Sunday, July 3, 2011

A little place called Herpetophobia

A few weeks ago we lost our beloved old dog, Molly. Well, we didn't actually lose her, cancer stole her away from us. Our veterinarian finally administered a lethal injection that put an end to her suffering.

Since then, we've been trying to adjust to the space in our lives that Molly used to fill. My wife, Linda, and I are dog people. Most of the time we've been married, there have been furry, panting, licking canines of various breeds and sizes sharing our house with us. We'll probably get another dog, but it's still too soon.

Recently, we found what seemed like a good substitute -- or rather, a pair of them. Buffy and Muffy, we call them. Two desert spiny lizards took up residence on our back porch. And very handsome lizards they are, large and stocky and about 10 inches long from nose to tail, all bristling with gray and brown pointed scales to discourage predators.

Undoubtedly, the fact that Molly the Dog was no longer prowling around the back porch allowed them to stake out their claim.

As pets go, they were extremely low maintenance -- no trips to the groomer, no annual rabies shots, no need to supply food or water for them. As long as the flies keep coming, they were in lizard heaven.

Linda is extremely afraid of snakes of any kind, but Buffy and Muffy posed no threat. In fact, any time she came out on the porch, the lizards dashed out the dog door into the back yard, the same way they came in.

However, that dog door turned out to be a serious problem. What lets in lizards can also let in ... ARRGGGGHHH!!! Snakes.

Today we had a brief thunderstorm at our house, a welcome break from 110 degree temperatures and more than 90 days without rain. Linda and I sat out on the porch for a while, enjoying the rain. Then Linda went inside, which was lucky.

Because a few minutes later, a big bullsnake came slithering in through the dog door to pay a visit. I guess he just wanted to find a dry place out of the rain. But if he'd made his entrance just a bit sooner, while Linda was out there, it could have been catastrophic.

"This is 911, what is your emergency?"

"My wife is hanging from the ceiling of our back porch."

"What do you mean, hanging?"

"You know, by her fingernails and toenails. I need someone to get her down."

So, after chasing the snake back outside with a broom, I found something to block up the dog door. Snakes can't get in now, but probably lizards can't either.

Sorry, Muffy and Buffy. You were good friends while you lasted.

1 comment:

Renee Downing said...

Loved this, Tom. Great photo, too.