Charlie, I know you will remember Irma Padilla, our housekeeper since you were a little thing.
I wanted to remind you that she was a good friend, as well.
She took care of me and helped me with the animals.
She was a professional in every way.
And, she was a fine and talented decorator, too.
She used to surprise me by moving things around in the house to really good effect.
She treated my house as if it was her house, and simply did what she thought needed to be done.
And, she loved Cheeky!
(Irma took the pictures in the Fishing Gallery below.)
Irma used to take you and her grandson, Tres Padilla, fishing at one of the neighborhood lakes.
You loved it, and you caught catfish, too.
On this day, you caught the first fish.
You had a great time and learned from the little expert fisherman!
You were about eight years old.
There is a post here about it: http://tinyurl.com/nx3b
In the photo below, Irma is helping you clean the fish for supper.
Irma is attempting to organize the toys in your playroom at the Sherwood house.
She was feigning horror at the prospect for your benefit!
She was fun, and she made you laugh.
You were about three years old, I think.
This is a photo of Irma and Ruben (Listo) Padilla.
I took it at an old bar on the Goliad Highway one night.
The community held a barbeque benefit for them when their house burned.
You remember Listo. He worked for us for years at the plant.
They were good people.
I loved Irma. We had fun, and she was a good friend.
I love mangos and so do the parrots!
A mango swirl
I buy bananas, and I never eat them until they spoil.
I grew up eating banana and mayonnaise sandwiches.
Sometimes, I would sneak into the kitchen, peel a banana, and stick the end of it in the Mayo jar!
Actually, that’s still my favorite way to eat a banana!
Charlie, if you saw a video of an old lady talking to a box of roaches
after midnight in her kitchen, which of the following would you think?
A. Eww! That’s totally disgusting, and in the kitchen, too.
B. That old lady is definitely suffering from a serious case of dementia.
C. I wonder what animal she’s feeding the roaches to.
Actually, this box is almost empty.
I order a thousand roaches each time (small, medium and large)
since both dragons eat them, and Koko eats them too.
They are the source of protein for the animals.
The Dubia Roaches are tropical and will die if they escape into the house.
I was talking to a roach who crawled off the bottom of an orange slice onto my hand.
I said, “Don’t you dare leap off onto the floor!”
Be careful about first impressions.
Charlie, you will surely have many memories of my profound deafness according to the Whispering Coldeweys.
Or, as the old folks used to say, She’s deaf as a post!
This is one of the more amusing stories about it, at least for me.
I wandered around after midnight tonight feeding the nocturnal critters in the Legend Zoo, as I always do.
As I leaned over to fetch Koko’s dishes, I heard a soft rattling noise that sounded like a rattlesnake shaking his rattles.
I stood under the smoke alarm outside the door listening with my good ear toward the ceiling.
I’m thinking Rats In The Walls, escaped Giant Ninja Roaches…
When I didn’t hear the noise again, I concluded that it must be Bats in the Belfry come home to roost.
Chuckling to myself at my own cleverness, I went on about my chores.
Later, as I was leaning into Che’s house to fill the hay bins, I heard the rattle again.
Finally, I realized that the noise came from pills rolling around in a plastic pill bottle
In the leg pocket of my Casbah pants!
You might not recall the pants. They had wide legs, reached just above the ankle,
And had deep pockets at the calf level of both legs.
I was forever losing something in the pockets.
I’m sure Che thought I was nuts when I started laughing and explaining it to him!
I asked Big Lucy if he thought I ought to recount this story, but he wasn’t speaking to me.
He’s annoyed that I posted photos of his beauty peel…
I have to tell him that Miss Spellcheck thought it was a beautiful peel.
Perhaps, that would make him feel better!
Going forward, my entries may be boring or repetitive or may not make much sense to my friends on WordPress, but I am going to share them anyway because my friends here have been so very kind to me. I want you to know that my friends here have encouraged me from the beginning of this blog. Without their help, I don’t think that I would have continued to post the photographs and stories. I am grateful to them for their support. I will continue to enter the things about my daily life here for you to remember for as long as I am able to enter them. :-) It is my hope that they will be meaningful to you.
I know that you don’t like Big Lucy at all.
I remember when we got the terrarium for Mr. Frog, and I said that it would be good for a Bearded Dragon when you tired of the frog.
You looked horrified and said that you wouldn’t touch one of those things!
And you have been as good as your word with Big Lucy.
So has your mom!
And your Dad, too!
The other day, when your mom and I were at the pet store to buy dog food, I was looking at the baby dragons.
Your mom came up behind me, and said, “No more dragons, Mom!”
She knows me fairly well, I think…
(Dragons assume the most absurd basking and sleeping positions! This is Big Lucy.)
As you know, the most recent addition to The Legend Zoo are two Bearded Dragons.
Big Lucy and Little Lucy
(Big Lucy is actually a male and Little Lucy is a female)
They both seemed to be doing well until I noticed blood in Big Lucy’s urate and a foul-smelling, watery feces.
(Dragons have vents like parrots through which they excrete feces and urates.)
I monitor the droppings from the animals because it is a good measure of general health.
If droppings from birds or reptiles change, it may be the only early indication of illness.
A microscopic examination of a fecal specimen revealed the presence of a Coccidia Oocyst and Stronglyte parasites.
(Since Dragons typically carry Coccidia and Stronglytes in their guts, there probably is no reason to treat absent symptoms.)
