precious

so precious died on sunday.

my grandmother was psychotically fearful of snakes. if she saw a snake on television, her legs would draw up off the floor as if the snake could easily leave the set and come slithering towards her feet. i, on the other hand, would get excited at the prospect of handling reptiles and have pictures to prove it. this fear is apparently not genetically determined.

a friend of our’s acquired precious when she was a palm-sized iguana. our friend is a hoarder of both live and inanimate things. she collects all manner of beings, keeping them caged in close quarters, caring for them enough to keep them alive for the most part. when her situation was such that her unnamed, 3 year old iguana was no longer welcome, she asked us to take her. brni and i recognized her and named her and built her a beautiful 3 level, wood and wire house that dominated our living room.

precious had a hard life that took a toll on her physically. she was determined though, and recovered from metabolic bone disease as a baby. shortly after we took her in, she required surgery to remove a large and bumpy bladder stone. but with proper diet and lots of tender loving attention (must only love lizards in one direction…loving them in the wrong direction can give quite a nasty scale-burn), precious thrived.

we took precious on trips where she caused quite a lot of interest on the interstate highways while hanging out in her cushy digs in the rear window of the car. when brni and i got married, we took precious to the keys on our honeymoon.

she hadn’t been doing so well this last year or so. getting old i suppose. no one knows exactly what the normal lifespan is for giant green iguanas. they are usually so mistreated through ignorance or insensitivity, that they just don’t live very long as pets. the longest living pet iguana died at 29 years. 19 years longer than my precious.

she was moving slowly and stiffly like an old arthritic man. she wasn’t eating with gusto and seemed to have trouble swallowing. i tried to force feed her, but she just couldn’t get the stuff down and was exhausted after just a few mouthfuls. so i gave up and just tried to coax her with bits of banana and ruby red lettuce, but she just didn’t have the strength to bother with food anymore. she kept getting thinner and stiffer and sadder and grumpier. when we touched her, she closed her eyes and suffered our attentions ’til we stopped.

so we were on a death watch on sunday. we tried to make her comfortable. cleaned her bedding and got her nice and close to her heat lamp. and watched her. brni put some greens by her lips, but that was just gesture.

we wrapped her in a green towel and found a place down in the gully in our backyard. brni dug a long trench in the rain and we laid her down and covered her with the clay and rocks that make up this place.

so, precious died on sunday. we were very blessed to have spent these last 7 years with her. i miss her something fierce.

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