Emotional Support Lizards? …Sure

My Bearded Dragons have been here for me. I provide them food and love. In return, they provide me with non-human-given love and laughs that I appreciate. Here’s an example:

I was against hospice as an option for my Mom, it seemed like a soft murder, or something. Then, I had to consider whether or not it was fair to allow her to suffer. What would Mom want? I knew she wanted to live, but this was not the life she wanted. I couldn’t find the answer within myself. I was already stressed to what could be a breaking point in other areas of life. Thankfully, I had Murph to hold as I thought about things, and his needs & cuteness forced my mind to take a break now & then. It was an awful time to make an awful decision. I could not find a nursing home I (or Mom) was happy with, having already arranged her moving to a better place once (still close for Dad to visit her nearly daily), this and with some research, I concluded:

These places are under-staffed even though there are a lot of employees. Although many people chose a career field such as this, only some of these people truly care and are happy with what they do. The rest, well, they’re just going to work. I once found my Mom nude from the waist down, uncovered, soaked in urine with the door shut and the air conditioning cranked to the coldest setting (which was 1 of many problems). She was sleeping from pain pills (that she was able to keep ingested) and freezing. No one seemed to know who left my Mom that way. Would they leave their Moms that way?

Eventually, I knew my Mom could never go home again. Her mind, the remainder of her amputated leg, and health were declining. I did however, encounter a hospice care with sincere people whom equally despised the functioning of most nursing homes. They altered/assisted with her medical care and visited her often.

Thankfully, family traveled to see her the night she left her prison. I told her earlier in the day I love her, that it was okay to leave. I said I hope I was doing right by her and I hope I was forgiven by her for not being the better daughter I believe I could have been, and forgiven for this decision of an hospice ending. I knew not what she would choose, if she could do so.

I played songs to her that day, like The Oak Ridge Boys, “Elvira” to be exact. She loved the harmony and deep voices 🙂 and Kenny Rogers. I played a ‘Journey’ song we danced to one night when I was a teenager, and wow, one of her favorite songs is from Metallica! Of course, I played that “One”. She said the song reminded her of her fiance (long before Dad won her heart), of whom she was told had been shot & killed while serving his country. It’s about a man’s thoughts as he’s trapped inside his body, immobilized from war injuries. She became trapped like the man in the song. However trapped,  I’m sure she was head-banging to it in spirit. She truly loved that song. She liked Elvis, Native Indian music, bird songs (in nature and on cd), some gospel, and more, but I played what I knew were all-time favorites.

No one knew when she was leaving, but perhaps I had a feeling. I guess that’s why I told her those things and played the music that very day. I had been with her for hours, I went home and was about to eat when I got the call. I didn’t get to my phone in time. I had a 13 second-long message. It was my sister. “Mom passed, I hope to hear from you soon.” I didn’t call back. I went back to that place, her room now filled with many people and love, Dad is in the hall. How did they all get there before me? The answer is still unknown. But, Mom’s soul was the one I felt more than the others’. I know it was my reaction that broke their hearts most of all. I was my Mom’s only child, but my Dad’s last born, although Mom was mine biologically, my older siblings have loved her as their own. I only broke my embrace with Mom because I eventually had to.

How does all this apply to lizards, you may be wondering? Well, they help me forget. If only for moments at a time, about problems and pressures. Don’t take it wrong, life’s not all bad. We simply all have ‘those days’ or months, some times. I find the silence of reptiles peaceful, especially when they just be, with their mouths open as if giving an hour-long grin! It makes me live in the moment with them, where we are. Their curiosity is sometimes like a child’s, they learn by watching. They can grow smiles with a funny shuffling acrossed the floor or when I know they want to be held & nothing more. They don’t whine and nearly always want to travel to different rooms or places with me. They give others cheer too, I’m sure of it. I hope knowing Murph, and reading of Copper in our archives has placed smiles upon your faces!

I want to mention some of those other problems I hinted to earlier to make aware to anyone who may need this knowledge, some of what is common-place at facilities. Just maybe this will aid in the better care of someone later. Some facility employees are  aware of which patients’ families and/ or hospice team has people looking out for them, and go as far to make things appear fine before a scheduled hospice team member arrives. It’s ridiculous out there.

When I noticed the same chipped water pitcher had been in my Mom’s room for some time, I decided to open the lid. Employees kept filling it with water, never washing it and replacing it with a different one. So, I stayed observant in this new arena of disgust.

