We ventured to Petsmart June 7 (Andrew's actual birthday) to purchase a bearded dragon. Andrew loved him and named him Bucky, after Captain America's friend. He was a baby and weighed only 5 grams! We chose him because he was the coolest and most alert dragon at the store.
He seemed to like being held for a few days. I loved how he cocked his little head from side to side and moved his eyes around to check out his new surroundings. He ate calcium-coated crickets with the speed of a cheetah and loved kale and carrots, too. Watching him hunt his crickets each evening was family fun for the Burbanks.
He very coolly and proudly sat on his log or his tree, holding his head high and loving the heat lamp.
The boys were in Andrew's room all the time, checking on "Buckman" and "Buckmeister."
We wanted to give him the best of our environment, so here he is playing Godzilla as a curious and jealous Dora looks on.
After a few days and much more parental research, we learned he, in fact, did not really like to be held because he was so very young. One evening, he leapt out of my hands and ran away. Both boys were crying and after 10 minutes, we located him in the guest bathroom. He happily went back into his terrarium.
Here he is with the aggressive tail pointing up, possibly challenging Andrew or some of those crickets he could see in their little cage.
That tail photo was the last one I took of him. Earlier this week, he stopped eating and was lethargic. I talked to everyone I could and did tons of internet and book research.
We learned that beardies, especially babies, can often not see standing water, so he might not have been getting enough fluids. So, we soaked him in a bath for 20 minutes each day.
We also learned that UV bulbs older than 6 months might still be lit, but not providing the animal with enough rays. Natural sun cannot be beat and these Australian desert-dwelling animals cannot get too hot, so we gave him a lot of natural sun time each day.
We bought live mealworms because they are Doritos in the lizard world and, although not the best possible nutrition, they might bump up his energy.
He wasn't interested in any of this stuff and just seemed to be getting weaker and weaker.
So, I found a highly-recommended reptile vet and took him there in a shoe box yesterday. Dr. Brown said things didn't look good, but he and the assistant force-fed Bucky some baby food and an antibiotic in the tiniest syringes I have ever laid eyes on. As the doctor left, he seemed hopeful and said, "He really might pull through!" His thoughts were that Bucky had some parasite or virus and he said that lizards are slow to get sick and then are slow to get well, especially the babies.
I left with hope, especially when Bucky was running around the box on the 30-minute trip home. I kept putting him in the sunny window and he even cocked his head a few times and eyeballed me with his baby browns.
However, as soon as I pulled into our driveway and peeked into the box, he was limp. He was gone. I took him inside and broke the news to Andrew.
The boys planned a funeral and we buried him today. We put him in a soft baby washcloth in a small tupperware container and proceeded outside to some instrumental music. Andrew carried him. Both grandmas were in attendance.
The boys had written down some things they loved about him in the 19 days we had him, and read them aloud over his final resting spot.
They wanted to include sparklers in the ceremony, so of course we did.
Andrew placed his sweet little body in the 2-foot hole and we all filled it in.
Andrew has gone out there a few times, just to hang out and think.
We bought a hosta today and planted it right above him.
I hope his tiny reptile brain somehow knew we all loved him and thought he was the coolest ever. He taught us a lot in our 19 days together.
We love you, Bucky. We will miss you.