Taylor Dean is a 19-year-old from San Antonio who currently makes her living creating educational animal videos on YouTube. Her friend, Derek, 20, works at a local aquarium shop in the same city.
Dean said a customer of Derek's recently brought in their pet goldfish that was suffering from swim bladder disease, a disorder that prevents a goldfish from controlling its buoyancy in the water.
The swim bladder is essentially an organ helps the fish stay stable in water. When the bladder is deformed or affected/infected — by bacteria or parasites, for example — the goldfish loses its floatation stability. This can cause it to float to the top of the water, swim upside-down, or have a heavy lean toward one side.
According to Derek, this particular goldfish had an incurable swim bladder problem that prevented it from holding itself upright, and made it permanently stuck at the bottom of its tank.
After diet adjustments and water treatments were ineffective, Derek decided to try something else so the little guy could cope. He created a one-of-a-kind "goldfish wheelchair."
"The bottom weight is almost equal to the pull on top so it works quite well for him!" he added.
Dean told BuzzFeed News that after Derek texted her about this crafty solution, she knew she had to share it with the world. "I've worked with several injured fish but him going out of his way to help this fish was just precious," she said.
People who aren't in the animal rehabilitation space are simply touched.
They're praising Derek for going above and beyond for the goldfish — and Dean for sharing this special kind of love with everyone else.
"You are teaching people that all animals, no matter their handicap, deserve love and support to live a normal life," someone wrote.
Dean said the overjoyed, overwhelming responses to Derek's gesture is why she's chosen this line of work. "People love animals and it's something that can bring everyone together," she said.
Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in New York.
Contact Tanya Chen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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