Lara’s Giant Lizard

(full name: Kalessin ‘Baby’ Cain Iguana St. John)

Why a Lizard?

I never outgrew dinosaurs. As a child, I was beyond fascinated by them, and visited the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto annually, after participating in the Kiwanis festival held next door at the Conservatory. My mum used to tell me that if I got a first prize in some class, I would get another little green dinosaur for my collection – a promise that was probably the only thing that kept me practicing in my mid-to late naught years (I started young).

Later, in NYC, I had a Beethoven-loving iguana named Ancalagon (the name of the greatest dragon of Morgoth from the Silmarillion) who was even featured in People magazine! Unfortunately, he had an untimely death at five, due to the fact that he wasn’t exactly a he, and he became egg–bound. The vet did a Caesarean and he lived a few more weeks, but he eventually went to the jungle in the sky. Of course, I named my company after (s)him.

Many years later, the time came for me to make a major lifestyle change (see 100 Days of Hell), and I needed a reason to live. I went to a very reputable shop in Suffern, NY, and brought home my present iggybaby in late September of 2009. He was around two months old, his head was the size of my thumb, and he was amazingly cute (as they all are).

I credit him with helping me through one of the worst times of my life (cold turkey nicotine withdrawal after 21 years). Every time I came close to going back to addiction in the the despair of the first 100 days, I would look at him and think about his little lungs, and realize how he would likely not withstand a smoking iggymum. He was the tiny life force that got me up in the mornings during withdrawal, and kept me from relapse.

Nearly eight years later, he’s 4’4, 10 pounds, incredibly spoiled, and has the run of the place. He is the king of New York iguanas, the Lizard on Lex, my mini dinosaur. And I love him to bits.

And I’ve never had another cigarette.

When folks ask how long it’s been, I think about how old he is. I no longer even think about smoking – but if folks smoke, it doesn’t bother me at all as long as it’s not close to the lungs of animals and little folks.

I quit well.  And as our vet says: he’s pretty lucky to have found you! And me him. So, a happy end to an addiction!