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Slim's Story

Slim's story is probably the saddest I have experienced. Slim belonged to the son of a former professor of mine. We'll call him Professor X (heheh). As is wont to happen, his son lost interest, and Slim became the ward of his son's mother. Prof X and his ex-wife had been divorced for some time, so he didn't see her very often. One day, Prof X actually chats with her, and he sees that she has a medical problem she hadn't noticed. Long story short- his ex-wife was terminally ill, and she passed on, despite aggressive medical treatment. During this sad course of events, Slim was completely forgotten.

Prof X went over to her house, to check over her things before their son arrived, and discovered an emaciated Slim. He took him to his lab & did the best he could to try and get him well. Despite all the sadness, he got Slim a heat pad, a hide, water dish, and some crickets. Slim even ate a few.

This is where I come in. I happened to be visiting the lab, and I came across Slim. I heard the story, and it tugged on my heart strings. I left a note offering some tips & advice, since Prof X wasn't in his office at the time. A few days later, I got an email from Prof X asking if I would foster Slim. The Professor was under a lot of stress, and wanted to do right by Slim, but he knew nothing about leopard geckos. I told him to bring him over and that it wasn't a big deal, since I had a bunch of extra leo equipment around.

This is the really sad part. Just a few hours before Slim was picked up to come over to my house, some of the uneaten crickets ate a hole along his spine, in between two of his ribs, and into his coelomic cavity (main body area). Professor X was very upset, since he had just been trying to help. I told him not to worry about it, since he had to go help his son go through his ex-wife's house that very day.

The very next day, Slim and I went to the vet. I couldn't believe he was alive. I did research for hours the night before, to see if there was anything to be done, and there seemed to be a faint light of hope.

To my delight, the vet agreed. She flushed the wound, debrided the dead tissue (luckily, the wound was very recent, so there wasn't much that had to be removed), sutured it closed, gave him a vitamin B shot, and SQ fluids. I had started syringe-feeding him the night before, and she told me to continue, to put him on a regimen of systemic antibiotics, and to keep his wound covered with neosporin, to create a physical barrier.

Slim and I went home with high hopes. He seemed happy in his warm cage, with water and a humid hide and everything. He had a positive effect on the few people he met. Everyone was astounded that he was so alert and inquisitive. His attitude made me hope he might recover.

Just a few hours after I left for work, the same friend of mine who found Bug, came to care for Slim. She found him curled up in his humid hide, peaceful but not alive. This happened on 8/26/06. I decided not to have a necropsy performed, as it's not so much 'what killed him' as 'what didn't kill him.'

I only knew Slim for a few days, but he had a lot of character. I don't regret for an instant providing him vet care. Now I know that, when he passed on, he wasn't thirsty or hungry, and was as comfortable as possible. I also know I did everything I could. He also reaffirmed the dangers of feeding crickets for me. Slim's story is just one example of why leopard geckos do not make appropriate pets for children (or anyone who isn't prepared to accept a 20-year responsibility).

These pictures were taken after we got back from the vet.

In this picture you can see his sutures.

His belly is swollen with food and fluids.
Though he was very ill, he was a resilient little guy that gave it the best he could.

Over the Rainbow Bridge

Muftin Geckos * Corvallis * OR * USA

All photos and text copyright Marla Blaney 2014

(except where explicitly specified)