This Woman Spent $500 on Vet Bills for a Goldfish

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Some people get oddly bent out of shape when other people refer to their pets as their “babies,” and that’s never made a ton of sense to me. No, pets aren’t human children, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong or rude or belittling for someone to refer to a pet as a baby. Sure, you can swear in front of them and you don’t have to pay for them to go to college, and generally they’re easier to take care of than babies, but we still love our pets immensely. And they’re easier to take care of than babies. You don’t need to worry about your goldfish driving away in your car or licking the electrical socket or eating rocks.

Well, maybe we do need to worry about the goldfish eating rocks, because one Australian woman’s goldfish definitely tried to eat a rock last week, and the resulting saga cost her $500 in goldfish surgery bills, but she was happy to pay it, because she loved her fish.

According to The Courier-Mail, 21-year-old Emma Marsh has a pet goldfish named Conquer who she has had for the past year. She paid $12 to buy him from the pet store, and that’s already a lot for a goldfish. I think my goldfish all cost $1. Conquer isn’t bigger than a normal goldfish, but he’s pretty looking. He’s white with orange spots on his head. And if he’s lived a year, he’s already outlived any of my dollar-store goldfish. In that time, Marsh got quite attached to him.

So this week she was watching her little friend eat his fish food, and right before her eyes the little sucker swallowed a giant pebble and started choking. WTF, Conquer? How does a goldfish choke to death on a rock? Seriously, you had one job: Swim in a bowl and eat goldfish food. How did you fuck that up?

But he did, and Marsh did what anyone would do very few people would do in the face of a choking goldfish: She rushed him to the vet for emergency treatment. The vet was stunned that the goldfish had managed to eat the pebble in the first place.

“He is 13g and only 5cm long,” veterinarian Emma McMillan said. “The pebble was about 8 or 9mm long and was stuck lengthways across the side of his mouth, which is why he couldn’t spit it back out. He was making excessive mouth movements trying to dislodge it … if we did nothing he would have starved to death.”

Most people would have opted to do nothing, or to give him a mercy killing. But Marsh paid $500 to have her goldfish anesthetized, and then McMillan fished the pebble out with forceps.

Conquer had to stay at the vet overnight for observation, but now he’s home and doing just fine.

Marsh says she’d do it again, because as far as she’s concerned a goldfish is a pet just like a dog or a cat and deserves the same standard of care. And Marsh is allowed to call her goldfish her baby for as long as she wants.