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13 Jan 2010

My Pets

In the 10 years that Sonu (my pomeranian, now dead for 4 years) lived with us, he used to love it when we cuddled him. He loved being pampered, although there were times he would behave like a typical boy and turn away with his nose in the air.

When we brought Lucky home, I noticed that she hated cuddling or any sort of physical proximity. She walked about like a lady who likes her space. I used to find it really strange because I thought all animals loved to be petted, especially dogs, especially labradors (she's a lab-mutt cross). I assumed it must be the kind of environment she was brought up in. Dogs have a great sense of the environment around them and they learn as well as adapt pretty quickly. My in-laws are a wee more formal than my family has ever been. Very polite. Respectful of each other's space. On the other hand, my family is one where we step on each others toes all the time as if that's the only way to go! It's our way of expressing a sense of belonging & sharing. I have learnt to love both and can switch from one mode to another quite easily, after so many years with both families. Back to Lucky now. Over time, she has learnt to acknowledge and even seek hugs whenever she can, from everyone in the family. I'm a very hug-loving person, I guess she just couldn't put me off for too long.

I'd read that Black Ghost Knives could be quite human friendly and once they establish a certain trust with us, they let us hand-feed them. I'd never tried that before. I've never really been able to build a relationship with Sheldon (or his former mate). He hides most part of the day and comes out only for food or after the lights-off hour. Last week, when I was feeding the fish, I tried to hand-feed Sheldon. He let me!! I was thrilled to bits. For some reason I can't really understand, he never allowed me that again.

I spent a couple of days trying to figure why. A couple of nights ago, he humoured me by grabbing one small bit of a flake but when I tried again, he wouldn't let me. It looked like he was shaking his head/body and swimming backwards. He did not go away, just kept going down in the tank, all the while eyeing the food. Frustrated, I dropped the flakes in the tank and left, mumbling to myself how a stupid fish could be so moody. I couldn't have been more wrong. Sheldon is far more intelligent than I could ever imagine a fish could be. He likes his space. He trusted me after all these days, to let me feed him. That was until last week. Over the weekend, I moved him in an under-sized fish-net from his home to a tub and then into a bucket, both of which he hated. I kept checking on him, so he knows who it was. That is enough for him to put a distance between us. He won't eat out of my hand. He needs his space (umm... why do women always get to hear that?)

I don't know enough about fishes to say if he sees me, smells me or it is a combination of both. I'm sure he sees me because he hates it when I watch him eat or when I peer through the glass into the space behind the air-pump where he hides most part of the day. Whatever it may be, it will be a while before I can make friends with him again, before I can hand-feed him.

In the meanwhile, the rest of the adult guppies seem to have shifted to the bottom of the tank, to avoid the school of fries who have crowded the top of the water. It's been about 3 days and Howard is finally back to his usual self. I saw him chase Penny around this morning! No!! I don't want any more fries! Is there a way one can neuter fishes?

In the smaller bowl, the new-born seem not to have adapted so well to the over-crowded bowl. The husband found 4 of them dead and lying under a heap of uneaten, soaked flakes this morning. They have now been moved to a larger tub where, hopefully, they will be able to live to grow into adult fish.

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