Larger Than Life: The remarkable journey of a lizard named Scooter.

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In life there are animals and people that leave their mark on the world. They touch the lives of the individuals they cross and create unforgettable memories. Most of the time it’s people we hear about. There are always exceptions to this rule. This is Scooter’s story:

Forward: I would be lying if I said writing this blog was easy. Matter of fact I’ve put it off for quite sometime. When you lose an animal so close to you, it’s extremely hard to talk, think; let alone write about it.

The following blog is a collection of my favorite memories, moments, and appearances featuring our #1 Animal Ambassador; Scooter the Green Iguana.

 

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Scooter James came to us in the winter of 2006. He arrived emaciated, dehydrated, and full of parasites. He was one of the last surviving members of the “River Festival Iguanas;” a group of iguanas that were infamously given away as prizes at a local Boise festival. His old owners confessed to feeding him pizza, spaghetti, and ice cream; a diet not appropriate for a strict vegetarian. It took several months for Scooter to gain a healthy weight (imagine trying to gain weight eating veggies)!

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He soon became a star during our educational outreach programs. Looking back now I don’t think he ever turned down a banana!

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Scooter always had a calm disposition. I would regularly let him join the tortoises in their outdoor yard to graze and soak up the summer sunshine.

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It wasn’t long before “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” came calling. I got my start appearing on Tonight and was thrilled that I was invited back to share one of my favorite new animals.

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Hanging out in the car with Scooter headed to the Tonight studios in Burbank, California. (check out the braces)!

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Who says a lizard can’t get a little sun?

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He loved looking out the window during our adventure.

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Getting a little ‘kiss’ before the show! Scooter was always a ladies man.

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And there he was; shining in front of millions of people spreading the message of responsible pet ownership. He even got to meet a few celebrities; including Samuel L. Jackson. You can see clips of the appearance here: http://www.corbinmaxey.com/Portals/44/media/corbin.mov

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In 2007, Scooter and I ventured into brand-new territory: creating, producing, and hosting a local television show called “Live with the Reptile Guy.” He was constantly sleeping on set due to the late Friday night tapings.

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It was this year that he made his debut on our annual Christmas card.

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In January 2008 we made our first appearance on “The Martha Stewart Show.” Scooter proudly made ‘banana mash’ with Martha. Click the link to watch the appearance: http://www.marthastewart.com/264836/pet-reptiles

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Scooter soon became a local celebrity; gracing the cover of local magazines.

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In 2009 we began a press tour across the United States. First stop: Idaho News Channel 7.

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“The PIX Morning Show” in New York City.

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Scooter in his dressing room at the PIX studios (the same one used by Miley Cyrus the day prior).

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“The Morning Blend” in Omaha, Nebraska.

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We arrived back in time for his favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.

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In 2010 we landed an article in Reptiles Magazine.

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We successfully wrapped four seasons of “LIVE with The Reptile Guy.” To watch the documentary visit this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9isgsuIJJ8

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In February of 2011 we made our first appearance on “The Today Show” (the anchors were much bigger in person).

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Scooter heating up backstage before the segment. To watch it in full click the link: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/41162089/vp/41758832/#41758832

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Soon after we appeared in Boise State University’s student-run paper; the Arbiter.

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This was my favorite moment with Scooter: taking graduation pictures in the fall of 2011.

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I wanted to leave you all with a picture of Scooter doing what he did best; soaking up the summer sunshine.

Afterward: It was determined by our vet that Scooter passed away from Kidney Disease. It commonly affects large male iguanas living in drier parts of the Pacific Northwest. No matter how humid Scooter’s environment was, or how many times we soaked him, there was nothing we could have done. I personally think age was also a factor. Scooter’s estimated age at the time of his rescue was 10-12 years; he could have even been older (iguanas live 10-20 years in captivity).

What I do know for certain is Scooter touched the lives of many people. He put smiles on the faces of thousands and educated millions about responsible pet ownership. Personally, he helped me pass milestones and achieve my dreams. He also was a fantastic ambassador for his wild counterparts; promoting conservation and preservation of their habitat in Central and South America.

He will truly be missed.

– Corbin