Adoption Day

Well I did it. I adopted Angel today! I am over joyed, yet fearful at the same time. I have been alone so long and have enjoyed being free to do what I wanted when I wanted. Now I have a responsibility that I take very serious.

Angel at the shelter
Angel at the shelter

Iguanas can live up to 20 years and that is a long, long time. Just to think that I have actually done it. The pain I suffered when I lost Babe was so hard to endure. The last years of his life are still imprinted on me.

Am I really ready for this?

100_2461The reality is I have to be ready. There is no way I can turn my back on Angel, it is no longer an option and I realize that now. The anxiety I have gone through in knowing she was living at the shelter is too much for me and I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I walked away from her. I’m her only hope and I know that. The only thing that pulls me thru this is that I know St. Francis has a plan for me. That he is the one that helped guide her spirit to me. That there is a reason for all this.

Perhaps it will fuel my purpose in life and to teach others to communicate with spirit within all of God’s creatures. It looks like this is what’s happening.

The coming days will require alot of patience, a virtue I lack in. My friend Eda, prepared me hold tight and get ready for the ride. I hope I am up to it because there is no turning back now.

I picked her up during my lunch break and she was amazingly calm during the drive home. Even driving under the overpasses didn’t spook her as they normally would. She could feel my positive energy and her mind was waking up and filling with interesting thoughts again. I had a harness on her and she allowed me to take her from the dash and gently pick her up without hesitation. I was amazed!


I brought her to her room, but the enormous size of it made her uncomfortable. She is used to being in a small confined space and she needs to feel secure. I placed a blanket in a drawer in gave her a cubby to hide in. She went at once  and hid.  I didn’t disturb her, she had a right to privacy and it was something she need terribly. She had been on display with no place to hide for nearly half a year and that is a very long time for any creature.

Angel's first morning

I set out  food, turned on her lights and electric blanket on  and went to work.

When I returned I found books scatted on the floor from the bookcase above. She had climb up and wedged herself a safe place to sleep. I put on my gloves and p brought her to my room. I had prepared a sleeping spot for her in a drawer. I placed an electric blanket in side and put the temperature on a low setting.  I delighted that she hopped in and slept all night. It was a good beginning.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings. 🙂

Day 1 – Showing her Love

Angel_24 105_2510 webThe first thing she does on rising is go to the bathroom. I  clean it up and make a noise that she will associate potty to in the future. I show her the paper towel and make the noise. I tell her it is OK, she is good.

I bring her into the shower, place her there and put the paper towel with the poo on it near her. I make the noise again. I praise her and tell her this is where she is to go potty.

101_3140I allow her to exit the shower on her own. In entering the room, her body bends back and she extends her tail as to warn me of attack. She processed to run and hide behind a pillow. I pick her up and place her in the sunny window. She dashes to the window and forcefully rubs her nose to escape.

At this point I remember not to let her get close to my face, her claws are sharp and can do damage, she has teeth and could bite. Not showing fear, I just remind myself to be aware and keep her away from my face and head.

I pet her and talk to her calmly. She is very frightened and squirming to get away. Gentle force keeps her near. I can not let her win yet. I release her when she is calmed, remove my hands from her body and allow her freedom. She waits for a bit, the dashes off the bed and into the corner.

I bring her breakfast in the room, cut it up and arrange is in a pretty way, I let her watch me. I move the food from side to side and watch her eyes follow it, I have her attention. I do mediation and whispering for about 5-10 minutes.

Angel_09 100_3032 websmallerWhen I open my eyes I gaze at her, I pick up some of the food and place it as if it is growing from my hand. My palm is down, the food is coming from the top of my hand, this is so the fingers are not a threat. She runs. I take time in retrieving her, but she is cornered and afraid.

Still I pick her up and press her to my body for her to be still. I tell her she is good, touch the food dish, let her eyes watch me move the plate. I leave her and return later. She has eaten.

Tomorrow will be another day.

Day 4 – Frustration


Working with my shelter girl Angel has given me a new perspective on a “Wild” iguana. She must have been treated so badly in her past that taming her is a going to be a commitment.  I think the reason God put her in my life is to comprehend the ultimate struggle of other in their taming the most frightened and unruly Iggy.