I created such a stink about discovering mold in bed-side pitchers of water, that the staff got new instructions to date when fresh water was given, and ultimately they did away with the pitchers altogether shortly after the day I walked (carrying another less-than-clean pitcher from Mom’s room) with a person of a high position there to a storage room  where “washed” pitchers still had a line of mold in them. I knew this because I opened the lids of these “clean” pitchers each time one was handed to me. Three “washed” pitchers were this way. I stated they weren’t washed well or being dried out properly. They emplemented a system of ice in coolers, lids, cups and straws placed on carts in the halls for employees and family to retrieve fresh cups as needed. There were no more pitchers in any rooms.

Other problems were, at two of the places Mom stayed, were her items getting stolen either by patients wandering into her room, staff, or just not getting returned after washings. I spent much time browsing through a laundry storage with employees rarely finding missing items. Some missing things written on a list by a lady in an office were found in other patients’ rooms. I wrote a description of every article of clothing and blankets that belonged to my Mother and would take inventory when I visited, AND LATER THE LIST VANISHED TOO! Sometimes, my Mom was given meals and no one put her dentures within her mouth or cut tough food for her. Some mornings I discovered her dentures remained in her mouth all night, which sometimes led to a sore place on her gums. Sometimes Dad or I had to brush her dentures because the staff did not see to their cleanliness. This is common folks.

I once told a lady as she sat, doing nothing but mindless chatting to a person beside her at the desk that my Mom needed help immediately to go to the bathroom before I left that hall. I was leaving for home, but decided to return a few minutes later to check out the situation. When I found her still sitting there, I informed her my Mom was probably now in her own feces and glared at her until she got her butt out of that chair to come help with my Mom. She was a nice lady, but nice doesn’t mean efficient or even good. I often believe I am too patient with others’ non-sense, but I don’t take kindly to cruelty, be it by intention, deceit, or neglect. I took my Mom to their home to visit Dad and their cats, or out for a drive, or a walk (she in her wheelchair) around the facility and neighboring area as often as I felt I could. It brightened her so, I could see the light and mental clarity come back, with these, shined her personality.

I wish I could have taken care of my Mom. Her care was so extensive, she had so many problems. I do not possess the medical expertise, nor does my home have the physical requirements her care entailed. If you love someone in a similar situation as my Mom, look closely, take notes of potential clues that your loved one is not being treated with some dignity and fight for them. Thankfully, we may have a wonderful animal(s) at home awaiting our arrival after battle with the humans.

Copper was here for me too – for 7 1/2 years. We needed each other very much, but that is a different story.


“Give me Lizardry or give me Death!” – Dawn Renee♥

Before Choosing A Lizard Friend…

20171019_152800Please view this post of mine:  Will Lizard Companionship Be A Joyous Happening In Your Home?

It is so important to research how large a prospective pet may grow! When you see that cute little baby lizard at a reptile show or the pet store and want to rescue and love him or her, know what you’re getting into for the next however many years. 20170629_183900.jpgSome may think: “That lizard is so tiny and cute, it can’t get that big, I’ll deal with whatever!”

Well, those thinkers may be in for a surprise! This video is one example of the gentle giant for whom they may be responsible.:


Remember, animals are our family. They need us too, so don’t abandon them or risk their getting adopted into cruel living conditions without love and liberty.

I know of people who have released their snakes and other reptiles outside where they will slowly die come the winter because of one reason or another. That is craziness to me! It is evil, selfish, and it is sad! It is bad for the area wherein they are not native, for reasons that elaborating upon are another story, so to speak. It is cruel and confusing for the animal to be dumped, hungry, and left all alone after experiencing companionship. Just wrong, wrong, and wrong!

Folks that have adopted animals from other homes may easily recognize the emotional trauma caused to the animal simply from switching homes and the absence of the humans they once knew. People should be committed to their choices in animal-keeping, rather than deciding their care is too much and tossing them out of their lives like an old shirt!

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to man.”

– Chief Seattle

“Give me Lizardry or give me Death!” – Dawn Renee♥



Will Lizard Companionship Be A Joyous Happening In Your Home?

Consider the following….

20180715_173241Why Murph……..why?20180716_170739

*This post is for someone whom contacted me with specific concerns regarding lizard ownership. I hope it helps my friend and others (and lizards somewhere) too.♥

20180609_183025 1) Does Lil’ Murph make you smile? 

  2) Maybe another type of lizard makes you smile every time you see that species…

Green and Gray Bearded Dragon(this photo by Egor Kamelev: https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-and-gray-bearded-dragon-751698/ )animal, blur, close(source: pixabay.com )Veiled Chameleon(this photo by Egor Kamelev)

I’ll not mention the exact species shown, because I’m not always super sweet. I think actually, it will help you see all the beautiful variety and options available if you do a lot of research. I will say the credit I copied and pasted from it’s website source for the 1st photo (under Murph’s 3 pics) is an incorrect description.

