Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
The Washington Humane Society facilitates the adoptions of hundreds of dogs, cats, and other animals every year. The organization doesn’t discriminate based on breed or size—or presence of gills. Yes, WHS, which recently merged with the Washington Animal Rescue League, also adopts out fish. Some come to the organization after their owners are evicted, says Chief Community Animal Welfare Officer Scott Giacoppo. In the past few years, WHS has also been called to two ponds that were being emptied and had to save hundreds of fish. They sometimes work with Congressional Aquarium in Rockville to find the fish a new home. Others come to WHS’ New York Avenue facility to be adopted. That includes an Amazonian pacu fish, which can grow to be two feet long and needs a tank that holds at least 250 gallons of water. Three months after it arrived to the shelter, WHS still couldn’t find anyone to take the South American fish. When Giacoppo came in recently, he saw the tank was empty and feared the worse. Happily—and somewhat miraculously—someone had adopted the fish. Most people, Giacoppo points out, will go to a pet store to buy a fish. But D.C. is one of the few places in the country where people have the option to give one a new forever home.