Buddy, the leopard gecko joins the family. 

This little guy joined our family on Sunday afternoon. Mario has been begging for a gecko for months. We considered one as a Christmas present but then decided against it because Mario didn’t plead and beg for it the week before Christmas. But then Mario broke his arm on New Year’s Eve; and he had nothing better to do than to dream about getting a new pet. 

He’d been talking about killing off his two fish for a year (we had told him in the past that he didn’t need a new pet because he had pet fish). Ri finally had heard enough and adopted his fish so she didn’t have to fret for their lives any longer. Now she has four fish swimming around in her room (Jon is known to pull up a chair in her room and watch them). 

So between the broken arm, the fish adoption into Ri’s room, and Jon and mine’s inability to say “no”, we ended up at the Captive Bred Pets Store after Maria’s basketball game on Sunday. The store is tucked away off Morse Road and houses a ton of reptiles, mostly big ol’ snakes. The dude (and yes, he was all “dude”) working at the front desk got peppered by questions from Mario. 

“Where’s your leopard geckos? Do you have their supplies? How many do you have?”

The dude shook his head and mumbled “we don’t have any of those geckos right now.”

Mario was devastated and holding back the tears. Maria immediately turned to me and fought for her brother.

“We need to find another store to buy Mario’s gecko. We can’t go home until he has one.”

I, on the other hand, felt blessed. Oh well, we tried, Mario. Now let’s head home and stare at the fish and be content with Rocco…. Well, not exactly. Jon and I both looked at Mario’s sweet face and knew we’d need to go someplace else.

So we hit Petland. Others had warned us not to go there to buy a gecko. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Mario ran to the gecko aquarium and Ri got a manager to help us. Mario picked up a few of them and then landed on his favorite. He affirmed that the one he was holding so gently was the one he wanted. 

We bought all the accessories and the live crickets and mealworms (not as gross as you’d think) and we’re off to the house to introduce the gecko to Grandview. Mario still had not chosen a name when we arrived home. I had fought for Clem after my grandpa but he nixed it. Ri mentioned a few but he didn’t like hers either.

Jon had to go back to the pet store because we had gotten the wrong size heat pad. This caused severe worry with Mario who was worried that his gecko would get too cold. Maria ran around to get blankets to wrap his box in while we waited for Jon. I went downstairs to get some water and when I returned, I learned our gecko’s name was Buddy. Maria informed me that Mario kept calling it “little buddy” when he picked it up or petted it so she suggested he just call it “Buddy.” Mario liked the idea and hence Buddy was its name. 

Jon arrived home and got the heating pad under the aquarium. He and Mario prepared the sand and vermiculite and housing quarters for Buddy. When they were finished, I was beckoned to Mario’s room. There stood Mario proud as a new papa letting Buddy climb all over him.

I couldn’t get over how personable Buddy was with us. He just climbed all over Mario and then sat in Mario’s palm and let Mario pet him. Maria begged to hold him and Mario finally relented. Buddy was just as good with her. He climbed up her leg and chilled on her arm while she stroked his skin. He won over our hearts by night’s end. Jon and I find ourselves checking in on Buddy as well as the kids before we go to bed at night.

And Mario is just precious watching over him in the morning and evening. He talks to him every morning before school and gets him out to play. He runs home from school to fetch him and say hello. We had to tell him that he still needed to pay attention to Rocco who felt a bit left out last night when the kids pushed him out of Mario’s room so they could get Buddy out. But Mario quickly explained to Rocco that he loves him just as much as he always has, it’s just that “he has to welcome Buddy to our house since he’s so new.”

Rocco understood, we are sure.

2 thoughts on “Buddy, the leopard gecko joins the family. 

  1. Janaki says:

    As an infectious disease doctor (and a mom, and avid follower of your blog!), I can’t hold back from just a friendly warning about the risk of Salmonella with any reptilian pet. see the CDC page, here: http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellafrogturtle/ for details. The photo of your son kissing the gecko made me just a little nervous (we got a pair of hermit crabs last summer – i don’t think i ever posted about that; now I’m inspired).

    • Janaki says:

      Oh, and the point of adding the bit about our hermit crabs, is that the rule in our house is “Wash your hands with soap after handling the crabs”!

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