Photo taken by contributor Heather Hamilton, a 25-year-old wife, friend, pet parent, daughter, granddaughter, vegetarian, survivor, bisexual, entrepreneur. She struggles with depression, everyday choices, and making the right decisions. One of the ways she gets release from the prison of her mind, is loving on her animals. She believes that they all feel what she feels, and know that by just being there, they help her. She is in the process of a career change that has been incredibly stressful and emotionally taxing, but she is working towards doing something she loves. She is changing careers from programming to dog training.
About this photo: “This is Tiberius, the Bearded Dragon. Age, 13 months. Incredibly people-friendly. He enjoys taking long calcium baths, basking in the sunlight, and loves nice, plump crickets. Because my husband is afraid of reptiles (don’t ask me why), Tiberius stays with me at work, and lives on my desk in a 45 gallon tank. He actually does very well, and has developed a bond with me and the other developers in my area. He really helps when I need an ‘escape’ at work for a few minutes.
Even though he can’t meow, bark, or nudge my arm when he wants attention, he still gives me the satisfaction of taking care of him, and he needs me. Somehow, having something or someone need you, makes one feel powerful, in control. I feel I am rarely in control of my life, and having some things be my decision, or I have the satisfaction of knowing they are alive because of me, is empowering. Tiberius may not be able to tell me he appreciates me, but I know he does. When I hand-feed him crickets, and he happily chomps down on them, I see this as ‘thank you, mom’. You’re welcome, sweetheart. Thank you for keeping me company in my workplace. Sometimes, I just need a non-human somebody to tell me it’s ok.”