CLEVELAND — Longtime Lorain Public Library patron Nemo, a veil-tailed goldfish that has been living in the Domonkas Branch in Sheffield Lake, is making a move to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital as a therapy animal.
Diane Pekarek, who is in charge of the University Hospitals Pet Program, heard that the Lorain Public Library System was looking for a new home for Nemo.
"I wanted him to have a great life and purpose so invited him to come to Rainbow to make kids happy," Pekarek said.
Nemo will have his own tank since he’s been on his own his whole life.
Nemo has been stationed at the Sheffield Lake location for the past seven years after he was donated by a past staff member as a replacement for a goldfish that was purchased for a Summer Reading Program.
“While we love the little guy, we’ve come to realize that we are not the best home for Nemo,” said LPLS Director Anastasia Diamond-Ortiz. “He is getting older and needs to go to a home where they know how to best care for him, which we really don’t. The library is just not conducive to fish care.”
The library said a recent issue with gravel from the tank caused several hundred dollars in damage, which led to looking into Nemo-related expenses. Between staff time and costs, the library is paying several thousand dollars per year for the care and maintenance of Nemo.
In his new job, Nemo will be wheeled from room to room to visit with young patients.
"Kids are having the worst time of their life, any distraction is good," said Pekarek.
Pekarek said any animal usually gets a positive response from the kids.
"Kids will talk to them, read stories to them it helps the kids and the parents forget what's going at the time," she said.
Nemo will have his own trading card that will be left with each patient after the visit.
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