100_2460It’s going to take time, repetition and a lot of patience.

Whispering once a day produces amazing results. I am witnessing that. After our meeting of the minds, she begins to calm and for about an hour we are in harmony and all is good.

She lies next to me and we rest together.  She allows me to pet her and hold her. We relax with eyes closed and when finished, she walks gently and slowly away from me. But then her old habits and instincts kick in and it seems the progress is short-lived.

I become disappointed in my efforts. I so hope a miracle could occur and just eliminate all her past memories of abuse, but it doesn’t work that way. She is about a year and a half old, which make her about a 4 or 5 year old in human age.

I get frustrated and just like a child, she need lines drawn. She needs a strong “No” and a firm grip to understand bad behavior. I would like to just be a nice Pollyanna, but this doesn’t teach her right from wrong.

Being in the room with her and just talking things out, seems to help as well. It is the energy of the conversation and the thoughts you throw at them that are amazingly absorbed when your minds are focused. Food offerings and car rides prove to keep her from concentrating on efforts to escape from the confines of the house and gives her the stimulation she craves.

All she really wants to do right now is get out of the house and run away. Yes, all she wants is escape. Since she’s probably been  a stray for most of her life, freeeom is all she craves. Domesticating her will take time and I am in for the long haul.

At night I find it hard to put her to bed. I want her to sleep in safe in a half open drawer, instead of cold hiding under a piece of furniture on the dusty floor. I have a small electric blanket and try to introduce her to it. She fights it. She is head stong and wants to sleep where no one can find her. She just feels safer that way. We have to figure this out and I hope soon cuz it causes stress for both of us.

100_3039One night she found refuge on a blanket on top of a rocking chair, this was ok with me, I placed the blanket over her and she slept there all till the morning. I was thrilled and hopeful that she would return to the same place the next night, but she didn’t. She has a need to sleep in a new place every night. Perhaps in the wild this was safer for her and it worked well, but it isn’t working for me. She has to be kept warm, she is sneezing a lot and I fear she has a cold. So every night the struggle continues.

I am very frustrated.

Day 9 – Overcoming her Past Trama

Days are improving; she is beginning to allow me to pick her up from the floor without fussing. When she sees me walking towards her as she lays in her spot in the window, she instinctively rubs her nose on the window trying to escape. to rub thru the glass, but she isn’t darting about like she used to. She has taken food from my hand a few times, and seemed to enjoy being fed.

I can now release her at the bathroom door and she walks across the floor to the shower and goes in by herself. She goes potty and waits for me. I praise her and make an abundant hoop-la-la.

This extreme enthusiasm must be played out again and again anytime she does something right. This positive vibration of energy feeds her spirit. Happiness abounds inside as she begins to see an avenue of communication. This understanding is the beginning of respect.

Angel's first morningWith Angel bedtime is the hardest thing ever. About 4 pm she insists on finding a place to sleep. I set up a nice warm, comfomfy cozy place and she wants no part of it. She prefers to squeeze and nudge into some cold corner of the room. It is unacceptable to me because I want her temperature to be constant. I set up a drawer that is private and warm and secure. I put her in, she gets out. I put her in, she gets out. Over and over again. It is so frustrating. Eventually she accepts her bed and falls asleep.

Another big issue is night terrors, She jumps out of the drawer in the middle of night and runs aimlessly in the dark, hitting the wall, simply dazed and confused. I turn on the light; pick her up gently with the upmost care. I hold her and comfort her. Her heart is pounding. I can hear her breath as she breaths heavily. She has had a bad nightmare and it shows she’s had trauma in her life. This girl has had a rough time. Whether it was at the hands of a human or an attack by another animal, her scars show it and her night terrors prove it.

It is important that I keep this in mind. At the same times, lines have to be drawn and she needs to know that I am the Alpha. This will come in time, but for now I need to restrain from anger and if I become frustrated and hit a road block I do one thing.. I put on the harness and allow her some outdoor time in the yard.

