Friday, December 1, 2023

From Patricia Hall

How to Bathe a Dragon

How to Bathe a Dragon

By Patricia Hall

Patricia Hall
Patricia Hall.
Patricia Hall

Sometimes life brings strange assignments and that happened for me when our son and his family took a trip to Disney World.

What used to be simple is now so complicated that Soledad, travel planner, wife and mother, almost had to take a week off from life to get the trip planned and underway. If you have been to Disney lately, you know that it involves so much more than just showing up, buying your tickets to the Magic Kingdom and waiting in line. That process is far too complicated to explore in this story because first we have to bathe a dragon.

Patricia Hall’s grandchildren, Francis, Wesley and Conrad, with their bearded dragon, Lizzie.

Children have pets and they have to be cared for when the family is away. Some have cats and it is only necessary to look in on them occasionally to make sure that prize house plants haven’t suddenly become an alternative litter box. Easy! Some kids have dogs and that is a bigger order of care. Dogs want company, walking, food, water and make sure they don’t find the prized cashmere throw and make a new bed with it. Not too hard, but these boys have neither cat nor dog; their pets are a bearded dragon (even though she is a female named Lizzie) and a beautiful blue Beta fish with a glorious fancy tail.

I have taken care of Lizzie in the past, but lately she has been depressed and uninterested in the yummy crickets presented for her meals. After a trip to the vet, (yes, there are doctors who treat dragons) we now have an added task to refresh her spirit and get her back into great dragon spirits. She needs a bath… every day.

If I had known that before I agreed to pet sitting, I might have said no, except grandmothers should never say no!

So here is how it is done, bathing a dragon, I mean. Remove Lizzie from her habitat after filling the bathroom sink with water just tepid like a baby’s bath – check temperature with an elbow – sprinkle the water with bath salts prescribed by vet – stir until dissolved. Carefully immerse dragon in water without getting clawed. I want to mention that Lizzie wasn’t really into the bath idea. Set the timer for 10 minutes and hold her in the water. I splash a little water into her mouth so that she might have a drink. Never leave a dragon alone in a bath unattended! It won’t stay.

After soaking, have a towel ready to wrap her in because she will be cold. Next comes the feeding. Lizzie now eats some kind of disgusting worms that are sold at local pet shops and they live in what looks like sawdust until they are dragon food. I dug around until I collected 10 to 15 of the ugly things and dropped them into a cup. Because our dragon is a little bit puny, I dust the worms with a calcium powder and shake them up until they are all nicely covered. Then one by one, I dropped them right in front of Lizzie to be sure she ate a good meal. Sometimes, the worms were fast and would try to escape behind a rock or under Lizzy’s hammock (yes, Lizzie has a hammock and a sunlamp). Because I wanted to present a healthy happy dragon to my grandkids when they got back, I made certain she ate everything, including dessert. Dessert was either a blueberry or a collard leaf.

I could tell you how to care for a Beta fish of the beautiful blue variety, but I have neither time nor newsprint space.

Needless to say, grandchildren bring many pleasures in life and one of them is learning new skills – like bathing dragons.

Thank you, Francis, Wesley and Conrad for being a very present joy in our lives and yes, I will do it again. Just ask me.


From the Bible: Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

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