While I was working at a convalescent home, a nurse's aide that told me her husband had a pet lizard, but that her husband was sick and neither one wanted to take care of it. I went over to her house and saw the little newt in a small gold fish bowl. I immediately fell in love with him, named him Newtsy, bought a 10 gallon fish tank, put rocks in it for him to climb onto and began decorating his new home with plastic fish tank foliage and a ceramic house. Not too long after, he was in a 20 gallon tank, I wanted him to move up in the world.
Soon, he recognized my voice and began to climb onto my fingers when I reached in the tank while talking to him. He would raise his head up when he heard my voice and turn his face from side to side while I scratched his chin. At times I would bring him outside so he could feel the dirt and grass, but I had my eye on him every single second, he blended so much in the ground that I would have lost him forever if I looked away. He also seemed to enjoy walking across the hardwood floors,and experiencing the freedom of running.
Once, Newtsy climbed out of the tank overnight and I could not find him anywhere. Finally I noticed the floor grate of the heating vent and lifted the cover to see him sitting there inside. INSIDE as in almost ready to zip down into the furnace. Panic? You bet. I scooped him up and immediately got a screen top for his tank.
I went to the pet store one day for more food and told the clerk that Newtsy was 10 years old and 8 inches long. The guy said no way, they don't live that long nor do they grow that big. He just wouldn't believe me. I figured that the good life was making him healthy, swimming in the tank, lounging on the rocks by the window, and having his chin scratched. When I was traveling back and forth to another state, I brought Newsty and the ten gallon tank with me.
A few hours before he died at he age of 18, I looked in his tank and saw that his throat was bloated. I lifted him out but he didn't seem in pain or act any differently. I quickly looked up the symptoms on the internet. It was an illness that some reptiles get and there is no treatment for it. I was holding him and talking to him, but he died the next morning. In the yard, there was a garden area with a bird bath: I wrapped him in velvet, placed him in an eyeglass holder and buried him in the garden, next to the ashes of my dog Dutchess, who had died just 2 weeks before her 17 th birthday. A little lizard, a Newt, you ask? All animals, all sizes, all species, need love and kindness in their lives.
The monthly meeting of the DeKalb Animal Coalition will be Thursday, December 1, 6:30 on the second floor of city hall in Smithville. Anyone who cares about animals and how the new animal shelter's building progress is doing, is invited to attend.
The DeKalb Animal Coalition Place on 110 W. Walnut St. is open on Thurs. 10-2, Fri. 10-4 and Sat. 10-2, a resale place whose proceeds go to supplies needed for the new shelter. Donations of household good and much needed bookshelves are appreciated.