Many Incarnations (of Our Pets)...

So I must tell you that this story isn’t as pitiful as the one which a student of mine told at a fully seated dinner table (much to my mortification) in Tuscany one evening. Her story involved a pet that her husband had “adopted” while doing a stint in the county jail and sadly, the pet was, if I remember correctly, a piece of lint.

We have recently lost two beloved house pets (both were remarkable cats) and are therefore a bit sensitive, perhaps even reticent about taking on another at the moment. After all, we have our giant dog of 12 years, who was “dropped off” near our home on a remote country road in California in the dead of winter, one snowy and freezing cold season long ago. She is absolutely the best dog ever and we love her dearly; a sentiment which she regularly returns to us unequivocally, unconditionally and always in great intensity. Somehow our dog seems to be a perfect, fabulous, full time shadow for both my husband as well as for me, thereby fulfilling our every furry and lovable requirements quite nicely.

Nevertheless we enjoy pets; all kinds of them। Something about the added personalities among the dynamics of our household, I suppose. And this past spring in Arizona, we noticed a new presence in our backyard. Every morning, there was a bit of a parade occurring on the top of the wall that surrounds our yard. Looking very much like a russet potato, the star participant was a fairly large, very round, brownish lizard with the requisite skinny lizard legs, stubby yet pointed tail and tiny lizard head. Always on display and forever doing the lizard push ups, we began to watch our new buddy “Tatey” as it hunted for bugs and showed off it’s grand, if rather rotund reptilian physique.

As the spring moved along, a tiny little lizard began to join Tatey’s morning displays atop the walls, running in between Tatey’s legs and mimicking Tatey’s proud, grand push ups in the warm desert morning sun. My husband began to collect the bugs which he skimmed off the top of the pool each morning and make a small pile of them in bed of mint in our backyard. The bugs would dry, get crispy as the daylight grew brighter and then disappear before the next morning’s deposit was made.

Tatey grew ever larger and began dividing his time between the thick, cool safety of the aloe bushes next to the pool and the more shaded, private space behind our water softener. Little lizzie spent most of his time in the mint bushes and then on the wrought iron cross legs of the outdoor table on our back porch, as well. Somewhere along the line, we began to call the fascinating and industrious mini lizard “Larry” and he now occupies a great deal of our attention everyday and every night. He seems to feel at ease with us and vice versa.

We have enjoyed observing the interplay between what appears to be parent lizard and offspring, as well as learning so much about the habits of these mesmerizing reptiles. It seems that we have become rather attached to both Tatey and Larry. Perhaps they have become our newest pets?

For the last two evenings, while getting ready for bed, I have had the most amazing view of little Larry’s current resourcefulness; he pursues moths which gather on the outer side of the frosted glass which covers my bathroom windows. Once I light up the openings from my side, insects are immediately attracted to the exterior and it’s time for Larry’s nightly hunt-a-thon. He hides in wait, at the top of the window (in a shadow) and then snaps quickly at the fluttering creatures, eating them whole in an instant. It is quite a sight, seeing Larry from underneath and watching the pale lavender creature perform his nightly ritualistic chase. I feel privileged to be Larry’s hostess and so hope that he continues to live on our porch for a very long time... at least until he has eaten enough bugs to become Tatey-sized.

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