I treated her with Albon and Panacur and a probiotic (Bene-Bac Plus gel) for three weeks.
Now, treating her was no simple matter since she could not be convinced to drink the meds or eat the probiotic.
I held her and forced her mouth open by pulling down on the skin under her chin while Kelli administered the drugs through a syringe.
She was not happy about that, but it worked.
Coccidia is difficult to eradicate from the environment since it is resistant to most disinfectants and can live for a very long time.
The most stringent husbandry is required to eliminate it.
I discovered that one of the only chemicals that kill it are the ammonium compounds.
Absolutely everything must be sanitized daily.
(Big Lucy, below, is not looking very pleased with the treatment protocol!)
The fecal sample for Little Lucy showed Stronglyte parasites, but no Coccidia.
Since she was so very tiny and had normal droppings, I decided not to treat her until she gained weight.
She developed a brownish tint on her urate later, so I treated her with Panacur only.
I will continue to treat both Dragons with one dose of Panacur twice a week for one week every two months as a precaution against Stronglytes.
A microscopic examination of the feeder roaches revealed the presence of Stronglyte parasites.
Since they may be endemic to all Dubia roaches, I will continue to feed them as the best source of protein for the growing Dragons.
I discovered that the easiest way to weigh a Dragon is to use a bird perch gram scale since clinging to a limb is natural for them.
This is Little Lucy on August 3. She weighed forty grams. This is Rita’s old postal scale with a perch attached to it.
Troy Beaudoin at www.parrotislandinc.com made this one, but they are very easy to make using a postal scale.
Little Lucy has gained weight and is looking healthy here.
The red color is from an additional heat lamp that I added to her tank to raise the ambient temperature.
The best way to monitor the temperature in every area of a tank is to use a temperature “gun”.
Stick-on thermometers are useless. Do not use them, period.
Precise control of light, temperature and humidity is critical to a Dragon’s survival.
Little Lucy on her tank looking over at Big Lucy!
It is not wise to cage two Dragons together since the males fight and male/female Dragons are inclined to mate…
If there is no exotic (wild animal) vet in your area, there is an online source for veterinary advice.
You can buy veterinary medicine online complete with titration instructions. There are online labs for fecal examination, too.
The vets and vet techs at the above site can advise you.
I found their advice to be sound and immediately available.
My best advice is to resist the temptation to buy any exotic animal on impulse.
Their care and health maintenance is very different from that required for domestic animals.
However, if you are willing to do a great deal of research, and to devote a great deal of time to their care,
Bearded Dragons are intelligent and highly interesting creatures!
They bond with their keepers, too!
Deano died five years ago today. He was seventy years old.
In my earliest memory of him, he looks like this photo. He was twenty-one years old.
This is a photo of Deano supervising the construction of his porch.
It is early summer of 2008.
He plans to sit there watching auto racing and world news.
And that is precisely what he did until he died.
Deano always had a plan.
And, as he and JR Ewing said,
I love it when a plan comes together!
One evening, two days before he died, he was sitting on his porch eating banana pudding.
He looked up at his caregiver who had brought it to him and said,
If a man’s got to die, he ought to do it eating banana pudding.
That is who Deano was.
Lucy’s July Fourth Portrait
She has been with us for two months.
She is eleven inches long and very wide.
She is officially a juvenile dragon.
Actually, Lucy is a Lucifer.
When you choose names for pets
that are not dimorphic
Choose gender neutral names
if it matters to you.
This sad photo was filed under the title, “Day One”.
I thought this little creature was so cute.
That’s all I knew about Dragons.
What I didn’t know is that she was horribly dehydrated.
She was malnourished.
The bend in her tail was symptomatic of MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease)
Caused by a calcium deficiency.
The supervisor of the exotic animals at the chain pet store
Told me to feed mealworms as you see here.
I had no idea that they have virtually no nutritional value
and the exoskeleton causes impaction in dragons.
Crickets have little nutritional value unless they are gut-loaded before feeding.
She didn’t mention that when she sold me the crickets.
Of course, I assumed that Dragons drink water.
The display at the store contained a bowl of water like this one.
Dragons do not recognize standing water as something you drink if you are a dragon…
You must either drop water on their noses or mist them a couple of times a day.
Dishes of water in an enclosed terrarium cause respiratory illness.
Dragons are desert animals who require very low humidity in their habitats.
Of course, I ordered the definitive Dragon manual.
And I began to search the Internet for information on dragons.
I was so confused that I was in a panic about what to do.
Then, I found Joe Cattey of South Texas Dragons
Joe lives in San Antonio which is about 100 miles from Victoria
Just a hop and a skip in Texas.
Joe told me what to do.
He supplies Lucy’s Dubia roaches which are high in protein.
Joe told me that Lucy was dehydrated and instructed me to soak her in a warm bath
for 15-20 minutes several times a week.
Dragons have vents (Cloaca) like parrots
They absorb water through their vents.
As soon as she was well-hydrated, the shrunken skin disappeared.
One problem solved!
Lucy began to gain weight
And one day she shed her old skin.
She was healthy and growing at last!
Dragons require specialized care.
Most pet store dragons die within the first year.
People, like me, think they’re cute and take them home
To die of loving neglect.
Meet Little Lucy.
She is tiny, malnourished, and has MBD.
She was half-price, and cold and wafer-thin and starving.
I brought her home today.
Fed her all the Dubia roaches she could eat!