When the proud parents of Ziggy, a bearded dragon, agreed to talk to me about their pet, I had no idea what to expect. My animal experience was limited to furry creatures like cats, dogs, or my own pet rabbit. What I certainly didn’t anticipate, however, was meeting a two foot lizard that hopped freely around the dorm as I chatted with one of his owners.
On a sunny Thursday morning, I sat down with Harrison, a sophomore with a concentration in biology and improv, to talk about Ziggy. Harrison shares Ziggy with his girlfriend, Kaylyn, a senior studying child development and public action. The two adopted the bearded dragon a year ago, a time that many students spent in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Last year was so hard on campus.” Harrison divulged, “We [the class of 2024] didn’t have an orientation, so we had to go way out of our way to meet people.” Ziggy helped his owners cope with the stress and loneliness that occurred as a result of social distancing. Harrison stated that he and Kaylyn were drawn to Ziggy because of the unique crook in his tail. It made him stand out from the other baby bearded dragons, all of which were only a few inches at the time.
Ziggy was, “a perfect little companion to get”, or so Harrison attested as the bearded dragon relaxed on his chest, as he did often, especially during the peak of the pandemic. According to Harrison, bearded dragons are the perfect pet for people without reptile experience. He joked that Ziggy is “like a dog” as the lizard playfully weaved in and out of his legs. Ziggy often takes strolls around the Bennington campus, clad proudly in his winged harness (pictured below). He is capable of moving surprisingly quickly; if you squint, he seems almost canine-like. He’s as amiable as a dog, too, unbothered by Harrison holding his front feet like the two are locking hands.
Ziggy has his own Instagram account, @benningtondragon. It highlights him adorned in a homemade crown to celebrate his first birthday, as well as shots of him swaddled in blankets and exploring campus.
Ziggy is the perfect combination of low-maintenance and comfort: huggable, but not needy, sturdy but not physically imposing, gentle but not timid. He is most definitely a Beacon endorsed campus pet.
Ellie Churchill is a first-year student at Bennington College studying political science and journalism. She is passionate about literature, weightlifting, and animals. She loves reading, especially mystery novels, and founded the Bennington Book Club earlier this year.