Rango Star was the shining star in my life. She still is, but I have to turn deep inside to find her light. Poor Rango was taken from us after only five months - but what a beautiful five months we had with her. I had never owned a reptile, let alone a chameleon. It was my husband who was enamored with chams. He had one when he was much younger and he always paused to look at the one in the Pet store. Just before last Christmas, we were in the Pet store buying dog food when I noticed my husband peering into a tiny cell block housing a very active green veiled chameleon. He was mesmerized. From the look in his eye, I told him we should hold her. Although I was somewhat (quite a bit) intimidated by "reptiles", I eventually held her. When the clerk put her back in the cage, the panic I saw in this poor little creature who was frantic to get out of her 8 1/2 by 11 inch enclosure drove me into rescue mode. I told my husband we should rescue her from the miserable existence she had. He was pretty quick to jump on board. We bought the $69.99 "discount" chameleon who had outgrown her cage, along with $500 of equipment and supplies. We took her home that evening and almost panicked when we removed her cold pale body from the box the Pet store put her in. I cried until she miraculously came back to life and entered her new, vastly improved home. She grew and thrived. We kept the name Rango, though we soon discovered she was a female. This beautiful sweet girl would stand up on both hind legs and reach her front arms out as far as she could to get us to take her outside for a "ride". When we took her out in the yard, she would survey everything from top to bottom. She watched airplanes, birds, wild anoles, and things we never picked up on. She seemed amused by our two labs playing in the yard. She also liked to climb across the planters which housed my decaying tulips. Although she was always under my close surveillance, supervision and protection (I literally hovered over her to make sure birds would not even be tempted), she seemed to act like she was somehow making her great escape from captivity as she rapidly traversed the planters. I would hold my hand out on the other side and she would climb up into my hand as if she knew I would offer her protection. Sometimes she liked to grab my hair and hold on as she sat on my shoulder. One time she chose to grab the septum between my nostrils. I gently redirected her, but I have to admit that was incredibly painful. Rango grew rapidly and had a vociferous appetite since the day we brought her home. In our ignorance, at one point we were feeding her 20 or so crickets a day. She would hunt them down methodically, like a mercenary, and she had such a gleam of delight in her eye when she ate her crickets. Unfortunately, two months after we got this baby, she had her own eggs and became egg bound. As distraught parents, we found the most knowledgeable clinic for lizards and took her in for evaluation. She was found to be egg bound and we took her back in for a C-section and hysterectomy. The vet could only access the left side, but was hopeful. We had great times with Rango for the next three months before it happened again. Despite the huge bucket with sandy soil mix we provided her, she climbed her walls and ceiling (we have a huge enclosure for her) and once we even heard her fall. It was heat-breaking. I couldn't believe she could be egg bound again three months later, but X-rays confirmed it. We scheduled surgery a few days later after she stopped eating (Rango stopped eating!!!!???) We knew she felt terrible as she continually paced her enclosure and ignored the bucket of soil/sand. Every time she saw us, she raced down to the front of the cage to be taken out. She would eagerly climb on our hands, arms, shoulders and wanted to go outside. She would calm down as soon as we went outside and she would survey the world around her. As we took her for slow "rides" around the back yard, she seemed full of wonder and awe. When we eventually returned her to her enclosure, she would try to grab onto the frame of the enclosure in order to avoid going back in. So sad! Then the pacing would begin again. We were so distraught. We sprayed her as long as she would tolerate it, but when Rango with the ravenous appetite completely stopped eating, we knew something was terribly wrong. The same vet who performed poor Rango's surgery the first time, just three months earlier, performed the second surgery to remove eggs and hopefully as much of the reproductive organs as possible. The clinic called us and told us Rango was doing well and was ready to go home that afternoon. My husband picked her up and they told him not to open the cardboard box (with approximately 10 pieces of tape holding the lid closed) since she was resting. When he got home 10 minutes later and opened the box, she was cold, pale and unresponsive. We called the vet, who told us sometimes lizards shut down due to the stress response related to anesthesia. She told us to keep her warm and my warm natured husband held her close to his body while I brought home a heating pad, which we promptly placed her on. She didn't move, but the vet told us as long as she is limp, she could still recover. We gave her a few minutes of quiet time and when we returned to peep in on her, she took a breath in and out. Then a minute later, another breath in and out, and then a third! We were so relieved. In fact, she started to pick up some colors. Scrambled, chaotic brown and black, but this I thought was better than the pale lifeless green. I then saw her chest retract sharply and then release, and even though I am a nurse, I went into a state of denial and told myself she was taking a deep breath. I was still crying, so I had to step back in order to preserve the calm, warm environment on the heating pad. When I returned to check on her short while later, she was pale again. My husband decided to reposition her on her other side when we both noticed she was stiff and her hind feet were stuck together. I remembered the vet telling me when I called her on her cell earlier that we would know she was dead if she became stiff. I pleaded with my husband to see if she could be moved like before, but she remained stiff. We left her on the heating pad - with hope against hope that she would somehow miraculously recover - but when we checked on her again after praying for her, what we saw told us she was gone without a shadow of a doubt. I pray I will never see another chameleon like that. It was traumatic to see her like that. I was so devastated! I can't remember feeling such pain since my lab was in the ICU for 10 days before the vet finally told me he was terminal and I held him while the vet euthanized him. So much pain! And to lose Rango Star, our Star baby!!! I can't write any more because the tears keep coming and I can't see. We lost her7 days ago, and the pain still cuts me to the bone. Even before her surgery, I had the song in my head that the Byrds remade in the mid 60's (I googled it) "For everything, turn, turn, turn. There is a reason, turn, turn, turn....a time to live, a time to die, a time to..." now I can't remember the lyrics because I am crying so hard. When will this get better? I miss her so much!!!! God bless Rango Star as she has truly, deeply blessed us!!! We love you Star Baby!!!