A dozen or so years ago, my 17-year-old son Logan, comfortably settled an Eastern box turtle into a cozy spot in our home while I was out of town. The reptile, named Saturn, was a shut-in pet, having existed – happily? – inside a 24-gallon tank for the entirety of its life, which we determined at the time to be about fifteen years.
I wasn’t terribly upset about the new pet. Saturn was, without a doubt, the most interesting animal I’d spent any real time with. Like a child, my curiousity was continuously piqued – although not entirely quelled, and I found myself mesmerized by her Jurassic beauty. I mean, really, she was pretty much a freaking dinosaur – and she lived in my house.
I revelled in feeding time, as her powerful beak slammed upon her prey with fierce pressure. She snapped clean through freeze-dried crickets and fat mealworm, severed body parts hanging out the sides of her mouth as she tossed her head back to reign in the grubs. She pierced fresh cherries with the tip of her sharp beak, leaving blood-like streaks trailing down her chin, her orange eyes occupying a dead, careless stare. She? Was a badass.
We quickly re-Christened her with a name more appropriate to her apparent kill or be-killed persona. This bitch was a warrior, alright, but it was clear by her smug expression that she was also a princess. So? The answer was clear. And she became Xena.
Several years after she assimilated into our homes, Xena flashed a giant black D out the backside, while she stared at me with those beady orange eyes as if to say, “Yeah? So what?” And while we decidedly have a male on our hands, I’ve never actually heard from the horses mouth how she/he identifies so, hey, we’re sticking with they.
In the years since Xena has been a part of our family they have become a shared pet – one who has bounced between all of us, making a home here and there as they go. (But for once, as I traveled abroad for sometime, they landed at a friend’s house- for which I am so so very grateful!!) So Xena has become our therapy pet, an androgynous family mascot, a great conversation starter.
I began this blog with the intention of re-homing the weird little goblin. My goal was to write with intent to sell their good looks and great personality on possible takers. And it seems my words are already working their magic on a would-be taker: Me. So, maybe until I hit the road again they can hang with me a bit longer….