Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Additions... the household were inevitable - I guess. Some I was expecting, and another well it came as sort of a surprise. Yesterday, mid morning, was on the chilly side, not much wind to speak of but damp and dreary, with a steady light rain falling. I was waiting for a package to arrive via UPS overnight, and was promised it would arrive before 1030. Around 0940, I asked my wife to stay on the lookout for the UPS truck so I could go upstairs and shower, to get ready for work. Her response really surprised me when she said: "Its outside by the side door, the UPS guy just left it there." No knock on the front door, no knock on the side door, a car in our driveway so even a 10 year old may have suspected someone was at home, and this guy leaves my package containing 6 Dwarf Bearded Chameleons on my side steps in 40 degree temperatures! I almost flew through the door, grabbed the box, and brought them inside to warm em up. Now these guys being from a mountain range in Africa, one that has mountains over 8,000 feet tall, are used to somewhat cooler temps than many other lizards, but the 40s are a bit low for them.

I got the box open quick, took out the deli cups - two of them - one holding 2 males, and the other holding 4 females, and started to put them into their new tanks. Then wham, I noticed right off, before I even picked up the first one, that one of the females was DOA. Funny, the others looked no worse the wear for the trip they had just made to my place overnight from FL Chams in Florida. I checked through the box, and there was a heat pack in there to keep them warm enough, and it was still warm! I doubt very much that the one died from cold. The other felt not warm to the touch but not cold either. Sort of room temp, which was right at 68. I wondered if the heat pack had made it too warm for them, but I don't know.

Well, I had other things to do instead of wonder about why one had died. I got the other 5 of them into their setups, all planted nicely so they could crawl about on thin vines. The substrate in the tanks was sphagnum moss on which they could crawl about, and which maintains a good moisture level to help keep up the humidity a bit. Not as much as for something like a Dart Frog mind you, but these guys coming from mountains covered in forests like it kind of on the humid side as compared to many other old world chameleons. Once they were all set up in their tanks, I got an email off to the dealer. I took a couple of pics of the DOA chameleon, and attached them to the email. I had a refund in about 5 minutes, well a conditional one anyhow. No conditions for me, but due to not enough funds in the dealer's account to fund the refund. Oh well, as long as it shows up in a couple of days I will not mind. Then I was off to work.

Last night when I got home from work, must have been 10PM, I was taking off my shoes by the side entrance and heard my wife and daughter talking in the living room. Then I heard my daughter giggle, and I looked up into the face of Brownie! Thank goodness she had not rounded the corner with any speed and run into me because I would have tumbled down the cellar stairs just like Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall; and the way my joints have felt lately, you would not have been able to put me together again either. Brownie was the bit of a surprise, the new addition that I sort of had not expected. We had looked at dogs at the North Hempstead Animal Shelter this past weekend, and Brownie (soon to have a new name) was the one there that we really liked. Despite my telling my wife this was the dog for us, and I was as sure as anyone looking at a dog in the pound could be about adopting it, my wife insisted on going to the ASPCA shelter in Manhattan saying she would not make up her mind fast. So off we were in the Corolla to the ASPCA to look at other dogs.

At the ASPCA we waited hours before we were able to see a dog I had seen a there a few days before. Then they would not let me socialize with it because Linda was not with me, nor were my other dogs. This time we got up close and personal, and found Mandy, a silver/gray colored supposed Labrador - Weimaraner mix to be quite playful. The thing was she had been adopted previously, then returned to the ASPCA because of bad behavior. Well so too had Brownie been adopted and returned to the North Hempstead Animal Shelter, but for another reason. Brownie had been born at said shelter. She was adopted as a puppy by a couple with a new born child. They thought it would be great to have their kid grow up with a dog. I guess they never thought of how the dog would outpace the child, and at between 10 to 11 months old, Brownie was overwhelming the child being playful with it. Back to the pound for her - or so went the story we were given by the ladies at the shelter. They seemed honest enough, and each of three ladies had the same story about; more than I can say for the differing stories I got about Mandy at the ASPCA. In the end we decided to wait, even though Linda really now wanted Mandy badly. I thought that was the end of it until at least this Saturday. Err, wrong again! Turned out we have her Brownie as the latest addition to the household, and that is fine by me. I just wish the wife would talk these things over with me first, I almost stopped by the ASPCA to pick up the other one as a surprise for Linda. Man oh man am I ever so happy I decided it would be better to ask her if she wanted Mandy as badly as she had seemed to, instead of bringing her home as a surprise. Two of them would have been way too much with the 2 we have already.

So yes, I was surprised by see the big brown eyes looking at me over brown snout and brown nose, when I got home last night. Except for some brindle striping, and a white blaze on her chest - she is indeed a lighter shade of brown all over. Of course, that name is not satisfactory for my wife or daughter and they changed it to Brina. I would have none of it and laid down the law, we would all have a say in whatever is to be her name - Brownie - Brina or something like Whisky. After socializing with her for a while, including a 45 minute or so walk, it was online for me. Of course she would have none of that, and decided to sit next to me nuzzling me in an attempt to have me pet her some more. I was able to push her off of me, and she was distracted by Pepe our chihuahua and left me alone for awhile.

Then I checked my emails and saw an email from mike at FL Chams about the refund, and in which he wondered why the apparently healthy little female Chameleon he had sent me had died in transit. I wondered too. I took a look again at the shipping container, and at the deli cups in which these little lizards had flown first class overnight express, and I noted two of them had pooped in the container. Well one of the poops had some urea attached too it. Like birds, lizards wee in the form of white powdery clumps of urea; except this one was not white, it was pinkish to light red. Whatever it was, this little gal had been ill from something that had her bleeding internally. Maybe a parasite, maybe an illness, maybe just a blockage that kept her from passing the urea as she should have. That last one was my guess as the urea to fecal ratio was quite high from the look of it. Oh well, I got the refund, sort of, and am happy with the other 5 of them so far. I sent off an email to Mike telling him about my observations and suspicions as to the one that died, and left it at that. The refund is still pending, but I imagine that it will clear when they next make a sale. I suppose that is how it works. All in all, right now I am satisfied with the deal I got on them, and the service from Mike will get a high rating from me pending my receipt of an actual refund. I can tell you now, if the refund comes through as expected, I would give an excellent rating to how they conduct business at FL CHAMS.

For now, I have some chores to take care of in taking care of the new critters. Then I am off to the rheumatologist to tend to my old aching bones and muscles, but I'll not bore you with that. So its later for all of you, I need to get busy.

All the best,
Glenn B


Rita Loca said...

brownie (?) is cute. I did not realize you had a daughter!

Glenn B said...

Brownie is no longer Brownie, she has a new name but I'd rathe rnot post it here just in case a boogular type might read it and try to get by her into the house by calling her by name.

Brendan got to pick the name since Celina, Lind and I named the last three dogs.