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Leapin’ (Pet) Lizards!

A worried parent, a frustrated son and the reptile that turned out to be just what they needed.

An iguana basking in the sun
Credit: © 2017 W Jennings Photography

I checked my cell phone again. Why doesn’t he return my text messages? My 10-year-old grandson, Luke, and I had always been close, but now that my husband and I had moved 120 miles away, I felt as if I wasn’t part of Luke’s world anymore.

The next day, I drove down to see him. He was all set up to play a video game. “Can I play, too?” I asked. He explained the rules, but by the time I understood, he had lost interest.

“What’s your favorite subject in school this year?” I said, grasping for a way to connect with him.

Luke shrugged.

What would get him talking? Maybe his new pet.

“How’s Rex?” I asked.

Luke’s face lit up. He led me to his room, where a large terrarium sat on the floor, covered with a blanket. “Bearded dragons are cold-blooded and need a heat lamp to warm up,” he said. He removed the blanket and picked up his pet.

“Want to hold him?” He plopped the lizard on my shoulder and ran off. I squirmed as Rex climbed up my neck and perched on my head. There I was spending quality time with my grandson’s pet…without my grandson. This wasn’t what I wanted.

A few weeks later, Luke called. “Rex escaped, Grandma!”

“I’ll come in the morning and help you look,” I said.

There was no sign of Rex. Not the next morning. Not for weeks. I made several trips to search with Luke. We traded ideas about what Rex might be up to out in the wild and prayed for his safe return.

One month after he disappeared, Rex turned up in the exact spot where he was last seen. I drove down to celebrate.

Luke ran to greet me. “Look how much he’s grown, Grandma!”

I barely recognized Rex. Where had he gone and how had he gotten so large? A new mystery for my grandson and me to solve…together. That bearded dragon wasn’t the only thing that had been found.

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