Louie the Lizard lives large in the wild | VailDaily.com

Louie the Lizard lives large in the wild

David O. Williams

Leapin’ lizards literally.The twisted tail er, tale of Louie the Lizard began with a plunge from a third-story balcony and ended six weeks later with a joyful reunion on the lawn of a Reserve condominium.Louie, a 4-foot-long, 4-pound iguana, apparently drew inspiration from his regal moniker and, in the immortal words of Jim Morrison, felt he “was the lizard king,” and that he “could do anything.”The reptile may have a point.After all, who will doubt Louie’s survival skills after he dropped over the edge of his owner’s balcony July 12 and spent six weeks in the Colorado high country, far from his native South America, enduring sleet and near-freezing nighttime temperatures at 7,200 feet?Louie’s owner, Joy Dunham, says she and her daughter Tillie call Louie their “green dog,” but his knack for persevering suggests a more feline manner, including the nine lives.In his six years of life, Dunham says, Louie has survived Avon Elementary School classes of first- and second-graders he began life there under the name “Baby Ruth” a frostbitten claw from sleeping too close to a window in the winter and a broken leg from running into a glass door.So what’s a month and a half in the woods of Edwards?After nearly a month on the loose, and countless flyers posted throughout the Reserve, Louie was spotted on the side of Highway 6 on Aug. 10.The spotter thought the spottee was road-kill, but when he approached, Louie opened his eyes and bolted for the underbrush. The close encounter prompted a new round of hopeful flyers.The rest must be told by the proud lizard owner whose heart has been eternally warmed by her cold-blooded “member of the family”:”The glorious day came on Saturday, Aug. 24, when Melissa Radler, the 5-year-old girl who lives next door, was looking our her bedroom window and saw Louie walking across the lawn,” Dunham says. “He climbed into the evergreen tree outside her window. He came home!”He was in great shape and very happy to be home. He let me pick him up and get him out of the tree. He was very receptive to letting me hug, hold and kiss him. This truly was a miracle.”Described by Dunham as a free-roaming iguana who has run of the house and will eat virtually anything, Louie was apparently prepared for his improbable summer in the wilds of east Edwards.”I guess Louie ate all the greens, flowers and bugs he came across,” says Dunham. “He had a grand adventure swimming, climbing trees and avoiding dogs.”

Support Local Journalism