Rodney Times : February 9th 2016
Waiting for your inorganic collection P5 Rodney Times Tuesday, February 9, 2016 YOUR PLACE, YOUR PAPER Three men in aboat(of weed) P8 Holly Sassen and her bearded dragon ‘Komodo’ enjoy a day at the beach. The Australian lizard is walked on aminiature leash and given a few snacks along theway. Lizard enjoys a good walk MATTHEWCATTIN You’ve heard of dog walking on the beach – but lizards? Lizard lover Holly Sassen and her bearded dragon ‘Komodo’ love to spend time at the beach. Equipped with a miniature scale harness, a leash and a few snacks, they can be spotted walking Hibiscus Coast and North Shore beaches daily in summer. Sassen takes her scaly sidekick everywhere, ‘‘whether it be shop- ping, to the beach, or picking up kids’’. ‘‘If I take her shopping I know to plan for an extra hour because I will be stopped so much,’’ Sassen says. ‘‘Heaps of people get fright- ened, but I just explain what she is and sometimes they will pat her body. Most people end up loving her.’’ Sassen says dogs aren’t as quick to warm to Komodo. ‘‘They’re more frightened of her than she is of them. She doesn’t like birds though…’’ With sharp spines, claws, and a prickly ‘beard’ which puffs out, Komodo’s attempts at affection take some getting used to. ‘‘She’s a bit more scratchy than she is cuddly, but she tries,’’ Sassen says. ‘‘She rubs her head up under my neck.’’ Komodo is fed mainly insects and fruit. In her spare time, Sassen runs the North Shore Turtle, Reptile and Amphibian Rescue. Whether reptile-sitting, doing educational visits at schools and kindergartens, or taking in wild, abandoned or sick reptiles, Sassen is kept on her toes. A surge in red-eared slider turtle finds, particularly around Orewa and Whangaparaoa, has seen her taking them in faster than she can rehome them. ‘‘I rely on donations to do what I do,’’ she says. ‘‘Because I’m not a registered charity I find it a lot harder.’’ A ‘‘book nerd’’, Sassen is studying veterinary nursing at Mt Albert and completing a herpetology (reptiles and amphibians) course online. She opened the rescue centre upon discovering how many dumped reptiles need help. Most people don’t realise how big their pets are going to get when they buy them, Sassen says. ‘‘My biggest advice is know what you’re doing first,’’ she says. ❚ Search facebook.com/ northshoreturtlerescue for more. SPEND $40 & BE IN TO WIN DIAMOND STUDS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY Promotion Period: 1 February – 14 February 2016. Terms and Conditions apply.
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