Goodnight Ángel

I don’t really know how to start this. My little leopard gecko friend Anny passed away recently, April 28, 2022.

The most important thing to me is to remember my little buddy and all the amazing times he gave me. Even though it can be easy to dismiss the passing of my Ángel because he’s a reptile who couldn’t actually show me how he felt about me, any reptile owner who truly loves their animal will understand that the bond is no weaker than that of a dog or cat.

I met Ángel on April 23, 2020. I took him home that day and set up his terrarium, watched him take his first steps, and carefully triple checked everything to make sure he would be safe. From day 1 I felt like a new parent who had new priorities. I’ve never had a pet of my own before him, and the weight of the responsibility weighed on me constantly. I checked on him every chance I got, I researched about leopard geckos during my free time, and I immediately started planning upgrades to his home for when he started growing.

This is the first handling session I had with my sweet Anny, which is his nickname by the way.

I was nervous but excited to finally hold my buddy. I remember constantly worrying about his little tail, since they can drop them out of fear. 

He was energetic, fast and always trying to go somewhere. It would be a couple weeks before I had the guts to handle him by myself.

Aside from our handling sessions together, which were frequent and amazing, I watched him all the time. The pandemic was in full swing and Anny and I lived our lives in my bedroom together 24/7. He was either climbing, sleeping, staring at his hydrometer, or splooting when I watched him. He was really funny when he was little. I often caught him sleeping with his head tucked in his favorite rock and using it like a pillow.

A few weeks, maybe even a couple months, into our life together I met my now fiance Ela and started my YouTube channel. Ángel was a big part of all of that.

He went on my first date with me, via zoom. I took him out to show her on the camera and he instantly started sprinting all over me, including my back, which made Ela laugh and really lightened the mood. He was my little wingman. He was also the subject of a lot of my YouTube videos early on (and he still is).

He also ended up taking over my finsta, which is where account ángel_is_taking_over came from. Then he got a TikTok. I’m really glad I did all of that because now I have tons of great pictures and videos of him to remember him by.

Some of my favorite memories are when Ángel went through a paper towel roll at lightning speed, kicked a hat off of his head in the sassiest way ever, and when my fiancé gave him a little kiss on the head. There’s also a great video of Anny licking Ela’s hand, found on his instagram, that makes me smile every time.

He was the handsomest, sweetest, and climbi-est man there ever was. 

To anyone who doubted me in the beginning, yes, he was a man. You can’t tell a leopard gecko’s sex as a baby so I had to wait about a year to figure it out, but I always insisted he was a boy. I just felt it. A parent knows their child.

On top of that he was a giant, which I started to realize early on because I kept track of his weight and length often. He was growing really fast and before I knew it he was over 100g and 8.5 inches in length.

I thought that was unhealthy but the vet said he looked healthy and the rescue I volunteer with said he was a giant since his weight looked good on his frame. I loved showing him to people last when I showed them my geckos just so they could see how uniquely large he is.

There’s that to address. Anny impacted my life a lot. It’s because of him that I became a huge fan and member of the reptile community. It’s because of him that I looked for places to volunteer and found BeWild, my local reptile rescue. It’s because of him that I felt confident enough to adopt 2, and soon to be 3, leopard geckos from BeWild. It’s because of him that I became interested in a lot of species and ended up adopting a ball python. And lastly, it’s because of him that I started a small independent reptile business that focuses on spreading positivity about the reptile community to anyone interested.

Even though it’s been hard to make content since losing Ángel, which is why I haven’t posted anything in a while, he made so much of a difference in my life that I want to get back out there and spread reptile love and positivity again.

Pets (cats, dogs, reptiles, birds, fish, etc.,) are way more than pets. They’re family. They make our lives better. They give us so many good memories. They pull us through hard times. And we love them until the end.

That’s how it should be at least.

I was very down for a while when I had Anny, because of the pandemic and other related things, and a lot of days he was my reason to get out of bed. He was my reason to make a video. He was my friend who sat on my shoulder when I wrote stories or practiced guitar.

He is a light in my life that I will never forget.

His pictures are scattered in frames around my house. His memorial sits on the shelf he once lived on. His picture is in my car watching me as I drive. His photo album is ready to be seen by those who loved him the way I did. 

His prints are permanently etched into my skin. And his memories are permanently in my mind and heart.

I miss you Anny. Thanks for the best two years a friend could give me. You were taken too soon and it wasn’t fair to you, but I know you’re in a better place across that rainbow bridge. I will continue to support reptiles in honor of you. I will continue to care for your siblings and show that world that you’re not scary and you deserve good care and love.

Until we meet again my friend.

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