A Whale..Uh..Puffer Of A Tale

Dentist Edmond Hanley has seen just about everything in his years of practice, at least that's what he thought. Then came a call from the owner of a prized yellow puffer fish, reports Correspondent Burleigh Hines of CBS Affiliate WBBM in Chicago.

Aquarium shop owner David Cech had noticed that the puffer in one of his tanks was looking rather un-puffy. Upon closer examination he found that the fish's teeth had grown too long. Unable to eat, the animal was slowly starving to death.

A puffer's four teeth continue to grow throughout its life and are usually kept short by a natural diet of crustaceans and shellfish.

Uncertain about what to do, Cech phoned the experts at the nearby Shedd Aquarium. They told him to file down the fish's teeth to a more manageable length. Filing a puffer's teeth is easier said than done, so Cech sought some help. "We tried it ourselves. That didn't work, so we called one of our customers, Dr. Hanley," Cech said.

Being an aquarist himself, Hanley he couldn't resist a fish in distress. "The call came in and I couldn't turn it down. I knew the fish was in trouble and I had to help it out," he said.

Eddy gets his teeth fixed.

Cech took the animal to Hanley's office, where the dentist filed down the puffer's teeth with the same type of drill he uses on his human patients.

The operation was a success and Cech says the fish is back to his old self. "He's a unique fish. He has a personality, he comes to the front [of the tank]. Any customer who comes in, he acts like he knows them," Cech says.

As a way of saying thank you, Cech has renamed the fish "Eddy", after the dentist. Dr. Hanley says he flattered, and he'd like to give his puffer patient a new home. "I'm pretty excited about it. I think I'm gonna have to get him in that tank of mine now. He's part of the family," he says.

But, after all that Eddy has been through, he isn't for sale. Why? "He's our star fish," says Cech.


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