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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words


By: Linda Dees

I was subbing for a "gifted" science/math class. The teacher has her 5 foot iguana named Greenbean roam around the room at will. I was fascinated with this creature. Although I've been in many classrooms with iguanas and other critters, never had I been this close to one this large and wandering about freely. The kids had been completely at ease with Greenbean, but I remained cautious. I would occasionally walk by him and say a little something as he slowly circumnavigated the classroom, stopping at a couple of sunny spots by the windows. The children would gently stroke his reptilian head and he would contently close his eyes-I almost expected him to start purring like a kitty.

I wanted to do the same, but remained cautious and a bit apprehensive. I read a brief article in the classroom about iguanas and how gentle they are and how they like to be hand fed, but still I kept a discreet distance. I became aware of my curious reluctance, but at the same time feeling very strongly I wanted to have a closer encounter with the fellow. This persisted through the day. When the children had left, I sat at the teacher's desk and was reading a beautiful book with the most glorious pictures of Earth taken from space and brief statements by various international astronauts to caption the photos. I was totally absorbing this book and getting teary-eyed at the poetic references of Earth these highly scientific men were making. I had forgotten about Greenbean for the time being when I notice him start to move in my direction.

I felt a subtle impulse to move because I was sure he was headed for me. I talked myself into staying put and sure enough he came right up to my feet. Now I couldn't get away because of the position of the desk unless I crawled over the top and to the other side. I decided he was probably hungry and took a few grapes from a bag on the desk a child had brought in earlier in the day. I was about to place the fruit on the floor when Greenbean rather deftly took the grape from my hand before it could be released to the ground. Bravely(?) I handed him a few more, one at a time, and stopped. He nibbled at my sandal and headed for my big toe. I had clear, shiny polish on my toes and it occurred to me he might think they were grapes, too. So, I curled in my toes and continued to feed him by hand and felt quite proud of myself. I even stroked him along his beaded side.

After awhile I moved enough so he could continue his walk if he wanted to do so. Sure enough, as tho' reading my mind, he continued around the desk and completed his day's journey to finish where he started, on top of his habitat cage and under the heat lamp. I was so pleased Greenbean and I had become friends. But I am quite aware it was Greenbean's iniative that contributed greatly to this happening. Now it could be nothing more than I was sitting at the teacher's desk that prompted him to come over and I was enough like the teacher that he would allow me fill in since that's what I was there to do. But the whole thing had a peculiar feel to it.

I am delighted to be counted among the many friends of Greenbean. I even showed off a bit when the assistant principal came on a tour with the East Indian parents of a perspective student through the classroom. I fed and stroked Greenbean for them which amazed them. The AP and the student's mother were as apprehensive as I had been earlier. The father stood by, arms crossed on chest, watching and smiling during the episode.

Well, in any case, I think Greenbean was a teacher that day, because I learned a most interesting lesson about iguanas and myself.


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