If you can have your heart warmed by a fish, or rather a relationship between a man and a fish, have a look at this video and the brief notes about it (below) posted on Twisted Sifter. The fish is an Asian sheepshead wrasse, Semicossyphus reticulatus.
Scuba diver Hiroyuki Arakawa and Yoriko are the unlikeliest of friends. While they both share a love for the sea, Yoriko’s gills and tail make her a little more aquatically inclined. Nearly every day for the past 25 years, Arakawa has been diving into the waters of Hasama Underwater Park in Tateyama, Japan, to visit Yoriko—an Asian sheepshead wrasse. One day, Arakawa found her looking exhausted and carrying an injury. So he did what any friend would do: he took care of Yoriko, feeding her crabs and nursing her back to health. Their decades-long friendship is proof there’s no greater bond than the one between man and fish.
The Atlas Obscura adds this:
The diver, Hiroyuki Arakawa, has long served as the de facto caretaker for an underwater Shinto shrine, and it is through these dives that he met Yoriko, an Asian sheepshead wrasse, over 25 years ago.
The pair’s relationship soon blossomed into a full-blown friendship. Now, whenever Arakawa visits the shrine, he need only knock on a piece of a metal, and Yoriko immediately speeds over. In the video, Arakawa can be seen kissing Yoriko. His Facebook page is also full of selfies of the unlikely duo.
I wouldn’t have thought such a relationship with a wild animal likely, at least for me, although of course I’ve deeply bonded with the cats I’ve had. But since I’ve been taking care of a duck family (now down to a single hen), my perspective has changed. When you spend hours with a single animal, or a family of them, you begin to bond with them in pretty strong ways. Who would have thought I’d be so deeply enmeshed in the fate of a duck family? They’re ducks, not cats!
But now I can spend a long time just sitting by the pond and staring at a single duck who floats nearby, hoping for a handout—or maybe even getting solace from my presence. I wonder what it’s thinking and can’t possibly know, but am happy to realize it regards me as a friend and not a predator. I eventually see them as creatures of great dexterity and beauty rather than as funny floating birds. I learn about their adaptations: their extreme attentiveness to the environment, the deep maternal instincts of the mother, the ducklings’ reaction to cues from mom that I can’t even discern, and their ability to “dabble”, skillfully diving and retrieving the tiniest bits of food.
We keep each other company. And sometimes she cocks her little duck head sideways, looking at me with one upturned eye as if to say, “Is it really you?” Or so I like to think.
I worry about the ducks’ fates when they fly away, and am sad knowing that I’ll never see them again. Or, if I do, I know I won’t recognize them. But as a friend said, if they do return to my little pond and I don’t know them, they’ll still remember me.
So now I can totally understand the relationship between Arakawa and Yoriko. There are rewards from befriending a nonhuman animal that you just can’t get from a member of our own species. A life without human companionship is empty, but any life is immensely enriched by friendship with a wild animal.