Thanks to a special effort by Mountlake Terrace Police, an 11-year-old boy was reunited with his pet bearded dragon Sunday night after the lizard was missing for more than two weeks.
The lizard, Spike, disappeared from 11-year-old Rico Orozco’s home while the family was out camping on July 28. On July 29, Orozco’s mother Casey Bolex came home and saw that Spike was missing.
“We thought he was just in our backyard or something (at first), but obviously he got under the fence and took off,” Bolex said.
When Spike was not found in their yard, Orozco then went door to door around his neighborhood asking if anyone had seen the lizard. No one had.
The attempts to find him did not end there.
“We did a Craigslist ad, my mom posted on Lost Pets of Snohomish County. Rico just kept looking for him. We were just hoping a neighbor would find him,” Bolex said.
Sixteen days later, on Aug. 13, a Mountlake Terrace resident did find him.
“A Mountlake Terrace resident was scared in their back yard because they saw this lizard,” Mountlake Terrace Police Sgt. Steve Sheets said. So they called police.
Sgt. Steve Sheets went into the resident’s yard and found the two-foot long bearded dragon. Though he looks ferocious, Spike is not aggressive.
“It’s been warm outside, so he has probably been fine,” Sheets said. “He didn’t look hurt at all.”
Officers went door to door in the area where Spike was found to see if anyone knew the lizard. One woman, who lives about a block and a half away from Spike’s home, remembered Orozco from when he was going door to door asking if anyone saw his pet.
Eventually, Bolex was connected with Mountlake Terrace Police and arranged for the lizard to be dropped off at home on the evening of Aug. 14. A Mountlake Terrace Police officer took Spike home for the night, as his daughter is familiar with the care of lizards.
On Sunday evening, Spike was brought home a little tired and stressed, Bolex said, but otherwise unharmed. He ate a full breakfast on Monday morning and his life returned to normal.
“Rico is just so happy to have him back,” Bolex said. “He was snuggling with him all morning.”
Now that Orozco’s pet is safe at home, the boy just wishes he knew what adventures Spike had during his time away from home.
“We were talking today about how we wish (Spike) had a GoPro attached to him because we’re sure he went through so many adventures and we will never know what he went through,” Bolex said.
Spike eats crickets, mealworms and other bugs, Bolex said, so he likely was able to find enough food out in the wild, but he was lucky to avoid predators like hawks, eagles and even large crows that could have gotten him.
“We had sort of given up hope that he was going to come home, and up here in the Pacific Northwest, there are so many predators,” Bolex said.
Bolex was thankful for the extra effort officers made to bring Spike home.
“Sgt. Sheets went door to door, and if no one answered, left a flyer with the information and his phone number,” Bolex said. “He went beyond his job.”
–By Natalie Covate