Every day on social media, people share videos and pictures of adorable pets all over the world – either of their own pets, or of random pets – and they garner tons of likes, shares, and comments while they spread like wildfire. Arguably the most “viral” posts on social media, anything involving cute animals is definitely welcomed by anyone looking for something to squeal about for a second or two. Well, VetDepot is going to start showcasing some of these animals that definitely deserve more traction in the world of internet fandom! Every week, I will be shining a spotlight on an amazing creature that one of our fans has shared with us, and their stories will spread across the globe. We’re going to kick this week off by introducing you to Rex the Bearded Dragon!
Since most of the pet pictures and videos you see online are dogs and cats, let’s begin by sharing a reptile – one of the most unrepresented pets in the online “viral” pet culture! The majority of pet owners opt for a “cute and fluffy” sort of companion animal, whether it’s a dog, cat, or some kind of small animal such as a guinea pig, hamster, or rabbit. Reptile owners are definitely out there, but harder to spot, since you don’t usually see anyone taking their iguana for a walk or driving with their boa constrictor to work. However, if you lived in the United Kingdom in the town where Rex the bearded dragon hails from, you could possibly see his mother Becky taking him for a nice little walk (with his special harness made just for bearded dragons) around the yard! If not, you can find him on Instagram @rex.the.bearded.dragon, where he has over 2,300 followers – which is WAY more than we have!
Rexamondo (which is his legal full name) may not be fluffy, but he definitely is cute, with his little face that seems to perpetually be in a smiling position. His owner told me that he indeed loves cuddles, and enjoys soft, fluffy toys and blankets to curl up in. I’ve read plenty of articles online about reptiles that very strictly proclaim that reptiles are “incapable” of love and affection, and when they are “cuddling” with you, they are only doing so to warm their cold-blooded bodies. I asked Becky about this, and she disagreed wholeheartedly with that way of thinking, insisting that Rex very obviously loves receiving attention. In fact, she says that he is quite demanding of affection and cuddles – sometimes displaying a slight sense of rejection when he cannot be showered in love at that exact moment in time. Who are we humans to presumptuously state that reptiles are not able to experience the love and compassion that dogs, cats, and other warm-blooded mammals feel? Just from Rex’s pictures, you can even get the sense that he is quite a spunky little “love bug” as Becky calls him, and that he has a sparkling personality!
Even more heart-warming than the adorable photo shoots that Becky has with Rex (which she has for most holidays), are the stories involving the people he has touched in his short 2-year life so far on this Earth. The first of which being her 95-year-old grandmother named Winnie, who was always deathly afraid of any and all reptiles. For almost a hundred years of her life, Becky’s grandma avoided all snakes, lizards, and turtles – she even looked away when they popped up on her television! At first, Winnie was disgusted with Rex (isn’t that heart-breaking?) when Becky brought him into the home, and insisted that he be confined to one room and one room only at all times. Curiosity got the better of her though, and by the end of the second day of Rex’s residence, she was talking to him and saying how he cute he was. Now that Rex has won her over with his adorable smile and loving disposition, Becky’s grandmother quite often takes him out of his tank herself and gives him cuddles and even talks to him. That’s pretty profound, for a little reptile to win over the heart of a woman who had previously detested reptiles for over NINE DECADES!
Another person whose life was touched by Rexamondo’s magical charisma, is Becky’s 9-year-old nephew named Jon-Luke – who suffers from both ADHD and Autism. After being introduced to Rex, the two of them became instant BFFs and continue their friendship every time that Jon-Luke comes over to visit! Becky says that Rex has a very nice calming effect on Jon-Luke if he is having an outburst, meltdown, or even just a particularly overwhelming day. As soon as Jon-Luke sees Rexamondo’s lovely little face, his anxiety fades and is replaced with love for his dear friend! After petting him and talking to him for a little bit, Jon-Luke is stress-free and back to enjoying himself. It sounds to me that Rex should be a certified therapy animal and help others as well!
If Rex has made this much impact on the world around him in just two years of life, I cannot WAIT to see his adventures in the future! There is no doubt in my mind that he will change dozens, if not hundreds (or thousands) of people’s perceptions of what a reptile is capable of. So keep doing your thing, Rexamondo, and prove to everyone who thinks reptiles are “gross” that they are GROSSLY underestimating the companionship a reptile can provide! To keep up with his antics, follow him on his Instagram account, and if you would like your pet to be featured next week, email firstname.lastname@example.org!