Saturday, October 30, 2010

To buy or not to buy an iguana in the shop?

I'm upset, I must say, I really am.

So there's this person on a reptile forum, saying he'd seen a baby green iguana in a shop that is kept in bad conditions and that he's thinking about 'rescuing' it. Then, he goes and asks us what he should do and if we could give him some information on how we experienced ones keep our animals.

My initial reaction was to tell him not buy this animal in this shop, rather to go and report this shop for buying this little one would only result in the shop getting a new one that will be held in bad condition.
I'm against buying these animals in the shop in general, since they usually don't have the animal's best interest at heart but their money and every sold animal is cash in the books. They often don't give sound advice, warn people off or even worse: give bad advice.

Now, this guy who sought advice, wouldn't listen, at all. He went onto another thread  telling another guy he should 'rescue' this little guy in the shop because he looks well after his big boy. I nearly lost it there. Today, on the original thread, he asks again, if we really don't think buying this baby iguana in the shop would be a good idea.

No, it's not!

What angers me the most is that people obviously aren't capable of using google, since putting in 'green iguana keeping' gives you 110k results in 20 seconds and there you have it: a whole wide world of information. There, you will see that iguanas become huge, up to six feet, that they require a huge set up, that they can become rather unpleasant, what food they need and how old they become.

I wonder why people are not taking more responsibility before getting such an animal that's not the average cat, but an animal that requires knowledge, patience, willingness to learn, every day and certainly it requires quite a bit of money. Vets don't come cheap. I pay about 90 pounds per month for food and electricity/water and the vet bills were over 1200 pounds in six month this year. Two years ago, I paid 1200 for my female that sadly died after surgery.

I've got mine 'rescued' from a pair that wasn't allowed to keep it after they moved house. Something I don't understand either. If I can't move in with my animal, then I don't want this flat. Would they give their child away because the landlord doesn't like children?

And he was given to them because his former owner was surprised it grew. So in his young three years, he had to go through three new owners. Poor guy. At least, I know I'm going to keep him until he dies and that's hopefully a very long time until them. He bit me several times, brought me to the A&E, is aggressive and won't let me handle him, but I love him to bits and I would never even think of giving him away.

Almost every week I see ads of people who have to re-home their animals, the rescue centres are full of big adult males, given away because they became inconvenient, aggressive, large, owner moved house or countries. It's really really sad.
I wish people would make up their mind thoroughly before getting a pet like this and inform themselves, use the possibilities given, like google, books, whatever and if they then make this decision to get one, to be aware it's a decision for this animal's life.

So if you want an iguana, think hard! Then go and take one of those poor iguanas that sit in a rescue centre and could do with a loving home. They've usually been through enough, they deserve a good life.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Are you sceptical about mediums?

Well, so it Lorraine, a friend of mine and medium herself.

She has a lot to say on this topic on her blog, interesting things, surprising things and a lot of information.

And she had even published one of her books, A Sceptical Medium, availabe in print and on smashwords.

Remember, Christmas is not too far away. :-)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And the winner is?

Me and me again.

Unbelievable, but true. I won both contests. The strong scene and Pet's POV. I never win anything, so I'm quite flattered. Thank you to everyone who voted. You are stars.

Here are the winning entries for your entertainment and amusement. Enjoy.

Entry strong scene: 
As if she feels your stare, she lifts her head. In the dimmed light you can't make out the title, but the fact that she sits here alone on a Friday night, holding a book, makes her attractive enough.

She smiles at you. Her far too perfect lips reveal a set of white teeth. You know it's rude, but you can't hold her gaze. Ashamed, you look away, into your glass. When you take a sip, you sense her eyes scanning each inch of your body.

Another sip. It feels warm, comfortably warm. Slow, but confident footsteps on the wooden floor. You listen carefully, your grip tightens. Five, six, seven, eight. Then, they stop. The scent of flowery, expensive perfume penetrates your nostrils.

'You are waiting for someone?' she asks. Her voice surprises. It is nothing like you thought it would be. Much deeper � not displeasing, though. A faint accent gives away she is not a native. It sounds inviting. You shake your head in response to her question.

'Would you mind me sitting here?' Without waiting for an answer she lays down her book and takes a seat. Its author is no-one foreign to you.

Entry Pet's POV:
What the heck? Still sleepy, I open my eyes. Why does the sun always rise that quickly? The same as it sets. One second I dream of the high trees, next I'm thrown into reality. Brutal, I must say. And it means, that I have to leave this corner I slept in.

Not that someone forces me, but this ugly creature that provides me with some delicious tasting stuff will put it on my lower lazy hangout. I spend most of my day there, because I can overlook my territory, you see?

