When I was 12 years old, I got a baby iguana for a pet. I had him for 17 years, during which he grew from this spindly little thing that could sit on my finger to an immense big lizard four feet long and as hefty as a large, full-grown cat.
The books said iguanas grow up to be short-tempered and not much fun to handle, but mine was as tame as a well-behaved kitty. I took him everywhere–even to school when I taught an art class, because the kids enjoyed drawing him, petting him, and feeding him wild strawberries. My mother, and later my wife, liked to do up fancy salads for him. He had the run of our apartment because he always went back into his open cage to do his business. He liked to cuddle up with cats and dogs.
He had his peculiarities. When he outgrew his old wooden perch, and couldn’t even come close to fitting on it anymore, I took it out and replaced it with a nice, new perch more his size. He sat on the floor of the cage and sulked–until I put the old perch back in. Then he climbed onto the new one and lovingly draped his tail over the old.
It would be eccentric to say a lizard is a man’s best friend. But this lizard was a mighty good friend; and after all these years, I miss him.