When I first arrived to the local pet store, I was vibrant and full of life. Sure, I was confined to a tiny space with water cool enough to make me feel sluggish and dull, but there were so many other fish to flare at. I would swim for hours around my cup, showing my beard and bright colors to any other Betta that dared to get close.
The next day, I had grown tired and bored of the endless competition. Having so many other challengers around me was stressing me out, and I began to bite and nip at my fins, annoyed with the lack of space I was provided, and the cool temperature of the water, and the filth of my feces I could still see at the bottom right corner.
The day after, and I was far too tired to even pull at my fraying fins. The other Bettas held no interest to me, and I none to them. There was no energy left to react to the others. I spent the entirety of the hours huddled at the bottom, occasionally swimming up to gulp some air and half-heartedly flare at the red male to my left.
An unknown amount of time passed, and I hadn't eaten for a week by now. The Betta in the cup behind me had perished. It made me grow more anxious every time I caught sight of his fuzzy body, limp and pale at the bottom, no movement in the water. I worried about that happening to me, and I began to tear at my fins again, taking it out on my tail the most.
Another few days passed, and I no longer had the energy to worry about the future. I knew I would die within the next week; I hadn't eaten, I hadn't had any water changes, and I was constantly cold.
Suddenly I was startled into movement, hands closing around my prison and lifting me up. I swam in panicked circles, surfing the plastic and feebly flaring as a challenge.
After being jostled around in a cart and a strange vehicle, I found myself placed into a huge, warm tank. Although I frantically tried to swim down, I couldn't. Bit by bit, the warmer water seeped in, until I was finally released into my new home.
It was warm and spacious, with many plants to hide on or under or around, and I was fed a few pellets which I immediately gobbled up. I wish I had been fed more, and retreated into my cave, peeking out.
I knew that this was where I belonged, and that I would be well taken care of. My color came back, and I stopped biting my fins, too busy exploring my tank or practicing flaring.
I lived many happy years with my human, knowing that they had saved me.