She doesn't know it yet, but I'm her master. Proof is that she always backs off when I head-bob at her, or leaves, just to come back with more delicious things to eat and boy, she knows what I like. A lot of crunchy greens and those little round things that pop in my mouth.

How I know it's a female? Hell, don't you understand? I'm an alpha male and if I don't take up the scent of a fine lady, who else would, eh? And there are many opportunities for she comes to see me a lot. Even when I really don't want to be disturbed.

Oh, there she comes and I see green leaves. Good job, I could eat at least two bowls of this. She makes funny noises I don't understand. Something's different. Typical. A cold draft pushes past me. No time to blink, I'm in anticipation of the food.

Gosh, this is good! I don't spare her one look. Then...Hey! No! I want to shout. Why can't she let me eat in peace? I don't like being touched, I'm ticklish. Leave me alone, I think. Not that I have high hopes. Years of experience made me learn that's not going to happen. I sigh, throw a short look towards her flesh and contemplate.

Lucky for her, I enjoy my breakfast far too much. Again, this annoying sound. Sometimes, I feel she speaks my language, but I have trouble to understand, must be a weird dialect. I answer, then she would answer, too, but still no real conversation.

Now, she dashes out of my sight. Do I care? No, she left enough so I continue to tuck in. Could've closed the door. Might mean she'll come back. Yes, here she comes, holding some orange watery treats, then puts it in front of me.

And there are some attached to her flesh. Great! She'll just take the mick again, every time I have almost one in my mouth, she'll pull away, making weird noises again, just a tad louder. Put the damn sweet things down and let me get them my own, I want to scream at her.

Imagine you would love to lick your favourite ice cream and someone would pull away, every bloody time. How would you feel? To do a little bit of justice, I've a trick, darting forwards, mouth as wide open as possible and try to bite into her flesh.

From experience I know that will piss her off, teach her a lesson, you know? On the other hand, I won't get supplement and when I like something very much, then it's supplement. And variety. Must say, she does this well.

But this constant staring. Why on earth would she stare at me for ages? I need to digest, warm up, spread my arm and legs, rest my head and doze. Something I do for most of the day. I can afford it, can't I? Having my personal slave.

There I lie, relaxed, dreaming of a fine woman for me, when the door opens again. I lift my head to see what the reason is for the disturbance. Oh dear. This giant spitting thing. That comes unexpected! There I was, sun-bathing and now it rains heavily. I squint.

Good I don't soak, it's rather nice when it's a warm shower. I wonder if I will ever have a quiet moment, day even. But that's something else I can dream of, tomorrow, maybe the day after that. The rain stops, the door closes and I'm able to have a nap. Life is hard for an iguana.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Competitions, competitions

Yes, I've entered another one.

There are only two entries, A pet's POV on the world.

Please make some time to read and vote.

And while you are there, have a look around. Suzanna has always something interesting on her blog.

Thank you,


Saturday, October 23, 2010

When authors meet

For weeks I was excited due to the fact that I would meet my friend Lorraine, founder of Authors on Show. We have worked together since May, promoting others, us and developing this site. We would only speak on skype, per video-conference and it was fantastic to meet each other.
Also, I was able to see M.M. Bennetts again, who launched the second book, Of Honest Fame. The team behind the publisher Diiarts where there, too. A bunch of lovely people, who greeted everyone personally.
My friend Fifi came along with her husband Ash Scott-Lockyer, whose short story I edited recently before it was accepted.
Molly Hopkins, author of It Happened in Paris, which is available to pre-order, joined our little get together, charming everyone's socks off.
And there where more who clearly came to hear M.M. reading a passage from the book.
What I loved the most, is that M.M. Bennetts still is a down to earth person, open to chat to everyone who likes either historical military fiction, a laugh or even better both.

It was a wonderful relaxed atmosphere, brilliant to have connected some friends who only knew each other through the internet and for M.M. a successful book launch.

All I need to ask now: when are we doing this again?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I've made it!

Well, I'm one of the three finalists in Gary Ponzo's strong scene contest. It's 200 words of my current novel.

If you have time, go and take a look, each entry is only short. If you like mine the best, vote for it. Or send in your own for November.

Thannk you,


Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm in pain

Why? you probably wonder. Well. It started with the idea of meeting a friend who I met on authonomy.
She's a rider who owns two horses. Silly me had the wonderful idea of going for a ride. Needless to say that I never had lessons, apart from one or two odd ones and that was about 15 years ago.
So here we go, nicely and appropriately dressed, I turned up at the station, where she picked me up. I was already super excited to sit in a Land Rover and begged her to let me drive one day. She agreed, more or less reluctantly. But honestly, I'm a good driver.

At the yard, I got introduced to 'my' horse, Chesnut, according to my friend a lovely creature that looks after its novice riders. To be fair, he did. Bless him.
When grooming and saddling was done I mounted under a lot of laughter, because I'm obviously not as bendy as I thought I'd be and off we went into the paddock in order to get a feeling again.

