This past Monday morning, we said goodbye to Trogdor the Burninator, our sandfire bearded dragon who was Eric and my constant companion for almost eight years.
The Australian Outback in his blood (bearded dragons are from Australia), Trogdor was born on January 23, 2009, in Oregon. We picked him especially from the breeder’s website and experienced a shock when he arrived by mail in a cardboard box. He was so tiny!
We took care of him like he was a newborn. We had baby bearded dragon books, and we tracked all his daily activities in a log to make sure he stayed healthy.
Trogdor’s first cross-country journey was from Albuquerque to Seattle in 2010. His terrarium took up the entire back seat of Eric’s sedan. During our multi-day move from state to state, “Baby T” sunbathed on the dashboard or hung out on one of our shoulders.
Less than two years later, Trogdor was back in the car, moving with us to Austin. He wanted to know why we were moving in the wintertime. We reminded him that he had a life of relative ease, and that we would have him back under his UV lamps soon.
As we ramped up our search for an RV at the end of 2013, Trogdor was part of the decision-making process. By this time he had been with us for almost five years, and we couldn’t imagine leaving him behind. At the same time, his terrarium had a 35-inch by 18-inch footprint, which is kind of a big space in an RV.
We found an RV that worked for Trogdor. After removing a recliner, his terrarium fit perfectly between the kitchen and fold-out table behind the passenger seat. Eric worked across from him on the sofa every day, and the little guy was a constant part of our conversations and travel dreams. Eventually we introduced Rhythm Jasmine Highland, our rescue kitten. Trogdor wasn’t overly fond of her, acting like a cross between a T-Rex and a grumpy old man, but Rhythm was fascinated by him.
Slowly, Trogdor began to show his age. His eye sight deteriorated, which made eating more challenging. After we arrived back in Texas to get ready for Baby Nomad’s birth, there were other warning signs that all was not well. We hope Trogdor’s last days weren’t painful, but it’s hard to know when the little guy never complained about anything. He passed quietly on Monday, Nov. 8, around 10 a.m.
To our knowledge (and don’t ruin it by telling us otherwise), Trogdor was the most well-traveled bearded dragon in the world. He visited 24 of the 50 states. When he was happy, his sandfire colors were bright. When he was stressed, he could turn ink black. He loved to be held and petted, and he never bit or nipped. He was a testament to his species.
We miss him. His terrarium sits empty, and Rhythm wanders around it and asks where he is. At night, where his red night light always illuminated the living room, the area is now pitch dark. We thank Baby T for his love and companionship. We wonder whether he knew that Baby Nomad is due to arrive any day, and wanted to make room for our new arrival. We hope he’s at peace.