Merry Christmas Katie!

I had thought hard about what to do for your gift this year, and was going to put some new information online for you.  Tuesday night at work, something special happened... I knew I had to share this with you and your dad this year! 

It was a busy night on Tuesday, and in the middle of a rush of people a guy walked in, set down a small box on the packing table and asked to talk to Mike, the owner.  After finding out he'd supposedly called and was told to come in to speak to Mike, I led him to the front as he explained to me why he'd come.  Inside the box were two tiny turtles, red eared sliders.  Neither of them the size it should be for the 2 yr age he said they were.  The guy said he'd finally decided it was time to give them up, but hadn't known where to go with them.  When he told Mike his story, Mike said the store would take them, and told me to go take them in back.  I found Ryan in the reptile dept, and he was none too happy to be adding yet another silver dollar sized turtle to the already crowded tank on their counter, but he took the small one and made room.  The larger one would have to go into a larger tank with bigger turtles, so was for Joe to decide where he would go.  Joe was so busy all night with the customers that he forgot about the turtle in the box on the counter, waiting for him to relocate it... and come the end of the night I reminded him as he finally opened the box that I'd checked in every hr all night long.  He got a bit upset, this turtle was too small to put into a crowded tank with all the other bigger turtles, which meant it would need a tank set up special just for it.  The hr was late, everyone was tired and wanted to go home, so I spoke up.  I told him I had an open tank at home, and could take it if he needed me to.  His frown lessened, he handed me the box and said "Merry Christmas, get it out of here... thank you."  With a grateful look on his face and excitement in mine, we all called it a night.

This little guy is sleeping peacefully this Christmas Eve, both loved and wanted.  The kids were all happy to welcome him into our home, as they do most of the other animals that come through.  Why did I choose to share this with you, Katie?  Why did I call this your Christmas gift?  I chose this because it's what Christmas is all about, and I wanted to share the most special part of my holiday with you. 

This little turtle needed a home on Christmas, and had no way to fend for itself.  Had it stayed at the store with the larger ones, it surely would have suffered.  There are all kinds of angels in the world, some we see and some we don't.  I like to think there was an angel watching over this turtle Tuesday night, which is why he came to our store when I was there.  I haven't decided yet if we'll keep him long term, for now he just needs good care and food, heat and love, and a chance to recover from the stress of being moved all over in the cold.  He hasn't eaten anything yet, but I did have enough stuff here to try feeding him a few different things last night and this morning.  I put a few feeder guppies into his tank with him, have offered him some leaf lettuce, and some reptile pellets.  Tomorrow night I'll clean his water again, and try the food again... and this will go on until he eats.

I was happy to see he was relaxing a bit tonight.  I took a few pictures of him, and he seemed to like the flash on the camera.  As soon as it went off the first time he came right out of his shell to see what the fuss was all about.  That was an encouraging sight!

While I was taking his picture, I thought you would also like to see the fish/reptile room I've set up in my basement for the rescues I will take in until Rescue Island is built.  At the moment there are 8 tanks, 5 of them for fish, 3 for reptiles.  I'll be moving the soap fish down to this room to make my work easier, and then will be adding 2 more tanks to the aquatic part of the room.  The tanks range in size from the 10 gallon that the turtle lives in now, to the 47 gallon the oscars outgrew.  The 20 is reserved for my puffer fish I want so badly, as I don't yet have a brackish water tank in the house, and have been wanting one for a long time.  When finished, there will be 12 tanks in the basement, and 7 throughout the rest of the house.

Well, this ends our holiday cheer for one night, my dear fan Katie.  I would imagine Santa has been there and gone by now, and I know I need some sleep if I wish to wake with Christmas cheer early in the morning. 

Enjoy the pictures and have a very Merry Christmas!

I will see you at the store very soon, and I have a lot of things to show you when you get there!  I hear you have grown quite fond of the clown loaches... so I want to introduce you to some information about those and I also want you to meet some of the other loaches we have at the store.  I look forward to your visit!

Sleep well!

(I'm thinking of naming him flash because he seems to like the flash on the camera)

This is the room where he lives.  It's not complete yet, but it's getting there.  Yes, those are mirrors on the walls, with a cork border.  If you look where the red glow is in the center of the picture you will see the turtle's tank.  The glow is from his UV/heat light, which he needs not only to stay warm, but also to help with his intake of vitamins and ability to digest his food.  This is the one most important item people too often leave out when they keep a turtle, and it results in all kinds of health problems for the poor animal later on.  This week I will bring home some anacharis plants for him to nibble on.  Do you remember which plant that is?  I think I showed it to you on one of your previous visits.  Remind me, and I'll show it to you again on your next.  This is a great turtle food, so I am hoping he will finally eat something.  I'll post more pictures here when I get time and as my fish room becomes more complete.  I'm still in need of some equipment yet, and as sweet as Santa is, he hasn't found fit to grace my pockets this year.  I rely mostly on donations and money I can manage to save at times when I work an extra day here and there.  Heaters are still needed, as is filter media for multiple filters, and more silicone to finish repatching cracked aquariums.  4 of the 8 tanks still needs work.  A little at a time it's getting there.  I refuse to give up!