Day 10 – “I Am Smarter Than an Iguana!”

Today it seems to be getting harder, not easier. We are playing tug of war with who is the Alpha.

My mantra is “I’m smarter than an iguana”, I keep repeating it as I iguana proof her hiding spots and provide her with ones more manageable to me. I try to keep a sense of humor in this as I surround the base of the bed with cardboard. That little sucker is not going to hide under that bed again! I am smarter than and iguana!

I’m getting frustrated but I realize things will be difficult for the first weeks, but day by day things are improving, she is learning. She exhibits intelligence and curiosity, I’m pleased she is smarter than most, but at the same time I realize this makes my task harder. “I’m smarter than an iguana; I’m smarter than an iguana…”

Last night was difficult; I made a mistake. I lost it and yelled at her. I was at my wits end and got frustrated with lack of appreciation of such a nice, safe, warm spot in the drawer.

I told her she was so lucky, that I was trying so hard, and without any appreciation. I threatened to take her back to the shelter. (not that I would, but it was the energy stream that I wanted her to feel). She felt the message and it was proven by the fact that she amazing went to bed and was quiet as a lamb all night.

Obviously I had gotten her attention.

But the next morning she had taken two steps back by my scolding. The progress I made was scarred by my impatience and I had to do something positive to reverse it.

I figured she had been her week, it was time to get her out and go for a ride, and do something fun together. I put on her harness and tested it in the house to make sure it was secure.

In the car I made her ride near me and she began to be content and OK with this. We drove east instead of west. She hadn’t gone this way before and she was intrigued.

We visited a house where they were selling an enclosure. I took her in with me to see it. I place her inside, though I knew it was too small. She explored and then came out and clinged to me. It showed she accepted me as her protector in this strange environment.

This proves that someday this behavior will be common place. I am so looking forward to that day. We spent about an hour out driving and then I brought her home.

I drove up to Oceanside, nearly an hour away to see another enclosure. It was a EXOTERRA, the rolls Royce of enclosures, the price was right. I fell in love with it bought it, It was so large that I had to rent a truck from Home Depot to get it home. It took me a total of 5 hours and my angel of a neighbor helped me get it out of the turck and into my garage. It will take time to set up; but I have found the only spot it will fit. It is 36x36x18 and it is a dream vivarium. I hope she likes it and appreciates it.

Found a trampoline net on craigslist and God willing, it will be mine to enclose the outdoor habitat I’m trying to build for the spring.

When I got home, Angel was sleeping in a corner of the room; I had blocked off all hiding spots so I wouldn’t be so frustrated in finding her. I put her in the drawer with a warm blanket and she was much better at falling asleep.

Her excursion of the day proved helpful Being tired seems to help her chill out. Maybe she just needs to have a good memory to look back at the end of the day. Something that made her feel the day was complete and not wasted, just like we all do.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Week Two – Angel’s New Home Sweet Home!


I finally found a beautiful Exo-terra extra-large terrarium for Angel. I have placed it the corner of the family room and will decorate today. I want her to have a hiding spots and basking spots. I don’t want her to feel like she is on display ever again!! I hope she will find happiness and security and accepts this as her own.Angel in her new cage

The home is a hit! She has taken to it beyond all my expectations. My fear was putting her into an enclosure would make her feel fenced in , but it is just the opposite for her. Being kept in a small enclosure for so long, she relishes the security of intimate space. It is her first taste of luxury.

I allowed her to watch me put the branches in and decorate it. I opted to remove the Styrofoam back so she couldn’t crawl to the top screen mesh and lamps above. Once complete, she slowly walked over to investigate; she struggled to get in and allowed me to offer her a hand. Once in she explored for hours.

When I put my hand inside to adjust things, she let me and didn’t run. She had the realization that “Is this for me?” Could this be mine?” Maybe I am going to live here now… Maybe our love is here to stay.”

Angel in her new cage

It was an amazing thing. With her mind content and curious, she stayed in the enclosure the entire afternoon and fell asleep high up on the corner branch. For night heat I am using a ceramic bulb, but it still seems inadequate.  I am working on how to keep her above 80 degrees. I always kept Babe as warm as I was.

