Beta fish helps educate and entertain children at St. Anthony Family Shelter

Galaxy the fish

By Jamie Aumiller
I was gifted a beautiful Beta fish for my 40th birthday, but there were two problems: where to put him and what to name him.
I realized that my pets at home wouldn’t take too kindly to an addition to the family, and the only way to come up with a name was to let the children in the shelter name him. The children agreed that when watching him swim around his home with his bright colors, the only fitting name was Galaxy.
Galaxy quickly settled into his home with a view of everything in the office. One of his favorite activities is having the children read to him. Galaxy’s other past time is supervising the child architects as they engineer their Lego creations. The only thing he doesn’t seem to like are the dinosaur toys.
Whether it is natural or something Galaxy grew into, he has become a social fixture, receiving visitors from our agency through the week. When parents need to focus on interaction with myself, Galaxy keeps the children company, entertains them and encourages good behavior.
Clients, staff and volunteers alike have realized Mr. Galaxy’s knack as a keen listener. Not everywhere can you find someone who is not judgmental, gives you time to speak your mind and never interrupts what you are saying.
Some say he just makes them feel good because his is always willing to lend a gill, whether it be for fashion advice, what to do for dinner or if you have had a rough day and need to let off steam.
One of the bonuses is that he presents an opportunity for a reward. Feeding Galaxy is a coveted event. Adults, though, can be a bit sneaky, sometimes dropping an extra pinch of food here and there. But, I haven’t heard Galaxy complain.
Aumiller is a case manager at St. Anthony Family Shelter, a ministry of Catholic Charities.