Before you know it, it’ll be time to say goodbye to Fluffy for the winter months. Now most of us love dogs and cats and horses. But why do we limit ourselves to having these for pets? It just doesn’t make any sense. For me, Fluffy is really an ideal pet. For one thing, I don’t have to feed him. Not at all. You see, Fluffy is a lizard. A real lizard.

He learned from his lizard mom and dad how to snarf up bugs and blink his eyes and do push-ups on rocks. Honest. I didn’t have to teach him that at all.  Also, I don’t have to build him a house or fix him a bed in our house, because Fluffy prefers to live in the back yard in the woodpile. I mean, this is one self-sufficient pet we’re talking about here!

Now Fluffy isn’t perfect. You see, I can call the dog and the dog will come and I can rattle the cat food bag and the cat will come, but Fluffy has this heightened sense of independence that means he’s able to ignore me just about any time he wants to. It’s an American trait, of course.

The main reason Fluffy is my pet lizard is how much fun he is for the neighbor kids and my grandchildren. They come over and talk to him and, if he’s in a good mood and it’s a warm day, he might do push-ups for them.

Also, it makes my grandchildren look at me kinda funny when I talk about Fluffy and what he told me just yesterday. And what other pet automatically recreates itself every few years without us even realizing it? Try that with a poodle sometime.

Brought to you to honor those masked folks who wait on us in the coffee shops and take our temperature at the doctor’s office. Thank you for your courage.


Newspaper columnist Slim Randles, who writes the weekly Home Country column, took home two New Mexico Book Awards in 2011. His advice book for young people, “A Cowboy’s Guide to Growing Up Right,” took first place in the self-help category, and “Sweetgrass Mornings” won in the biography/memoirs category. Randles lives and works in Albuquerque. Home Country reaches 3 million hometown newspaper readers each week

Slim Randles learned mule packing from Gene Burkhart and Slim Nivens. He learned mustanging and wild burro catching from Hap Pierce. He learned horse shoeing from Rocky Earick. He learned horse training from Dick Johnson and Joe Cabral. He learned humility from the mules of the eastern High Sierra. Randles lives in Albuquerque.

Randles has written newspaper stories, magazine articles and book, both fiction and nonfiction. His column appeared in New Mexico Magazine for many years and was a popular columnist for the Anchorage Daily News and the Albuquerque Journal, and now writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country,” which appears in several hundred newspapers across the country.


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