Harrison and his pet lizard Roughie

Harrison and his pet lizard Roughie

For my 9-year-old son, our pet lizard’s been as important a member of our household as a dog or cat, both of which allergies prevent us from getting. Roughie, a bearded dragon, may as well be Harrison’s brother, my son, my husband’s son and my mother’s other grandchild.

For Halloween, Roughie won a costume contest at the pet store, taking first place in the reptile round. Harrison and I teamed up with my most artistic friend and her daughter to hand craft a white, sequin-encrusted, 1970s-era Elvis Presley jumpsuit. Being the sweet-natured animal he is, Roughie allowed us to measure, fit and dress him. Although he couldn’t say, “Thank you very much,” he did seem to sneer a little at the judging.

He had more of The King’s swivel during the recent Blessing of the Animals at our local Episcopal church. He made it through the pastor’s blessing on his tiny, green head and then the splash of holy water across his 2-foot-long body until Harrison had to run him to the bushes most discreetly. I guess Roughie’s been potty trained?

Our next project is setting up a playdate for Roughie, an idea my son and his friend concocted. The friend just got a gecko, inspired by my son getting his pet. This we will approach carefully, so the lizards don’t fight. Although I will supervise, I'm letting Harrison take the lead on this one, as he has in taking care of Roughie since we brought him home a year ago.