The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.  ~Robert Flat

Resurrection means rising from the dead or the revival of something old or unused. It can also mean recovery.

We are taught Christ died to save us from our sins. I am thankful for this sacrifice but there is more to it than that. His death and rising teaches that when you touch the bottom of life you can push-off and reach the surface again.  In the midst of such horror and despair there is positivity.

The little Chinese Water Dragon had its own resurrection this week so I think it appropriate to talk about it on today of all days. I don’t think God will mind.

When Tracey asked me if we could take the little dragon the key phrase she used was “Jane doesn’t have the money to feed her anymore.” Jane is not her real name but it’ll do. I knew there might be problems but I was totally unprepared for what came through my front door.

Her little body was so thin and dried out due to malnutrition and dehydration I really thought she was dead when they brought her in. The container she was in was full of dirt and bugs were crawling all over her. This was evidently the feeding tank. Ugh! 

I had Tracey empty the thing outside in the woods immediately. There may have been things in there she could have eaten but I wasn’t willing to try to separate the can haves from the can’t haves. Some of those bugs were ones I didn’t recognize and they looked like they were from outside which is a big no-no. 

Gag, I hate bugs. Shuddering here. I was a bit puzzled by the ‘feeding tank’ until I saw the actual wire cage. I’m guessing the bugs crawled out before the lizard could eat them so they came up with feeding her in a separate area.

The first thing we did was look over the little dragon. Jane had told Tracey that her eyes had been closed for over a week and had not eaten for about that long. When we looked at her eyes we realized there were hairs sticking out of them. At first we thought they were cats hairs and some of them may have been.

We tried to pull them out with  tweezers but they wouldn’t budge. Her little eyes were glued shut with gunk. So I got some antibiotic eye ointment I keep on hand for all of our animals and put it on her eyes to help loosen up the gunk.

Next I decided we needed to hydrate her. So we took the now clean container and covered the bottom with warm water and let her soak in it. Chinese ‘Water’ Dragon. Duh! We did rinse her eyes with the water, too.

Once the water cooled we took her out, dried her off and tried again to pull the hair out of her eyes. By then her color was better and she was a bit more active. It took us over an hour to clean her eyes and there was still stuff in there when we stopped. We worried about her sight but all we could do was put more salve on there and hope.

Tracey checked her all night long, I checked her all night long. Each time we checked we expected she might have died. We pulled out hairs as they surfaced. By Thursday morning Tracey and I were exhausted and only had two or three hours sleep at most.

Bless her heart, Tracey went on to work and I got my dad to help me doctor and soak the little dragon some more . Paul was working third this week so I tried hard not to disturb him. The little dragon opened both her eyes for me and I was so pleased to see that I slapped some more ointment on them.

You know I was flying by the seat of my pants. We’ve had lizards but not all lizards are the same. Dino was a healthy Iguana lizard, Sphinx and Ra were healthy Leopard Gecko lizards except when Sphinx got egg bound and I took her to the vet for that.

I was scared spitless I was going to finish this poor thing off because what did I know about Chinese Water Dragons or their needs? Much less one so ill. Wednesday was a long night. I did some hard thinking along with research and made a decision. It really was a no brainer but it was hard.

Have you ever dealt with rescue groups? They are an awesome group of people dedicated to saving the species of their choice. Often more than one species. We’ve had dealings with them before when John’s parents found a fancy rat wandering around their home. They definitely didn’t want her so we took her off their hands.

At the time we had Weasley (ferrets eat rats) and really no more room and so I contacted a rat rescue group in Durham. Patrick met me in Burlington, took her home and kept me updated. She was with him about two weeks before she found a forever home.

That’s the decision I made. To give her to people who could help her more than I could. It would have been one thing if Lucky had been healthy. Lucky because we hope we got to her in time and to add some positivity to the situation.

I expected an animal that needed a little work, difficult but doable. But with Lucky, I was way in over my head and I knew it so I contacted the Turtle and Reptile Rescue Center during the night.

Chad called me Thursday morning and we talked a long time. It was evident to me he knew what he was about and that reinforced my decision. He helped me to determine if she could still see and because she was following me around with her head I was sure she could. That was one worry down.

On her way home Tracey picked up crickets from Pet Smart. Lucky had to be hand fed but she ate just about every one of the dozen Tracey got for her. That was another worry down. She was still interested in eating. Tracey pulled more hairs out of her eyes and mouth.

Thursday evening we took her to the rescue center in Winston Salem. It is the home of Chad and Christina; they are wonderful people who took us on a tour to see their  their animals. All were in excellent, clean environments.

Chad advised me she was a girl then the next thing they did was put Lucky in water. Their next objective is to get Lucky’s digestive system working again.

We talked for a long time and I left them with a donation to help buy supplies for Lucky. As far as habitats were concerned they were all set. Their basement was full of cages and aquariums of all shapes and sizes.

By the way they thought the hairs in Lucky’s mouth and eyes was coconut fiber from what I described to them. It was lying on the bottom of the wire cage. They said it does get in the eyes and mouth. Usually the animal is able to wash it out themselves with water but because none was available this didn’t happen.

