Iguanas Scare Me Shitless and Other Pet Tales

Brian and iguana in Old San Juan

I remember having a plethora of pets growing up—a cat, dogs, some hamsters, even fish—and I knew that I wanted my kids to have the same experience. Not only can the little critters be great companions, but they all require some level of responsibility. (I always wanted my kids to be responsible.) We started our furry family in earnest when we adopted Roxy while living in Texas. I wasn’t sure about her, to be honest. She was a bit skiddish and I didn’t think she would be a good fit for our rough-and-double 3-year-old. My husband knew better, however, and after a week to settle in, I was hooked. She was the perfect fit for our family—loving, yet protective and playful, yet responsive.

Roxy and Bug cuddling

Less than a year later, my husband wanted another dog. While Roxy was a good girl, the idea of another large creature bounding around a house that I already couldn’t keep clean was a thought I found a bit terrifying. When my now 4-year-old son decided to use his allowance to buy a pup from the shelter for his dad’s birthday, I seriously couldn’t say no. And that’s how Titan came home. He was the biggest, goofiest, patchiest puppy alive. He was another perfect fit, and I found that having two dogs was actually better than having one. Yea, the shedding sucked big time, but you couldn’t be mad at that smooshy face.

Titan and Bug at bathtime

That poor boy was not just patchy. He actually had an autoimmune disorder (we found out down the road) and his body was shutting down. When he couldn’t get up to go to the bathroom anymore, we made the choice to say goodbye. That’s when Freyja came into our lives. She’s a complete nut. She’s wild and drives me completely insane, but there’s not a single member of our family who doesn’t adore her.


It seems like our family just can’t stop growing, but there’s one particular creature that we will never have: an iguana.

Hubby and Bug are always pestering me about getting an iguana. Personally, I really don’t see the appeal. They sit in a cage all day. They aren’t cuddly or personable, and then you get to clean up their poo. How does this sound like fun? Even if I thought they were cute or something, I’ve got some underlying issues that will prevent any lizard-like creature taking up permanent residence under my roof.

My older brother had an iguana for awhile when we were kids. I don’t know if he wasn’t taking care of it or what, but for some reason my dad decided it wasn’t going to stick around—and this was before the dawn of Craig’s List. He ATTEMPTED to flush the damn thing down the toilet.

I’m not a morning person. Never have been, never will be. I came downstairs to use the bathroom before school and sat down to pee without thinking anything of it. I heard splashing. That was a strange noise to hear underneath me. I looked down. The iguana was struggling to climb up and out of the bowl. I screamed and ran out of the bathroom, pants down and all.

So while I love having pets in my family, and we may become an unofficial dog rescue one day, iguanas are the one type of pet you won’t find at my house.

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