Sometimes You Gotta Let ‘Em Bite

I was letting my dog, Mija, outside, and I put her on her running line. I was on my way back into the house, and had turned to close the storm door behind me. The door was almost closed, when something dropped onto my head from outside, and then fell to the floor INSIDE the house, at my feet. It was a baby gecko.

I already have one of those; he comes out at night and lives somewhere near my sunflower clock in the kitchen. I have seen him a few times, and there is no point in trying to get him out… I have tried. He disappears into the black hole of whatever crack or crevice exists in my home. He is part of Texas. He is part of my household. I accept that. I even appreciate that he eats small bugs that, well, bug me.

But, to have two geckos in my home? That is just too much to tolerate. So I tried to pick him up, but I was squeamish. Not because I was afraid of him, but I didn’t want to squash him. He was mostly transparent, and about 2” long, so I was afraid I would damage him by trying to get him off the floor. I almost had him and then he hooked a u-turn, and ended up behind the fire extinguisher.

About this time the pups were setting up a commotion: imagine teething, now imagine getting all your baby teeth at once, times three! My empathy was getting the best of me, and feeling the urgency to help the little wee canines, I almost let the stupid gecko disappear into the black hole with the other one. I tended to the pups, rubbed some gums for a while and played with them until they seemed more content. I let Mija back in the house. Then my thoughts turned once more to the gecko. I decided that I would give it one more try.

I looked to see if he had slithered away, or if he was still behind the fire extinguisher; he was there. I looked at the situation philosophically; either Mija would get him when he ran out of the corner, or, if I could get a better hold on him, I would capture him and throw him outside.

So I gritted my teeth and reached down to grab him as he straddled the two sidewalls in the corner. Easy catch! Then he BIT me! He had quite a good grip on my right thumb. I had to choose: let him continue to bite me, and allow him to feel he was doing a good job while I open the door with my non-bitten hand, or shake him off in the direction of my now-excited doggy, and let her finish him off.

I let him bite me. It was a good grip, and it was a bit creepy, but he didn’t really hurt me. I finally got the door open, and quickly flung him off into the yard… somewhere. I glanced around the door to make sure there were no more creepy crawlies waiting to land on my head in their attempted trajectory toward my floor. The coast was clear. I made it safely inside, slammed the doors, and went to wash the gecko spit off my thumb, imagining that it itched just a bit, and then chiding myself for such silly thoughts. However, just to be sure, I used some antibacterial soap to wash my thumb off, and shook off the goose bumps of that strange little encounter.

Upon reflection, I have to say that there are occasions in life when, for the good of someone you are trying to help, you just have to let them bite you. Most of the time they do it because they are afraid, or in pain. As long as you know that, then the bite usually doesn’t hurt too much, and you may actually do some good. That’s what I learned today.

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