TAKING CARE OF YOUR PET DRAGON
Following on from my recent paper on Pet Authors, it occurs to me that there are pet dragons out there that would benefit from something similar. So, being an authority on the subject of dragons I see it as my duty to write out a few simple rules for the care of these rare and fabulous beasts.
1: Most people receive their pet dragon as an egg. However it is a little-known fact that a dragon egg may be several hundred years old by the time you receive it and the dragon child within has waited for the day when you will hold its egg in your hands. This is a joyous occasion, and must be treated with the respect it is due. Do not thump the egg on the table to see if you can open it, simply wait, and the dragon child will hatch in his/her own time.
2: Dragon babies can be boisterous and playful. You must make allowances for this and be prepared to replace items such as furniture, rugs, garden sheds, doors, ceilings, wallpaper, and other breakables on a weekly basis.
3: Whilst they are still less than a year old a dragon child must be fed once a day. It is very important that you DO NOT forget to do this, as it could result in other neighborhood pets (and in some cases their owners) going missing.
4: By the time a dragon baby reaches a year old it will have gained the ability to spit fire. At first these adorable creatures will think this is jolly good fun, and will continually run around setting fire to anything they see. Please do not be alarmed, as this is perfectly natural behavior, and the novelty will soon pass (although you may need to refer to rule 2 again). One good tip here is to make sure you keep a serviceable fire extinguisher in each room.
5: Your pet dragon will need a lot of exercise and for this you may need a lot of stamina. Make sure you buy a good, strong, extra long leash and a studded collar (they love studded collars). Be firm with your pet dragon, and whilst walking it make sure it does not fly too high, or you may be lifted off your feet. If this does happen please make sure you have a good grip of the leash and do not panic, as your pet dragon will eventually land again when it is hungry (always best to walk your dragon “before” you feed it).
6: Grooming your pet dragon is very important, as they often get things stuck under their scales. There are various tools required for this task, and you must make sure you have them at hand at all times as there is nothing worse than having an irate dragon rolling about in your lounge trying to remove an offending article from under a hard-to-reach scale. When your dragon is still small (less than the height of a human) you may use ordinary household items such as: tea spoons, pencils, and even fingers to extricate things from under scales. But as it grows you will begin to need several industrial strength tools for the job: crowbars pick axes and pneumatic drills are recommended here.
7: You may find toilet training your pet dragon a bit of a chore. These mischievous little characters actually know what to do as soon as they hatch. But like all dragon kind they will not let on, and will test you for a long time. So, no matter how often you show your pet dragon where the toilet is (and how to use it), the little darling will continually leave you rather smelly messages in all sorts of places: under the carpet, up the chimney, in your bed, and if you are not paying attention, over your head. Your baby dragon will think this is extremely funny for a long time, and you must have patience till it tires of this behavior and begins to use the proper room for the job.
8: Baby dragons become bored very easily when they are still young (less than 5 years old), and to this end you must spend at least 70% of each day amusing your pet. But beware, as these adorable little creatures have very good memories, and do not like to repeat things, even if many months have past since they last played with something. So it is important that you purchase new toys for your dragon each day (and DO NOT buy something it already has). However, please do not think you can discard old toys, as this will result in tantrums, and possibly cause collateral damage to your property (see rules 2 and 4)
9: Dragons seldom become ill, but if your pet dragon does come down with a cold you can be sure the whole town will know about it very quickly. For this reason it is VERY important that you soundproof your house, and warn your nearest seismographic centre that they may begin to detect some very serious seismic activity for a lengthy period of time, but not to worry about it.
10: And finally, in the wild dragons love to horde gold and precious gems. No-one can understand why they do this, and even the dragons themselves will admit it is a very strange thing to do. And so, as your baby dragon begins to develop and grow, then this peculiar instinct will begin to emerge. It usually starts with the occasional coin going missing and will rapidly work up to missing jewelry, silver candle holders, and brass door knobs. Once you notice this happening you must search for your dragon’s new “bed”… however DO NOT touch anything on it as this may lead to massive tantrums (see rules 2 and 4). Instead simply monitor the situation, and warn your local gold depository to tighten their security measures, because once this “bed-making” behavior starts your baby dragon will not be happy until its “bed” is at least twenty feet high.
And so, I hope these ten simple rules are helpful to you, and that they will see you through the first years of your baby dragon’s life. But remember one last thing, dragons will grow to become enormous, and eventually you will need to buy a very large house.