My poor brother. His Uromastyx died today. It is hard to see him have to deal with another pet loss...you might remember Fred the chameloen who died earlier in the year.
While the death of Fred was a struggle within the animal kingdom and a case of survival of the fittest, poor Malie's demise was ultimately due to gravity. He had started a digging expedition on a scale that we had not seen before. Sometime between 5pm when I last saw him moving about in my brother's room and 11pm when my brother discovered him after work, Malie had dug underneath a slate rock fixture in his tank. The slate was shifted and apparently crashed down upon Malie's neck and snapped it.
Jimmy is inconsolable. He was expecting to have Malie with him for the next 18-20 years. He also loved Malie more than any other pets that he has had. I loved Malie too, and it will be strange not to go into my brother's room and call his name out. "Maa-lie! Malie, Malie, Malie!" (He would pop his head up and look at you whenever you did that.) Some of you who have been to the house have met Malie. His personality was infectious, he was inquisitive and playful, it was like we had a puppy dog trapped inside a lizard's body. He even had a leash.
When Fred died, Jimmy was able to have his anger. His anger at the frog who ate Fred helped him get through it. This time he doesn't have that. Malie was just being Malie and something bad happened. It was oddly disconcerting to watch my brother weep and wail, sitting on the bathroom floor clutching Malie to his chest--Malie's head just sort of flopped backwards at an strange angle. And while my heart wanted to be there consoling my little brother, I couldn't watch him....so I called my Mom instead to tell her the news.
Luckily Jimmy is out with a friend who will hopefully be able to cheer him up or console him or whatever he needs right now. I am trying to get over the emotion of the situation so that I can go back to sleep. Not only does Jimmy's pets need to stop dying in tragic ways, but they also need to not do it when I am in a dead (excuse the pun) sleep. The house doesn't feel the same way it did after Fred died though. Maybe because this death was a more natural one. It is at times like these that I wonder how I will take it when my turtles will die. But I've been waiting for them to die for years. I find it hard to watch them grow into this really old age that they are in.
I'm not sure which is worse. The slow decline and dying of an old animal, or the swift death of a new pet in the family. For Jimmy, the loss of Malie goes deeper than I even realized. Jimmy has asked me to look into cremation services for Malie. I've found a couple of places that I will call in the morning. For the moment, Malie is inside the shoebox that my wedding heels were in, and the box is inside our deep freeze. Yes....and the crass joke that we all want to make, is that by morning we will have a lizard Popsicle in there. So you can laugh now since I made the joke. Humor gets me through these types of things, but I don't think that it will work this time with Jimmy.
Replacing Malie is going to be hard. Not only because of the special place that he filled in our hearts, but because Uromastyxs are hard to come by in general. Jimmy will have to wait until September for the Reptile Expo to get new ones. In fact just before he had discovered Malie, he was saying goodnight to me and wistfully telling me about how he was excited that he was going to be able to get Malie some friends to play with. Jimmy also (as within the past two days) just started a Uromastyx website and forum- he bought the domains and everything. He also has about 5 books on Uromastyxs coming in the mail. I guess that we will have to deal with those things when they come up, but the pain from Malie's loss is going to last a while.
So in the meantime, I am going to find some photos of Malie to put into this post, and continue with my research into pet cremation options. I guess that I could add pet funeral director to my resume.