Reptile owner, avid member of exotic pet community, advocate for knowledge and awareness, active in sharing fun with bearded dragons
I never thought that I would grow up and be a woman kissing anything with scales or that shops online for roaches and worms hoping for the fastest delivery. I never pictured myself growing older, sitting on my back deck on a beautiful summer day beside a shallow filled kiddie pool accompanied by lizards floating on unicorn themed inflatable drink holders....
Yet here we are.
I was over 30 before I was properly introduced to a bearded dragon and that was when I learned for the first time that reptiles aren't actually the creepy and crawling creatures I believed they were. Up until that day, I had no real experience or knowledge of reptiles and never considered them as an actual pet, let alone anything I would willingly own. That was also the day that changed my life. Now I can't imagine life without my bearded dragons or the love and happiness they have brought to my every day.
While I may not be considered a "typical reptile owner" and I enjoy dressing my beardies up in outfits and costumes, creating, new, fun, and innovative ways to interact with them, allowing them new experiences. I also actually genuinely believe they benefit from it and enjoy their lives just as much as I enjoy doing all these things.
First, through my Instagram and posting pictures and videos of my bearded dragons in clothes, costumes, on a leash going for a walk, in an outside enclosure I've created, as well as their many adventures they've experienced, it's not all for show or to be silly. As I said before, I was in my 30's before I was introduced into the reptile and exotic pet world, and until I was, I avoided the such because I didn't understand and didn't have the knowledge or experience. I believe that there are many, many others out there that may be in the same boat! By posting publicly and openly expressing about my bearded dragons, I truly feel I am bringing attention, awareness, and knowledge about exotic animals, reptiles, and pets that are uncommon and unusual, and I'm showing and educating people on what they're all missing through NOT owning their own!
In addition to that, I try and express how fun they can be, the many different ways you can interact with them and create new experiences, demonstrate that there are many different ways to love your pet rather than what may be considered "normal" or "traditional". It's important to me that I not only spread the word that exotic pets aren't as scary as some may think, but also what great and fulfilling pets they can make for any individual and any family. Even more than that, I strive to show the world that it's okay to be different! Why be "normal" when "weird", "unordinary", and "unusual" is so much more fun!! There's also not just one way to do something, such as being a pet owner and just because one way is "different", "uncommon", or "strange", it doesn't mean that it's wrong or negative.
Through everything I've experienced so far on my journey and all the amazing people I've come across, one thing has become very apparent for me and confirms itself over and over...
"Exotic" is much less strange and unusual the more you explore and experience it, and then that term "exotic" loses that definition because it's no longer unknown or foreign.
However, no matter how you try to define or justify what's "normal", "usual", or "common", the more the meanings of those words become what's "predictable", "expected", and what's "comfortable"...
My point is this... we can all learn a thing or two from the bearded dragon, or any reptile for that matter, because they've had it right this entire time! They're exotic pets and they're proud! They're different and that's what makes them special! Even though they don't mean to be inspiring, they can actually teach US as humans, to embrace what makes US different, as individuals, and in our lives, and also, that being unordinary and uncommon from anyone or anything else is actually what makes us special!
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Jessica Murphy-Doyle