Friday, October 12, 2012

Sandy Claws

Growing up I did not have a pet last lasted more than a week, and that was a goldfish I won at a fair. My parents did not adopt Oreo Cat and Tigger Cat until I was in college. 

Not long after meeting Don, he adopted Pumpkin Cat. Don always had a cat growing up. Again, I never did.

If I were to list the types of pets I would want, a reptile would not even be on the list. 

It took Ashley well over a year to convince me she was serious about wanting a bearded dragon. That is over 1/10 of her life. That is a long time in a child's life.

The first time I met a bearded dragon was at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. Their dragon is a rescue dragon that is about 2 years old. I think I might have pet him that day.
A couple of months later my sister Rebecca told me an acquaintance of hers needed to get rid of her sister's bearded dragon. Would Ashley like him? Would she? Does a dragon like crickets? Of course!

A couple of days before adopting our dragon, we watched the movie "How to Train Your Dragon."

The day after school ended, we drove to Wyckoff, NJ to pick up the dragon. The beardie is 8 years old (their life span is 8-10 years, however others now tell me 8 is middle-aged for a dragon). His name was Nicco. We are told he is a male dragon. I have no reason to doubt them.
Ashley was a little apprehensive when she first met him. That only lasted a couple of seconds. The owner put "Nicco" on Ashley's chest and it was love at first sight -- for both of them.

We loaded the tank and all his treasures into the back of the car. Stopped off at Rebecca's house (she didn't want him inside -- oh well). Then we drove home. During the ride home Nicco was renamed Sandy Claws -- after the man in the red suit because he, too, has a beard, and because the dragon is sandy-colored and he has claws. It suits him.

The first night he came home he immediately pooped on Ashley. All I could do was laugh! To her credit, she cleaned it up. That was our first research question: how often do dragons poop? Once every 4-7 days. 

That was June. Sandy has had many adventures since coming home. Most days he spends more time out of his tank than inside of it. He sits with us when we have dinner (not on the table, but nearby).

Sandy often goes with Ashley to the Lenape Village at Churchville Nature Center. This summer he went with Ashley while she was a Junior Counselor. He was a big hit with all the kids. A think a couple of them went home and begged their parents for their own dragon.

Last week Father Vince blessed him at their annual Blessing of the Animals. A seventh grader, Lydia, also brought her bearded dragon. He was a big hit at school, and on the bus.

Yes, Sandy travels in our cat carrier. We're still trying to figure out the best way to take care of him. Ashley read a few books on taking care of a bearded dragon before we adopted Sandy. Just like all those books I read before Ashley was born, nothing compares to having a real-live dragon (or in our case, a real-live baby).

Fortunately we've met people who have their own bearded dragon and have been able to figure out what we are doing wrong. One issue was he was becoming even lazier, and had little appetite. He spends so much time out of his tank and UV light does not travel through our new windows, he was acting Vitamin D deprived. With the start of the school year, Sandy spends more time in his tank and he is perking up again.

Another issue we have had is that he is no longer pooping every week. He is pooping every 2-3 weeks. We met a woman at Churchville Nature Center who gave us some advice. We're now seeing an increase in appetite, so hopefully "output" will soon follow.

We are still trying to figure out what Charlie Cat and Ariel Cat think of Sandy. For the most part they have kept their distance, which is a good thing. This picture is one of the rare times Ariel and Sandy were next to each other.

Columbus Day weekend we took Sandy to Peddler's Village in Lahaska, PA. We couldn't resist taking a picture of Sandy Claws with a Santa Claws scarecrow (Sandy is next to the gourd on the straw).

Sandy resting on the first day of school. Too pooped to eat.

Sandy in the bay window in the kitchen. He likes to crawl into tiny nooks to hide.

Overall, his favorite spot to be is snuggled up with Ashley. I'm a close second, though. He will snuggle with me while I read books. 

He is a great dragon. he has turned this reptile-detester into a dragon-lover. The jury is still out on the rest of the reptiles, though she seems to be admiring the blue-tongued skink

Only one reptile at a time, please!!!

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