Cats and dogs who wander from home get reunited with their owners all the time. But fish? That's what happened when flood waters from the Merrimack River recently swamped the Brand family's backyard pond, sweeping away seven of their 11 Koi fish and depositing them on the third fairway of the nearby Nashua Country Club.
But most impressively, a few weeks later — with a little help from city officials — they made their way back home.
The flooding hit Mother's Day weekend, when heavy rains pushed the river over its banks and to within inches of the Brands' home. The pond wasn't so lucky.
"By the time I could get out there, I found only four fish," Eric Brand said. "Just figured the rest were carried away and had dried up somewhere."
But the flooding had left enough water on the golf course to keep the fish alive long enough for David Deane, a city alderman and groundskeeper at the course, to find them.
He said he was pumping water off the course with city crews shortly after the flooding when he noticed the fish flopping on the ground. Thinking they might be pets, he went to get a bucket.
"I popped them in and they started moving around pretty good. Guess they're quite resilient little things," he said.
Deane brought the fish to the city waste water treatment plant, where analytical chemist Noelle Osborne keeps tanks of fish as part of a display for children taking tours of the plant.
"I brought them over and they took them in ... we wondered if anyone would ever claim them," she said.
Brand says a neighbor saw an item in The Sunday Telegraph on May 28 about Deane's fish rescue and called Brand, leaving him a message. But Brand didn't hear it for more than a week.
On Tuesday, Brand and his 8-year-old daughter, Ashley, were reunited with their fish.
"I just don't know how they survived all that way," she said.
"It surprised me, too," Eric Brand said. "It looks like they stayed together, though, so maybe that's why."