I Don’t do Fluffy

25 Apr

Many people who regularly follow what we do here, and on our sister sites Reptile Living Room & Herpetoculture House eZine, know that we don’t whine and complain about topics which get under our skin. We report, give guidance when asked, and generally try to be a cohesive part of the reptile community at large which includes both herpetoculture and herpetology. Some of our writers are active in various reptile forums where they share their knowledge even further which is where the following correspondence took place. Such as the question (see below) which was posed to me last week. Anything in italics is printed directly from the site where the question originated.

“Okay I am relatively new to owning bearded dragons. I just rescued one yesterday from a add on craigslist. I now have two dragons. The one I rescued yesterday seems to have some kind of rot going on. His right front foot seems to be completely rotten. It looks like it is just barely hanging on there by a thread. I am not sure if it is male or female yet. They said it was three years old but its awfully tiny to be that old my other male is only two and is three times the size of the one i just got. I have also noticed that besides his foot being completely rotted off. His back feet two of his toes are not separated. They don’t have claws either. I don’t know what to do. I started by giving him a luke warm bath and putting some hydrogen peroxide on the foot and this morning i put some triple antibiotic ointment on it as well. I however know that the foot is not savable. What can I do?”
Given the above question(s) I pondered this for some time before answering as I have learned over the years of being involved in various industries and conversations that my responses can be taken as somewhat ‘terse’ when read in email format. This may strike some as unusual as I am a writer, so technically speaking I should have the skills to emote properly through email. Apparently the answer I gave (see below) wasn’t met with happiness either:
“Take it to a veterinarian who can properly treat the beardie and until you actually have more experience I would highly recommend that you do not rescue any animals as these animals come at very significant cost due to vet bills, medications, etc. You may also download my free ebook on bearded dragons at http://www.reptileapartment.comNow, I thought the above answer was satisfactory and answered the questions succinctly and helped more than enough. Obviously I was mistaken for this is the response I received:
“I have experience with other handicap animals such as dogs snakes, pigs and other creatures. I am an animal rescue person. I think that your answer was rather rude. You have no right to tell me that I should not rescue animals. I am tying to give these animals a second fighting chance at life. It is either me rescue them and attempt to make their life better or let them die. which do you think is right? Do you not think that I know what the responsibility of taking on a rescue animal was? I was just wondering if this was something I could take care of at home or if I needed to consult my vet. Thanks for wasting my time.”
I must say at first when I read this I was immediately tempted to just blow it off. But then I thought better of it and decided I had better respond and explain more fully. So I did reply with the following.
“”Okay I am relatively new to owning bearded dragons.” To clarify this statement tells me you are someone who doesn’t have experience in rescuing reptiles. If you were/are an animal/reptile rescue person in my opinion the proposed situation is not even a question as you stated “His right front foot seems to be completely rotten. It looks like it is just barely hanging on there by a thread.” I don’t know of anyone who regularly does in-home amputations which this situation clearly calls for as any qualified reptile person with experience would tell you. That’s the first thing. Now then, moving on to another statement that shows me inexperience “putting some hydrogen peroxide on the foot and this morning i put some triple antibiotic ointment” this leads me to believe that you are using human grade medicine which is completely different than what is used by veterinarians. Never anywhere was it mentioned that you have any experience rescuing reptiles or anything at all. That said based on my decade plus experiences with reptiles and their captive care and the individuals who operate rescue organizations the above led me to believe that you were someone with all the best intentions which is great but often times the best intentions have cost the lives of countless reptiles in my experience. I do apologize that you felt I was “rude” in my statement however had you been clear in stating your experience I am sure I would have responded in a more “professional” manner as I deal personally with many rescue organizations in the reptile realm world wide as a matter of fact. I wish you all the best in your pursuits.”So what are your thoughts dear readers? I ask not trying to win sides but honestly I don’t want to be an ass and I am really interested to hear your take on this situation. Should I be more ‘sensitive’ to people and their needs? Should I keep delivering information straight and with very little filtration? Please comment and let me know.

2 Responses to “I Don’t do Fluffy”

  1. Gary Rolfe April 25, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    I often hear the phrase “I rescued this *whatever*, now how do I look after it?”. More often than not the animal has come out of the frying pan and into the fire.

    It’s fairly cut and dry for me. If you have an ill animal, take it to the vet. Ask people with more experience than you for their opinions, of course, but listen to the answers!

  2. Ciara utech April 26, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    I believe u handled it the way you should gave. I do reptile reduces and have for 12 yrs. When asking a question I always list my experiences, and when told to go to a vet I thank the people for heir opinions. I also when reading it had the impression that the person was a beginner keeper which confused me as to why he even was taking in a rescue.
    Antibiotic oitment should only be using in scratches, not in wounds. Any experienced reptile rescuer would know this. If having a retold in that extreme condition, the first reaction should has been to take it to a vet. So all in all John I believe you handled this the right way and the reaction… In my eyes only shows that the person got a hit to their pride. So i will say this.. If you ask a expert their opinion or help then be prepared to hear an answer you don’t like. And if you really do know what you are doing then say it up front and be grateful for feedback.

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