Lost 6 Month Old Pablo After a Stressful Night


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In August, I went into Petco with my boyfriend to price cages and equipment for a snake I was considering adopting. While there, we looked at the other animals, and saw a baby vieled chameleon. As soon as she saw us, she started trying to get out of her tank. The staff let me hold her, and she settled onto my finger, wrapped her tail around me, and stayed there. Not even crickets got her to let go. We both tried to talk ourselves out of it, but we went home with a new baby chameleon - Pablo, who turned out to be female in spite of assurances otherwise, but the name was stuck.

She had been acting fussy for the past few days - turned her nose up at her crickets, but her worms were fine, so I thought she was just bored with her usual food. I was a little worried, because she seemed less active and often laid her chin down while basking, but again, I thought it was all part of being bored, especially since she would light up and climb around when I took her out. The plan was to get her to the vet later this week, just to be sure and do a general wellness check. She was alert, well colored, and snapped up her food when she finally got hungry, so it couldn't have been too severe in my mind.

Yesterday she refused all food entirely. Still didn't panic quite yet, but kept an eye on her - she wasn't moving around too much, but she was alert and her coloring was fine. Then last night I found her on the floor of her cage. Rushed her to the emergency vet an hour from us, and found that she had a fracture in her front leg. The fall last night was only a couple of inches, but she had slid off trying to climb the cord of one of her thermometers early last week - I had seen it, and she had seemed fine after a moment, so it hadn't occurred to me that she might be hurt. Her new behavior took a few days to start up, so it didn't dawn on me there was any connection.

The vet put a splint on, gave us anti inflammatory and pain killers, and sent us home with an assurance she'd be fine. She was doped up but still awake enough to hiss a little when I moved her into her cage, rearranged on its side so she wouldn't be able to even try climbing high during her recovery. Kept the cage nice and warm to keep her relaxed, kept it dark with her favorite blue blanket. Let her sleep holding onto her favorite branch of leaves.

Two hours ago, I woke up, cut on her light - and she was passed on. She hadn't moved all night, not even to close her mouth. I tried leaving her where it was warm, but she's completely limp. Still bright green, but with a black spot on her nose and eyelids. The stress of being moved around in her carrier, poked and prodded at the vet, forced to take medicine and most of all, having her leg taped up to her body, was too much for her.

We're both devastated. We only had her for a few months, but she was our grumpy little baby. We'd loved her since the day we saw her in the pet store. She wrapped her tail around my hand when I held her and wouldn't let go and I knew she was coming home. I feel like I failed her, and her last days were spent in pain because I didn't act fast enough. I feel like I should have stayed up with her and made sure, even though at that point I think she was already beyond help. I think she was going before we even left the vet, but everyone assumed it was just late and she'd just taken pain meds, so of course she's a little listless. I wish I'd thought to leave her overnight, let her get some rest and relax before a long car ride home.

I just needed to get this out. She was family - grumpy and pointy and hated everyone but me, but family.
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