A neglected betta fish in the pet section of Walmart didn't stand much of a chance. It lived in a small cup on the back of a shelf – but was only barely living. The fish's body had begun to rot and its fins were a shadow of what they should have been.
But then someone came along and noticed the fish's condition. Most betta fish will thrive with basic care and a proper setup, but that involves a tank much larger than the little cups bettas typically are sold in.
Victoria Schild hadn't been planning on buying a pet when she went into the store, but once she spotted this fish, she knew she had to do something. Its tail fin was floating in the cup in pieces; the fish was almost out of time.
Schild felt sorry for the fish and didn't want it to rot away in the cup. Although she was fairly certain it would die that same night, she bought it on the spot. Schild had a larger tank and figured she could give the fish some comfort in its final hours.
Though it seemed like there was no hope for the fish, Schild didn't give up. She researched anything that she could do to help it recover, and she provided clean water, medicine and care. Within a week, the fish started to get better.
As its fins began to heal, the fish seemed to be in better spirits. It even started to explore the new tank.
Schild changed the water daily and gave the fish medication to help it get better. With time, the fish's tail started to regrow and its fins recovered.
After only four weeks, the fish was almost unrecognizable. Its fins had filled back in and its tail had regrown. But what Schild hadn't ever anticipated was that the fish's color would completely transform too.
Here was a stunning fish with brilliant colors. Its newfound health was literally causing its body to shine. Whereas Schild had initially loved the fish because of its spunk and fighting spirit, now she was enchanted by its beauty.
Schild named the fish Argo in honor of its fins, which resemble sails. (In Greek mythology, Argo is the name of the ship Jason sailed on to find the Golden Fleece.)
All Argo needed was some care to bring it back to health, and Schild provided it. She took a chance on the little fish, and in turn she was rewarded with an amazing transformation. Now, Argo swims around and even leaps for food.
Pet stores sell betta fish in tiny containers, and some people may view their lives as being of little value. But Argo's transformation is an important reminder of the value of every life and the responsibility of owning a pet. It's a lesson Schild has taken to heart.