Monday, January 26, 2009

Good-bye "T" You Were A Great Lizard

Here is a picture of "T" and my son. Yes, that is a lizard on his shoulder. About 7 years ago the kids wanted to get lizards for pets. I wasn't dead set against it, but I wasn't crazy about it either. I told them to do their research and then educate me. Then I'd decide whether or not we'd be bringing lizards into our home. My number one requirement was that I'd NEVER have to do anything in regards to these critters like touching them. Both kids to my amazement actually did research and decided on a Leopard Gecko. Reasons: They are easy to take care of, live well in aquariums, not expensive, stay in their aquariums as not being able to climb out (no suction pads on their feet), eat meal worms (not as gross as having to feed them a baby mouse), clean living critters. I was convinced.

Off we went to the reptile show, which just happened to be going on that month in our town. We bought two baby geckos. One had a letter "T" shaped on it's head with it's spots and the other the letter "C". So, their names became "T" and "C". We've had them for about 7 years. They've been the nicest and most interesting aquarium type pets. They don't need a lot of care like a hamster. Leopard Geckos have a potty spot in their environment. Both used the potty spot. Making it very easy to clean up after them. Unlike Hamsters who poop all over and smell to high heaven until you change their cedar chips. Leopard Geckos having claws they can't climb out. Unlike my brother's hamster that got out pretty regularly.

Anyone who came to the house wanted to see the lizards. For quite a few years we knew the lizards shed their skin, but we'd never see a trace of it. I know it sounds gross, but they'd eat it deriving nutrition from it according to the books. They got calcium from it. When we hit the 4 year mark they were quite a bit bigger and we started to see pieces of their shedded skin. That was interesting too. Trying to figure out where on their body it came from. The whole adventure seemed even educational. We'd examine the skin deciding if it was from the head or tail or foot for example. We even looked at it under a microscope. Just for fun. What I didn't know was the small box sitting next to the lizard cage was where the kids were keeping these bits of skin.

Not until some new company came to the house did I find out about it. The kids were very excited to have the new friends over and their parents. The aquarium being right in the foyer first question is "What's in there?" Next question, "Can we see them?" Our company was busy ogling the lizards when my daughter grabs the small box and says loudly, "Want to see our box of skin!?" Thank goodness these were very good friends and ones that love critters. Anyone else might have run from the house screaming thinking something like "Silence of the Lambs" was going on here. I was still in shock my kids had a box of skin when our company started laughing their heads off at such a funny thing to say and to have. I still tease the kids to this day about them being creepy kids. When they deny it I remind them that they own a box of skin.

Now for a bit of sad news. About 6 weeks ago "T" started looking not well. It seems silly to take a lizard to the Vet, but seemed cruel not to. I didn't even discuss it with the husband. Off the kids and I went to the Vet with our poor sick little gecko. To our amazement the Vet was very helpful and didn't find us silly at all. She put little "T" on antibiotics. Notice that both geckos needed a calcium supplement. My daughter wants to be a Vet some day and she went into doctor mode. She revamped the gecko enclosure with the suggestions the Vet made. She made sure both geckos got their vitamins and most importantly that "T" got her medicine. After 2 more vet trips and force feeding from "T's" personal doctor my daughter "T" succumbed to whatever was ailing her. Oddly enough we had thought she had started to turn the corner. She was perkier and seemed to be putting on a little weight. Monday morning before school my daughter did her morning check on the geckos and found that poor "T" had expired.

My daughter woke me up to tell me and I could tell she was trying to keep a stiff upper lip. I sat up and said, "Oh honey I'm so sorry." I held my arms out and she came over stiffly then burst into tears and fell into my arms. Part of me wanted to say "Stay home from school." Another part said, "She's not missing school because a lizard died." So, I met myself in the middle. I told her my idea of burying "T" under the big oak tree and making a decorated memorial concrete stepping stone to put over her grave. This seemed to give her something to think about. How to decorate the stone. It let her know I knew how dear "T" was to her and really to the rest of us as well.

No comments: