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Lost Beardie

Not sure where or how to begin. I have always been a dog owner until March of 2020 when coronavirus hit. My girlfriend's daughter wanted a dog so we settled on a bearded dragon. Initially, I didn't know about beardies however it took me about a minute to fall in love.

Not only were we dealing with quarantine like everyone else in the world I was waiting to have surgery for prostate cancer. Post surgery I had complications and the only thing that kept my spirits up and kept me pushing through it was the bond I developed with my dragon Dino. He wasn't your typical beardie but maybe he was. He loved being held and I loved having him Nestle into my chest and nuzzle his nose into my neck. He wasn't your typical run all over the place dragon. He was pretty chill. Some would even say lazy kind of like my two sons. He wouldn't chase crickets he would wait until they came right to him. The great thing about superworms is they don't move quickly so he was able to grab them without moving his body. He never became a big vegetable eater.

In October of 2020 he started his brumation and it lasted throughout the holidays and into the beginning of February. During that time my bond with him became stronger each day. When I was at the doctors I would come home anxious to see him. He always put a smile on my face. Never thought I would be someone that would kiss a lizard but now I wouldn't even think twice.

I am heartbroken because on Tuesday May 20th 2021 I was out at therapy for my prostate cancer and my girlfriend was at home where she has been working since covid started. She was out on the deck trying to get a little bit of vitamin D. We live in a new apartment complex on the second floor. Her computer which was in our office chimed indicating she had a new email. She quickly got up and opened the screen door and proceeded to close it behind her. She went about her business responding to the email. When she returned to the porch she noticed the screen door was left open. Dino was running around the house as he usually did and the more active he became would indicate that he was looking for the perfect place to do his business.

She was probably gone for close to 10 minutes. Those are the worst 10 minutes of our lives and 10 minutes we wish we had back right now. We don't know what happened since she did not see him move towards the door or go outside. All we know is that the screen door was left open and he was nowhere to be found in the apartment.

After leaving therapy I was heading to the gym to get a little exercise in when I got a text that she could not find Dino. Now he has found a few places in the apartment to snuggle up against something so there have been a couple times where it took a few minutes to find him. This time was different. So I decided to head home to help her search. We never found him. The complex that we live at is surrounded by woods. I immediately went outside after searching everywhere in the apartment. I scoured the woods for hours. I have been searching every day since. Today is Saturday the 22nd and I was in the woods from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Since they don't make noise and they don't typically come when we call and they blend in to everything I figured the search would be challenging. I was correct. I have desperately searched ever since all the while trying to keep myself from sobbing constantly.

I don't know why this has had such an impact on me but it has. I will never stop looking and I will be sad about losing him for the rest of my life. He was only a year and a half old and my expectation was I would have him for the next decade Plus. I guess it was not meant to be. I will keep looking. At times the grief is overwhelming as I'm sure many beardie owners on these forums that have lost their dragons can attest to.

Dino, you were the best buddy I could have ever asked for. I pray everyday that you find your way back to me or I find you. I'm one sad DinoDaddy. Love, your best pal.
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