To all the people who offered their kind words on Spike's passing, I thank you.
I also realize that I never really posted very much about her. When I began this blog three years ago, Spike was already in her "golden years", leading a life of leisure, with most of her adventures behind her. I regret that I have no pictures of her when she was a baby. But here's a quick look at what made her so special to us.
I had taken Brice, then age 6, to a reptile show. Of course he insisted on getting a pet lizard. When we brought Spike home, she was about a month old and under 5 inches long. We were told not to handle her too much for a couple of months, until she was a little bigger and stronger. Brice handled her anyway, of course. He was gentle, but creative. He rode her around in his toy cars, and made her wear tiny little hats. He even made a little bed for her, which he placed at the head of his own bed, and she slept beside him many nights.
Spike thrived and grew into a sweet-tempered lap-lizard. Every day after school, Brice would take her out and play with her. She would sit beside him as he did his homework or watched TV. We became so accustomed to her sitting placidly outside her cage for long periods that we would forget about her sometimes and she would eventually wander off, to be found hours later behind the TV, or in the laundry hamper!
When Spike was about 2, we decided to try breeding her with a male lizard that lived at school. She spent the weekend with him, and later that year produced 6 clutches of eggs and 115 babies. That summer, Spike's babies became pets for many of our friends, and many more were sold to a reptile dealer. We continued to breed her for the next 2 years, but retired her after that, because after all, she was a beloved pet, and we didn't want to wear her out or continue to send legions of sweet "baby spikes" off to uncertain futures in the pet trade. Spike also made numerous appearances to school classrooms, sitting patiently on my lap while children lined up to have a close look at her and touch her scales and spikes.
Over the years, Spike shared her home with various beardie friends and offspring, including Prickle, Bob, Toby, Freddie and Yoshi. But she ended as she had begun, as our only lizard, her tank in the middle of our living room where she was literally at the center of our family life.