Jazz, a species of lizard I can’t recall, and crickets

Dog and lizard sitting for a friend didn't end up so well

A conversation the other night with a friend’s wife prompted me to share a story about the travails of watching other people’s pets.

She suggested it may work for a column and because I was feeling the dreaded deadline squeeze, here you go, with a shake of a stick, a wag of the tail and a chirp-out to Janice.

While I was in journalism school, former housemates Brian and Donna asked if I could watch their dog for a week.

She was a two-year-old, well-behaved, sweet as syrup Sheltie named Jazz, so I didn’t hesitate until they showed up with some kind of lizard in a cage they assured me would be no trouble at all; just drop some kale and a couple of crickets into the cage and change the water every day.

I was as lonely as a single journalism student can be so Jazz, along with the lizard, was a friendly addition to the bachelor suite I called home between classes.

I got up an hour earlier each day and took Jazz to the park, where she repeatedly retrieved a ball with bottomless energy and enthusiasm until it was time to drag my ragged ass to class.

Another session of ball followed at the end of each day, leaving my arm throbbing from thumb to shoulder until the next session.

Brian picked up the pets late one evening, and I fell into a deep, relaxed slumber, secure in the knowledge I could sleep in an hour longer the next morning.

Unfortunately, Brian phoned an hour after I went to bed to say that the foot-long lizard, of which approximately nine inches was tail, was neither in the cage nor the van when he got home, and Donna was as concerned as any doting reptile-loving wife could be.

The next few days involved fruitless searches followed by occasional sightings, but no luck capturing the little rascal until I was getting dressed one morning and found the critter asleep on my jeans.

After heart-stopping moments that left me feeling like a carny wrestling an alligator, I finally got him by the tail and into a box I had set aside for that purpose.

I insisted that Brian pick him up that evening and went to bed exhausted, but peacefully relieved to be alone again. Or so I thought, right up until a couple of crickets started chirping in the closet.

I spent at least an hour every night for a week hunting them by flashlight, a task made even more taxing because of the cricket-coloured shag carpeting.

Eventually, after too many nights of angry camping, I starved them out or they made a run for the great outdoors.

Either way, I can guarantee you that I will never sign up for lizardsitting again, no matter how desperate my best friends may be.

•••

Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire ban implimented in Sooke, throughout province in response to COVID-19

More regulations can be expected as governments aim to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus

Advocates call safe drug supply a victory but worry about logistics in pandemic

Pandemic contributes to scarce supply, advocates worried about potential impact on the streets

Greater Victoria survey shows third of respondents did not pay, or partially paid rent for April

Survey of 70 respondents says 40 per cent expect they will not be able to pay May rent

Vikes Maffia, Mollenhauer among annual athletic award winners

UVic Vikes release annual athletic awards

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

75-year-old woman rescued from Cowichan Lake

Victim taken to hospital, but expected to recover

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game with an Island map developed by Island family just the remedy for filling time at home

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read