Update as of 4/16/21: We are getting a second Leo! He will be named Smaul Simon, and he is perfect in every way. He's a rescue with a little bit of a deformity, but that's why I fell in love with him
I got my leopard gecko, Athena, 5 and a half years ago. I know this because she was a birthday present to myself. My original birthday present plan was to get a fish. One fish. A singular fish. When I walked into PetSmart, though, I noticed a "for sale" sticker on the leopard gecko tank. Normally they were about forty dollars, but the sticker announced they were selling for six. When I asked a sales attendant why they were so inexpensive, she replied, "because they're old." When I asked what would happen to them if they didn't sell, she said, "we have to get rid of them." Now, I don't know if that means donating them to a school classroom, or something more foreboding, but I decided that I was going to take one of those geckos home with me. I asked if there were any female geckos in the tank. There was only one. I said I'd take it.
And then I had Athena. And a tank...and lights, light fixtures, lizard-safe tank turf, a few fake plants, and a water dish, as well as a pretty hefty receipt and a packed car trunk.
I had no idea how to care for a leopard gecko. I'm pretty sure I was given a pamphlet with an underwhelming amount of information (and some disinformation), so I went to Google and a bunch of reptile forums. I did my best to feed and care for her, and I learned a lot along the way. This will be our sixth year together. I don't know her actual age, since she was simply "old" when I got her, but my best guess is that she's 7.
She's quiet, fairly low maintenance and eats roaches (weirdo), but she's actually improved my life incredibly. On days where I felt depressed, I had a reason to get up and walk to the Pet Store. When I felt socially awkward during visits, she was a great conversation piece. On days where I'm feeling lonely, she's fun to talk to. I always laugh when I feed her, because she's so animated. Her eyes get wide, she whips her tail, and pounces like lion...but she's tiny, so it's hilarious. And get this: if I continue to take good care of her, she'll live 15-20 years. Wild, right? But then again, lizards are sort of like little dinosaurs. I can't wait to be a 40 year old gecko lady. By then, hopefully I'll have another, too. (Hint, hint.)
The infuriating thing about how much I love her is that she takes to John more than me. I tell myself it's because he runs warm, but let's be honest, who doesn't like John? She got sick for awhile, and she would only let him give her medicine. It was really sweet to watch. I could probably write another whole blog post about how crazy it is to take a gecko to the vet, but again, I'm always learning. Reptiles are so cool.
Athena is currently giving me her signature one-eye-closed glare from her tank, since I interrupted her evening antics, as I usually do, now that I wake up at 7am. She was used to being a night creature, like me, but now we're all content in our confusion around here, I think.
Do you have a pet, and if so, what comforts has it brought you?
Until tomorrow, stay well, stay safe, and stay kind.