Just look at those faces! Um, and wee wittle toes! And..those cute lippies!!!! And their everythings!!!

*Proper grammar and sentence structure, as well as correctly spelled words are no more in my world where lizards are concerned. In fact, new words somehow evolve from the murky depths of intense cuteness. As such, these new words are often accompanied by high-pitched squeals and grins so large it’s amazing any perceivable word could be squeezed out between my teeth!

Consider #3) Is there a great fear (due to an immune disorder or other reasons) of  Salmonella exposure?

Chances are, Salmonella will be found if you have a fecal exam performed on your reptile. Here is one piece of reading material, but please simply use the internet or books to gather information until you feel comfortable in your decision of lizard ownership either way.:


I must say, I’ve said (or typed) this before: I don’t have all the answers, I am still learning, and always will, I’m sure. I may not be doing things perfectly, however, my lizards love me. They’re happy, healthy and clean. I say this because I treat my lizards like family, not animals that are owned. It is said you shouldn’t kiss lizards. Well, I know how to keep lizards clean my way, so they get kisses. We both love it! Those darn cute lippies, ya know?! I’ve been the Mommy of a Green Iguana (yes, the big, big kind) and 2 Bearded Dragons for a total of 11-ish years (not including salamander ownership as a wee lass). Thousands of kisses and as many cuddle hours later, I’ve never gotten sick by them. If you’d like to know my bathing and enclosure system for clean cuties, and have not read about them as of yet, please see these:

*Let me say, depending on circumstances, the lack of peace-of-mind regarding possible contamination throughout the home will make reptile ownership stressful. That isn’t beneficial for the family or reptile. In such a case, perhaps it is best to love lizards from afar.

Little Known Fact: Lizards Need Blankies

A Substrate Alternative For The Pampered Lizard

Choosing A Home Within Your Home For Your Scaly Companion

Take my cage idea & make it your own, make it better. You can build one more tall than wide with wood and screen if floor space is an issue. If you use wood, no splinters for your lizard or yourself please. Please don’t use treated lumber, it contains arsenic, chromium, and other bad things.  Make sure your lizard has sturdy objects that will get him or her up and down safely. Among all their needs being met (helpful links for lighting, temperatures and diets are scattered throughout my archives), please give them something soft to curl up to. Trust me, scaly things appreciate soft comfort too.

Many helpful people have donated time to the well-being of sweet lizards. “The Bearded Dragon Manual” (also in ebook form) is good reference material. Oh man, it made me realize how much I did not know! I use paper clips to mark pages I may need to return to later.

Consider #4) Do you have a human or animal in your home that may injure your lizard when you have it out of it’s cage to enjoy some freedom and/or time with you?

Some other tidbits: If other lizards are like mine, they need time with you every day or they may get depressed. Once you know a lizard’s personality and common behavior, you will recognize physical signs of stress or sadness. My opinion is they need at minimum, a similar amount of time that one dedicate to dog ownership, i.e. petting a dog, talking to, feeding, watering, and walking a dog.

If you’re not home at a decent morning or evening hour to turn their lights on or off, purchase a timer to do that. If your house is colder than say, about 70 degrees at night when the other lights are off, you can purchase a night light heat bulb to keep them from getting too cool. Consider your lizard’s sleeping spot & bulb placement so that they aren’t heating up directly under it, especially during brumation.

If a poo occurs in an undesired location, let bleach soak there a couple minutes & rinse well. If color protection is a must, wipe away poo well with tissue or paper towel, then soak area with rubbing alcohol for a few before dabbing with paper towel. If you use a rag, or sheets or any cloth for lizard-related substrate or otherwise, keep a separate hamper or box for his or her dirties and do that load by itself when there’s enough to merit washing a load. you can let a washer fill partially with water then add roughly 1-2 cups of bleach to that water, then add load. Probably, you won’t need to use fabric softener, the less chemicals, the better.

Here’s something probably not thought of often: If you throw a poo-covered wad of tissue in the trash instead of flushing it, consider covering it with other trash so that if a fly, gnat, or other winged home intruder cannot walk their little legs all over it and then walk along your counter tops, thus cross-contaminating your surfaces without your knowing.

Consideration #5) Do you have a little extra money for light replacements? Uvb needs replaced every 6 – 12 months even if it still lights, full spectrum bulbs only need replaced when they burn out (they need both). Can you afford food and any needed vet visits for the life span of your desired new friend, etc.? 

After the start-up, lizards usually are not expensive to have, especially as they get older and desire less living food and prefer more produce.

#6) Do you have time and love to give a sweet lizard for as long as she or he lives?


“Give me Lizardry or give me Death!” -Dawn Renee