like I'm sure you didn't reach the decision easily and did the best for Loki. I'm glad you found solace in aquaria, I've definitely found that it has enriched my life as well. I even met my wife (Severum mama) on an aquaria related website!
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:42 PM   #3
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I am so sorry for the loss of Loki. Thanks for sharing. I actually had to do the same years ago with my lab Cassidy. He had cancer and I was faced with the same choices you were. As much as it hurt to do, I know it was the right thing to do for him. Just like I'm sure you didn't reach the decision easily and did the best for Loki. I'm glad you found solace in aquaria, I've definitely found that it has enriched my life as well. I even met my wife (Severum mama) on an aquaria related website!

And thank you for sharing as well. It is a tough choice to make, weighing the odds. Do we be selfish because we will miss them or do we do it because we know they are suffering.

That's great that you met your wife through a channel. In a way you found your own solace in aquaria.
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:11 PM   #4
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I can feel your pain and I am sorry for your loss. Two and a half years ago my wife and I had to put down both of our 10 year old dogs about 6 months apart. Just as we were starting to get over the death of one we had to put the other down. I was devastated. I did not have fish tanks at the time but I do think it would have helped. One thing that one of my friends sent me that I did find solice in was this poem. I dont know if you have seen it before but I believe in it. Rainbow Bridge Poem Our lost pets are happy and healthy now and we will see them again. Keep your chin up and know that you will see the big goober again!
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:36 PM   #5
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I am so sorry for your loss, I went through the same thing about 3 weeks ago. My little dog had cancer all through her body. Even though I didn't want to loose her I didn't want her suffering anymore so I had to make that dreadful decision. But I also made the decision to have her cremated and she is with me now sitting on the shelf above my computer. I still feel her love for me everyday and I miss her terribly.
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Old 07-04-2009, 04:02 PM   #6
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I'm also so sorry for your loss. Heck I get extremely upset losing a fish. I had a 55 gallon reef for 7 years and it was my home away from home. My job was going downhill and I knew with a child and one on the way that I was going to have to find a new one. Because of my incoming son I had to sell the reef tank to provide room for him. I was all torn up about it as I helped a friend take it away but I knew it was the right move for my son. Two months later that same friend called me and told me that the heater stuck on and that everything was gone.

I pushed on after all of this and began having anxiety attacks at work. I took medicine for about a year and decided I would not be slave to it and quit it right on the spot. I went out and bought a new aquarium and began the hobby all over again. It totally worked! I sit by it and it calms my nerves big time. I have now been at a great new job and have not had any problems whatsoever with anxiety. Is it just the relaxation of the tank? I don't now but I DO love having this hobby back.
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Old 07-05-2009, 07:39 AM   #7
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I to am so sorry for your loss. I understand exactly what you mean about the hobby. This year on Holy Thursday I lost my Mom and on the Friday of Memorial day weekend my best friend passed away needless to say it's been, and is a really tough year. I find our hobby is helping me keep the pain bearable, it seems to take make to another place for that time I'm engaging in/with it. Don't get me wrong my 5 and 3 year old daughters also help me tremendously not to mention they are the reason I got back into the hobby recently. My two girls also love their fish and help me with every aspect of their care, it's quite an amazing thing and wont let it go again.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:43 PM   #8
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Thank you all for sharing your stories as well. It looks like all of us in one way or another have found some peace in our hobby.

My sympathies to those of you that have lost your pets and loved ones. I've come to believe that each person or animal that makes that kind of mark on us was put in our life because at that point in time we needed them. Loki was for me. I know he's still around me.

Blessed be.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:31 PM   #9
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Well said.
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:49 AM   #10
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i had a yellow lab named hannah. she had cancer. in the end, we had spent over $45,000 trying to keep her alive. we thought we had gotten it all. then about a year later, she got cancer in her brain and died months later. i will always have an empty hole in my heart for her.
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