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Zep’s story: Finding not just a home, but the right home

by Erin Berge, SAS volunteer

With lime green scales and intelligent eyes, Zep, the surrendered iguana, stole the hearts of many Seattle Animal Shelter staff and volunteers in March 2016. He was known as the “man of his turf” but also a softy who adored head scratches, and while taking care of this majestic critter SAS knew Zep required an owner who would understand him and what he needed.

It can be a challenge to find the right home for many surrendered critters at SAS. Pet owners sometimes surrender their animals to SAS because they cannot provide the appropriate environment or had not researched their proper care before acquiring them. In Zep’s case, he was a “willful” male iguana who was abandoned at a local store. The size, temperature and humidity of Zep’s environment were crucial to keeping him happy, and SAS gave him the environment he needed.

But Zep was growing. Iguanas can grow up to 6 feet long and need an area at least 12 feet long to live comfortably. Zep also needed an owner who could take care of him for his lifespan, which could be up to 20 years.

The SAS team tried contacting shelters in other states, because Washington state reptile rescues were at capacity. But luckily, Zep’s story has a happy ending here in Seattle – in October 2016, SAS found his perfect match with a woman who studied zoology, who understood his behavior and could provide a healthy environment.

“She fell in love with him at first sight,” said Anna Pedroso, an SAS volunteer. “When a critter is adopted, it means that they get a second chance to be happy. It’s our responsibility to find them a home.”

The SAS team is dedicated to find the right home for all pets, but if you’re thinking about an iguana for a companion, make sure to do your research and check your local shelters! For more information about iguanas, visit the Green Iguana Society.

The Seattle Animal Shelter is located at 2061 15th Ave. W., Seattle. We are open from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday, for adoptions and licensing. Check out our website to see animals available for adoption and learn more about the adoption process.