Except when in the pet store Lucky’s environmental conditions were not right for her species and then the poor food fed to her all contributed to her abysmal condition. The poor thing was so weak. She could move around but for a limited amount of time then she would collapse into a stupor. It was heartbreaking to see.

Lucky is just over a year old per what we were told by Jane. For an animal her age she should be about two feet or longer. Her length? About ten inches with legs like toothpicks when they should be muscular for swimming and climbing.

As I mentioned the cage sent to my home was a wire one and actually a very nice one. It just was not the right one for an animal who requires high humidity and is as at home in the water as much as she is on land.

You see it was ignorance and poverty that nearly killed Lucky and may still do so. She’s not out of the woods yet, by any means.

Ignorance because the right equipment necessary for Lucky’s survival was not used and apparently no research was done to verify what was needed. Poverty because Jane did not have the means to provide the right food and equipment even if she was aware of them. I have to believe this wasn’t done with willful intent. Surely not.

Lizards can not generate their own heat. As far as I know this is true for the majority of reptiles. All reptiles require heat, a uvb light and a way to bask without injuring themselves. This is required because you can feed them the best food in the world but without these minimum requirements they can not digest it.

Lucky had none of those things. Oh, yes there was light and heat but no shelf.  The heat and light couldn’t reach her and she couldn’t reach the fricking heat or light.

The cage is approximately five foot tall with heat and light on the top but the heat could not be held in the cage and with no basking shelf there was no way to get close enough to soak in the heat and light.

She was literally starving within feet of what she needed to survive. The light provides the D3 her body requires to break down the calcium essential to her digestive system. It could have been easily fixed except for ignorance and yes, negligence.

The other essential for her was humidity and again the cage was completely inappropriate for this. The need for swimming could have been gotten around by a soak in the tub.  You can see her in the correct environment here.

Chad said he couldn’t guarantee she would make it. He also said because her immune system has been so compromised that she could seem to be healthy but two years from now drop dead.

Christina fell in love with her. I would not mind at all if they kept Lucky because she would be in an excellent home. They said they would keep us updated.

I am absolutely sure she is not the only animal to suffer thus. It breaks my heart.

To what point can someone plead ignorance? At what point does ignorance become criminal negligence?

In my mind this is criminal. Jane knew Tracey and I had experience with lizards. She never once asked us. If nothing else we would have looked it up online. This whole thing has the feel of a used toy being tossed to the side: “Well it’s broke now so I don’t want it any more.”

It might have appeared Lucky was broke but I don’t believe that. She’s a fighter and when we left her coloring was much better, her stomach had filled out just a bit and she was more alert. She even swam some before flipping over and had to be rescued.  

So today I celebrate two resurrections. That of Jesus Christ who willingly gave his life and of Lucky who gets a second chance because God made it possible.

Speaking of rescues I do have an update on Katara coming up. She is doing wonderfully and I can’t wait to share. I had the blog ready but then Marti updated me with some interesting news so I wanted to wait and see how that played out before I posted.

Happy Easter.


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diane
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 02:09:21

    Great news! I hope she continues to improve more each day.
    Also looking forward to the update on Katara.


  2. Diane
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 03:41:44

    I forgot to say that some humans treat their children just like this person treated the dragon, which is why we have child care departments in each state in Australia, and why there is a high demand for foster families to volunteer their time to improve the health and minds of some of our young citizens.

    Oh, if I could only tell some of the stories of some of the children I raised once they were rescued from their own parents! You would use a box of tissues for each story.


    • Angela/Curiocat
      Apr 26, 2011 @ 01:58:38

      The elderly, children and animals are the most vulnerable in a our society and it seems as though they are the least protected. We have foster care for them all here in the states, too. It’s just getting them into protection before permanent harm occurs that can be heartbreaking.
      Bless you for caring enough to foster those kids who needed it.


  3. Shellie Sakai
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 07:45:35

    I am so happy for Lucky and you. I will pray for her continued well being.

    Thanks for the update and Happy Easter.


  4. Tracey
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 13:13:35

    Thanks mom.


  5. Ruth
    Apr 24, 2011 @ 15:36:44

    Angela, Paul, Tracey & Holly all have hearts of gold. They can’t stand to see a living creature suffer. They all are an example of the highest form of compassion and caring. Not only are they good to animals of all kinds but they are equally caring about people. The tender care they gave to Paul’s sister Donna and the entire family during the end of her life is evidence of that.

    Wishing you all a blessed day, the renewal of life is such a blessing that the Divine gives us each spring.

    Hugs and love to you all,



  6. Angela/Curiocat
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 02:06:17

    Just a short update. Lucky hasn’t eaten since we fed her Thursday but she is a bit more active. Her eyes are still puffy and irritated. Chad says he’ll keep us updated. Pls continue to pray.


  7. Damian Trasler
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 14:18:08

    It’s amazing how cavalier society can be about the welfare of animals. Rescue centres are so careful about finding the right homes for their animals, but almost anyone can buy anything from a pet store and take it home to a life of horror and neglect. That the same is true of some parents with their children is something I hate to think about. I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have passed any licencing test for parenting, but I’ve muddled through and got three healthy and moderately sane Weasels as a result. Can I get a retrospective licence, do you think?


  8. Trackback: Tracey Is Fine « Curiocat is… Angela McGill

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