The next day she wouldn’t leave her home. She didn’t eat but one bite of food. I did bring her to the shower and she pottied. I praised her, held her and dried her and noticed she was cold. I held her close and warmed her on me and blew my warm breath on her dewlap. She seemed to enjoy it, as did I.

I took the opportunity to Whisper with her.

Angels first shower

In a half hour she was calm and refreshed and our minds were on the same page. I released my grip and allowed her to walk slowly away. Her instinct to run kicked in a bit, but was diluted. She explored the couch and found a hiding place under the cushions. I attempted to place an electric blanket over her so she could cuddle in, but she didn’t like that.

I brought her back to the enclosure and placed a branch outside to make it easy to climb into. She saw me do it, got excited, went inside and climbed onto her branch. She looks for shelter about 3:30pm, so I put a nice soft blanket on her branch, so she would have something soft to lie on. I felt it would also warm nicely from the ceramic heater over her head. I flipped the switch on and left her alone for the rest of the night, periodically checking on her warmth and comfort.angle on her branch

I think I made brownie points today!


Week 3 – First trip to the Beach

A friend and I took Angel to the beach! It was a beautiful January day and Angel was all excited with joy!

Beach 101_3211 web

It was the first time she had gone and she really enjoyed getting out and seeing that there was more than a cage at the shelter and the home she is so fighting to accept
I was worried about her behavior since it has only been a couple weeks. I  was also anxious cuz this is a dear friend I don’t see often and wasn’t sure how she was going to behave. I was thankful and grateful for her generous spirit of letting her come along.


I wore a large warm fleece oversized sweater and placed her underneath. I harnessed her and leashed her and hid her underneath. I wrapped my neck as not to get any scratches, preparing myself so in case she acted up I wouldn’t act like it was all that big of a deal. Didn’t want my friend to have a bad impression of her.

I know there would be a lot of ooh and awes and she isn’t ready to be petted and handled without fear of her biting or misbehaving.

beach 101_3206 web

We had coffee and sat on a bench. She wanted to explore and I let her free on the leash. She proceeded to walk out the entire 25 feet and then begin to try to run and escape from the harness, alligator rolled and the. I continued to bring her back and she was over all OK, but needed pliantly of babysitting

We walked a good miles down the beach. It was cold and windy so she sat secured under my sweater, peeking her head out.
She ventured onto my hat and I allowed her tine in the sun as we walked.

Beach 101_3215 web

It bonded us and although, she still wanted to get out and be away from me and find her own life, One day she will realize to simply enjoy the experience. That outings are fine, but there is no place like home.

With time she will come to understand this.

beach 101_3204 web

Week 3 – Beginning to Bond

BoToday it has been 3 weeks. She bobbed for the first time yesterday!! The head bobbing was encouraging; she sure acts like a boy! Our routine on my days off is the following:

Her morning begins with a warm greeting. I check to see if she is warm and she is still frightened of being touched. The ceramic heat bulb with the heat rope wrapped on her branch is working well, but she is only about 80 and for me that is just not warm enough. I need to make some sort of cubby. She sneezes and snalts too much for me not to be concerned.


I place her food on the bottom of the enclosure. I then sit down on the couch and then let her watch me eat my breakfast. Intrigued, and with a big, big appetite she come down to eat too, and this is the first stage of bonding.

About 10 am I take her to the shower. She potties and soaks in a tub of water, I bought a kitty litter box and it is working well.

I hold and warm her afterwards for about 20 minutes. I take this time to whisper with her.

Afterwards her pampering I offer her fresh greens and 4 grapes dipped in calcium powder. These are currently her favorite treat. It is a great way to insure she gets her supplements too.

During the day I work at my computer as she watches from her home. I vacuum her cage, do chores, and go on errands. If the weather is right I will take her with me,

On sunny days I take her outside with her harness on. I set up a branch high atop an arbor and she enjoys the view. She is good for about an hour, then the curiosity of the yard is too much for her and she begins to wander.