Amy came to visit her Grandma and Grandpa this week. Sunshine could not come conveniently on the plane, but Amy’s Dad drove him in his cage from Arizona to Utah several days later. When Sunshine saw Amy, he waddled quickly over to Amy and–I kid you not–gave her hand a little lick, a lick normally reserved for catching cockroaches. Though I cannot see emotion in this lizard’s features, without a doubt I saw him express enthusiastic and real affection for his human.
I was happy to see Sunshine in person on a short trip to visit Amy’s family. And he seemed happy to see me, too, even if I do say so myself. Sunshine ate shredded kale from my outstretched fingers, and clambered right up to a shoulder perch (above). He’s still plenty spikey to pet, but so calm and gentle–and grown up!
An Essay on Reptiles
by Amy, age 9
I am going to tell you my opinion about why you should own a reptile. First, some reptiles are smart. Reptiles that are smart could be a bearded dragon, a snake, and a lot of others. Next, there are lots of reptiles you could choose from. You could own a bearded dragon, any type of snake, a frog, or any other type of reptile. Last, reptiles are very cute. All of the reptiles in the whole world are cute. I hope you like my opinion about reptiles. I hope you learned something new, maybe you found a reptile you want, and maybe you even found a reptile you’ve never heard of. I hope you have fun with your reptile if you ever get one.
Amy is a great swimmer, a veritable dolphin. (When I swim with her, she sticks to me like a friendly octopus!) Amy’s wonderful mom taxis her to and from swim team, where Amy has learned all the standard strokes: crawl, breast stroke, back stroke, and even butterfly. Sunshine is mom’s junior cabbie, perched on her leg, helping her navigate Gilbert’s busy streets. Of course, Amy and Sunshine are always glad to be reunited after swim team.
Amy is remodeling Sunshine’s apartment. Actually, this is his short-term rental, as it were, where Sunshine sometimes hangs out during the day while Amy does her homework. Comfy quarters. His main house is a large glass tank with a rope hammock and a heat lamp. No crickets jumping around in there–Sunshine ate them all!
Like I have told you before, Sunshine and Amy are inseparable.
Having enjoyed a hot bath, it’s time to chill on the couch in a hair-drying towel and read a book together.
Sunshine, not knowing how to read (yet), is content to listen and gaze off into imagination.
I think he is growing long and stout under all Amy’s pampering!
Amy could not, of course, leave Sunshine out of Halloween, so she made him a costume hat. Cute little Sunshine became the dreaded Dragon Witch. Well, with a pink witch’s hat and a pink spider, Sunshine can’t be too scary. Which is good, because Sunshine, although a thorny dragon lizard, is a gentle pleasant little beast. So I think Amy has struck the perfect scary-cute balance, don’t you!
Normally scuttling around on the floor or table top, or warming in his rope hammock, Sunshine seemed to enjoyed the view of the world from the top of Amy’s head. A little perspective makes all the difference. But, hold on, Sunshine!
(Amy’s dog Coconut is pleased to have made her first cameo appearance on this blog.)
Amy and Sunshine like playing Leap Frog (or is it Leap Lizard). And, when they’re tired of jumping over each other, they take a stroll through the house. Sunshine is keeping a sharp eye out for enemies and obstacles. Good dragon.
Whereas Sunshine may be Amy’s art instructor (see Bearded Dragon Mermaids), Amy is Sunshine’s piano teacher. They make a good pair, don’t you think?!
Sunshine began his life of friendship with Amy just seven months ago as a tiny young lizard. Now he is in full adolescence, and still calm, patient, and pleasant. Amy thought a portrait of her friend was in order. Here is her first “peek-a-boo” angle.
And now, Sunshine’s full-color portrait, drawn expertly by Amy. In Portuguese one would say, “Tal e qual,” meaning “Exactly so.” Great work, Amy!
Amy and Sunshine decided to go into the delivery business, called “Delivery Squad.” Watch out UPS! Amy did all the initial heavy lifting by building the business headquarters. And she designed and fabricated a specialty delivery van, backpack, and cap to fit her Bearded Lizard partner. Perhaps unfortunately, Sunshine can deliver packages only from one side of the dining table to the other. But the service is personal!
Ready for business!
Every Sunday night Amy’s family gathers for a nice family dinner, a spiritual or musical devotional, dessert, and games. Even Sunshine joins in, munching his salad and playing along in a game of Sorry. These special times have been important for Amy’s family bond and strengthen relationships, and could well be replicated in some form by other families. Enjoy especially the desserts and games–only, Sunshine won’t be on your team!
With Phoenix Arizona regularly reaching 110F in June, Amy has made sure Sunshine is prepared for the hot sun, with his own straw hat. Of course, the Bearded Dragon lizard is native to the brutally hot Australian desert. But whether Sunshine needs a hat or not, Amy is loyal and caring and looks after Sunshine’s every need.
Amy loves riding the zip line her dad built in the back yard. What a thrill for to speed through the air. But this is one activity where Sunshine says, Leave me out! The whirring metallic sound of the pulley racing over the cable alarms the lizard, and is the only sound or event that has caused her to gape and frill. And that’s okay. Sunshine doesn’t have to like everything!
In just six months, Sunshine has grown from a rather drab little pointy creature to a beautifully-hued growing pointy creature. (Keep those crickets coming!) Sunshine is as gentle as ever, and she and Amy remain the best of friends.
Growing Sunshine, with Bracelet
Amy and Sunshine: “Buds and Pards Forever”
Thousands of high school graduations happened by pre-recorded broadcast with empty auditoriums. Among the illustrious graduates were Amy’s sister, Afton, and cousin, Hyrum. Unfazed, when Amy couldn’t go to Afton’s cap-and-gown, Amy brought the cap-and-gown to Afton, with a little help from Sunshine. Congratulations graduates of the Class of 2020!
Welcome to the new page “Adventures with Sunshine” on my Rabbit Lane blog. This page chronicles the adventures of my niece Amy and Sunshine, her pet bearded dragon.
Amy discovered a You Tube channel called Snake Discovery. She loved learning about reptiles. Her good mama (my sister) started taking her on field trips to the Arizona Reptile Center to see many varieties of reptiles. Amy’s interest deepened, and she began asking for a pet lizard. In advance of her 8th birthday, Amy picked out a Bearded Dragon, and they purchased it and put it on hold for the day of the birthday celebration. The week of her birthday, Amy became ill with the flu. On her fourth day of fever, she looked up at her mama with sad eyes and asked if they could go get her dragon a little early. Of course, my sister said, and brought home the 6-week-old lizard. Amy named her Sunshine. Sunshine is the perfect little friend and playmate for Amy. They are inseparable. Amy loves Sunshine, and Sunshine is gentle, patient, and even quietly affectionate with Amy.
Stay tuned for more Adventures with Sunshine!