It's safe to say that I really had no chance to make Chesnut move, not one inch. Neither to the right nor left. He just followed my friend who had the exhausting job to run in front to get him into a trot. The steam, I will say, came more from her nostrils rather than from the horse's.
When I felt fit enough, we decided to dip into the forest. I was nervous. What happened if he jumps or balks at something? I would sail inelegantly from his back. My friend went first and Chesnut trotted after him, which was good, no?
I think he has quite a bit of humour since he preferred to walk right under the branches on the left hand side instead of walking where I could sit upright. So my job was ducking under the branches which was, taken into account I'm not familiar with sitting on a horse, quite funny. I laughed a lot and swore likewise.
Once, I got nearly swept off as the branch was a little to strong for me. I managed just about to stay in the saddle.

How it was to sit on a horse after so long? What do you mean, I would ask back, sitting? I lay one the neck of the horse most of the time.
The end of the ride was another hilarious moment and I wished there had been a camera. I hardly managed to get off him and my friend had to catch me, who slid down like a sack of potatoes.

It was great, I admit, the nature, the smells and the peace. Like a holiday. But today, two days after the ride, my muscles ache. A lot. I can't walk properly, but never mind. I will do it again.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tail amputations on green iguanas

Recently, I saw some discussions on a forum, where a very responsible person took the animal to the vet after the young iguana broke its tail. It even turned out to be an open fracture.
It was amputated and all went well.

That's not always the case as I can say from own experience. In April this year, I saw that the tip of Zorro's tail was dying off. It seemed to be due to a hissy tail whip against some hard furniture and it needed amputation. A week after that, he whipped again and bruised the area at the remaining tip, so it died off further and needed another GA and amputation.
All went well, but it wouldn't heal. He was so aggressive that, every time he saw me, he whipped. In addition to that, the timing wasn't really good since he shed a few weeks later. He bled and the stitches came off, leaving the flesh and bone exposed.
Picture taken right after the incident, cleaned and before putting a bandage on.

I'm quite experienced, so I didn't panic, just cleaned it thoroughly and put some sterile bandage on. It wouldn't heal properly and took ages, because due to his whipping, he managed to get the bandage off quite a few times. I changed it every three days and finally, over night, left it open and it was sealed the next day.

It's all tip top now, the vet had a look at my recent visit and he was happy with it.

First aid tip for a broken tail in a younger iguana (or even toes):
This is only first aid to prevent the tail from further damage.

You need a straw (cut into pieces to go well over the break), tissue and desinfection.

Cut the straw-pieces so that you can bend them open. Cover the animal with a towel, if necessary, put it between your legs so it can't move.

Put the tissue carefully around the break, disinfect beforehand. Bend one straw lengthwise around the tissue and do the same with the other one. Fix it with plaster into place.

Make sure there's enough tissue under the straw and so that the skin is not damaged.
I personally don't see the vet immediately when I see it can be fixed by me. I managed to safe the tail of my female which was broken and only hung on one little string. It took ages, but it grew back together, healed and was not to see anymore after that.
If you are not experienced or unsure, always seek a vet's advice.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My dragon had surgery

Today, I brought my iguana to the vet for a post-surgery check up.

Last Tuesday, he got an abscess removed from his snout, a part of his toe amputated and two tiny incisions on his forefoot. As usual, I was worried, who likes to have their pet in surgery? But he's a big and strong boy, super healthy, well, apart from the reason for the visit at the vet, and luckily quite forgiving. A few hours after he woke up, I could collect him and after an hour's journey, he was save and sound, back in his vivarium, eating straight away.
Last time I was to the vet was in May, and up to now, he has put on about two pounds, I was surprised, I must say. It seems, I'm doing everything right with his food. He loves his wild rocket and very fond of blueberries in particular. Bananas are a favourite as well, but I don't feed them too often, since they haven't the best calcium/phosphorus balance.
Have you ever seen an iguana eating a banana? It amazes me every time when I give him one. He's about 17 inches body length and he eats a banana usually quicker than I do. I mean, the whole one, in addition to his normal food, which is about a packet of wild rocket, watercress and blueberries. Some other greens or fruit and veg, of course vary.

The vet said he's doing fine, everything looks good, but I shall keep an eye on his forefoot. After eating a hell of a lot of crispy rocket, Zorro now lies lazily on his shelf, feet dangling down and dozes, not aware of the money I had to pay for him. Keeping an iguana is a damn expensive hobby, but worth every penny, if you ask me.

Sometimes, I wish to have an iguana's life, but without operations.

On the other hand, I quite like to write and that's what I'm doing tonight, with the iguana watching over me, until his lights go out.