History — July 6th, 2020 — For the first ten years of my life, I really wanted a dog. I always loved animals. Not just dogs, but I liked all animals. It was always fun to go to farm shows and see the horses, sheep, goats, pigs, and more. When I was nine or ten, I got my first dog. A few years later, I wanted another pet.
I fell in love with bearded dragons. After doing lots of research, I petitioned my parents for their approval. My dad had an iguana in college, so he was comfortable with lizards. He thought it would be an incredibly cool pet. Still, I had more work to do. Convincing my mother to get a bearded dragon would be a difficult task. Ultimately, I failed.
About one year later, a friend from school told me that he wanted a leopard gecko. Since he wished for a leopard gecko, I thought this could be my chance to convince my mother again. My friend was in the same situation as I was because his dad was in, but his mom was very out. He said he wanted to go to the pet store to look at them. My mom offered to drive us to a higher-end fish and reptile store that was about an hour away. Thankfully she knew that the animals in the big box stores weren't as healthy.
My friend's goal was to have my mom reassure his mom that a leopard gecko would be a good pet. My mother wasn't a fan of the Leos. However, she did seem to like the bearded dragons that I had admired in the past. We all got to hold them, and then we went home. My friend ended up talking his parents into getting a new pet bearded dragon. So, of course, I talked my parents into getting one as well. We decided on a Leatherback. The pet store told us that it was a male and sold us all of the needed supplies. Unlike most pet stores, they actually did a decent job. They didn't try to sell us loose substrates or any other garbage. Overall, I was glad we went there instead of the big stores.
We named our new family pet: his name was Ruger. By the way, we found out that he was a she. It only took my mother a few hours to get attached to Ruger. She would spend countless hours looking and talking to her. Ruger had a special way of brightening up everyone's day. She was very tame and lovable.
Skip ahead to Ruger's adult years: she continued to be many people's favorite. Of course, being the entrepreneurial person that I was and am, I desired to purchase a few more bearded dragons and start breeding. I did tons of research and compiled all of my data into a 50-page synopsis. It looked easy enough (I was wrong). Feeling that I was ready, I purchased three more: two females and a proven breeder male. One month later, I purchased another male and two more females. That year I bought 27 bearded dragons. I had a crazy food bill and a lot of work.
Ruger was the first female that I bred. That year she laid three clutches. However, Ruger suffered from egg binding on her third clutch. We didn't know what was wrong until it was too late. Ruger passed away in October of that year. I honestly wish that I wouldn't have bred my first bearded dragon. Maybe then we would have had a little while longer with her. Even so, Ruger is the true founder of Cliffhanger Reptiles, and while it may seem odd, she died so that 26 eggs from that clutch could live.
We will never have another bearded dragon like Ruger. In fact, nobody will ever have another pet like their first. Your learning experience defines your pet. We were afraid to pick Ruger up at first, and we didn't know what it meant when she puffed her beard. These are examples of our learning. I'll never be afraid to pick up another bearded dragon. While there are other friendly bearded dragons, none will be like Ruger, because she taught us what it means to be a bearded dragon owner.
Although it was tough, we moved on rather than getting caught up in the passing of Ruger. My father and I continued to grow the company. This led to what we have today.
This is Cliffhanger Reptiles, and that is our story.