Animal Rescue of Fresno: Reptile/Pet Expo

Jul 8, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Pets

by Wendy Hunter

Nature reminds us that the dog will wag its tail, the cat will sing, and the horse will neigh as we approach if we are only kind to them. They do not forget kindness, and that is more than some of us can say. —Charles F. Raymond, 1907

Holy underwear, Batman, it is HOT today! We are officially in July, and it feels like a volcano has exploded and we are drowning in crimson red lava. It’s 110 right now, and yup, that’s what it feels like. As opposed to when the weather person says it’s 97 degrees outside but it FEELS like 93. What the heck? C’mon now, do you take us for a bunch of fools? Nice try, you talking heads, but if you think that kind of mind-bending works on us long-time Valley residents, you are sorely mistaken. A thousand degrees will ALWAYS feel like a thousand degrees. Although, I’m still amazed when I see people walking their dogs after work, and the sidewalk is sizzling like the surface of the sun.

ARF at the Reptile Show


We volunteers at Animal Rescue of Fresno feel like a broken gramophone (Google it) every single summer when we try to educate the public about burnt dog feet. Again, if you put your palm to the cement, and it feels like your fingers are going up in flames, then it’s too damn hot for your critter to be out. They do make some adorable doggy shoes for summer and winter, so you might want to think about that. Otherwise, Miss Marples may have a midnight plan in mind while your comfortably snooze away. Hmm, if I stand on my hind legs, I just might be able to reach that thermostat.

Scorpions are a mix of lobsters, spiders, wasps, and nightmares. —Internet meme

Lacey, adopted at the Reptile Show

Recently, I’ve been telling people about my visit to the Reptile/Pet Expo at the Fresno Fairgrounds last month. Animal Rescue of Fresno participates in this event pretty much every year, and it’s always a great success. Lots of dogs, cats, reptiles, and every manner of slimy, slithering thing to turn your house into the Addams Family castle. The conversation usually goes like this:

“Hey, I worked with ARF at the Reptile/Pet Show this weekend.”

“Wow, that’s cool…wait, what?”

Then, I have to explain the whole crazy event where people can adopt dogs and cats, and, hey, a snake or two. Whatever makes you happy or floats your very plump river boat, you can find it there: snakes, scorpions, geckos, turtles, lizards, and whatever it takes to keep them alive. Don’t ask. Every so often, I enjoy draping a gigantic python around my neck, but only because my old high school buddy had one. Of course, I can understand how some people (woosey butts) are terrified of scaly skin and a forked tongue. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret; that is one weird, wild and amazing experience you’re never going to forget.

If you’re looking for something to bring a bit of color into your world, be sure and check out the geckos. My sister had one for a while, and we used to take him out into the sun and watch him change from blue to green to orange. He was way cool. The only drawback? They eat crickets, so be careful at feeding time. Those suckers can escape in a New York minute, and before you know it, they’re making themselves at home on your couch. Hey, give me back that remote!

Louie brought home his girlfriend at Thanksgiving. The nicest thing I can say about her is that all her tattoos are spelled correctly. —Robert Harling, Steel Magnolias, 1987


At the Reptile/Pet Show this year, we were thrilled to have a gigantic space. It was nice to spread out with plenty of room for the pups and ourselves. For once, there was no claustrophobia to be found, as the public moved around freely. The ARF dogs drew quite a bit of attention, and enjoyed all the petting and baby talking the animal lovers had to offer. Especially Frack who looks like a cross between a bat and a pug. That face! You couldn’t ignore him, as he danced around in his kennel all day. Baby Lacy was another favorite, and all she had to do was look cute. She’s very good at that.

Speaking of attention, the crowd attendees were what most people expect to see at a reptile show. Lots of tattoos, piercings, crazy colored hair, and anything from Comic-Con outfits to Hello Kitty in fishnets stockings. They can be a little intimidating, until you start talking to them, and see how kind they are to the dogs. They are wonderful parents, pet-owners, and even though some may look like central casting from Mad Max, they are good humans.

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said a spider to the fly;
“’Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy…”
—Mary Howitt, The Spider and the Fly, 1821

Lainey, adopted at the Reptile Show

For this year’s Reptile show, we took quite a few puppies with us. It has been a puppy-palooza out at ARF lately, and there appears to be no end. They are always a big hit with the kids, and there’s lots of shameless begging and pleading.

“Oh, please, please, please mom! Can we get a puppy? We’ll walk her, and feed her, and clean up her messes, pretty pleeeeez!”

Thus begins the haggling process, and the lecture on how much work a puppy can be, and counter offers of promises to clean the house, do the dishes, and take out the trash. Some of these kids are good, really good. You can see them honing their arguing skills at a young age, which will serve them well on the school debate club. Most of the time the parents win because this isn’t their first rodeo, and they have some skills of their own.

Problem with a pesky child? Use distraction as an easy fix. For example, “I know you want a puppy, but let’s walk around a bit. Hey, who wants to see the frogs? Oooh, how about the bugs? They even have turtles!”

And just like that, your kids will have themselves a cute little red-eared slider, who doesn’t take up too much space in the backyard pond. No poop bags required. Pretty sly mom and dad, pretty sly.


Even though ARF took mostly puppies to the Reptile show, we took a couple older dogs, too. One of them is Jon, an adorable poodle with button eyes and a head full of white curls. Jon is a senior dog who wasn’t as energetic as the pups, but had that great, easygoing manner that can sometimes be tough to find. He’s one of those sweet dogs who bides his time knowing, if he’s patient, the right person will come along. He was right, and his new owner was thrilled to pieces when she took him home. He will be living the good life, watching TV on the sofa, and brushing up on his medical jargon from Doctor Pol. Hey, who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

At the end of the Reptile/Pet Show, ARF had adopted out seventeen dogs! A fantastic number for us. At one point, it was just one dog after another who went home with their forever families. Including Willow, a tiny little puppy with a big heart, and now, a big family! All in all, a terrific success!

Willow and her new family

Thanks to everyone who came out and paid us a visit, even if it was just to give our dogs some love. And whether your pet is Lucy the Lizard or Dino the Dalmatian, we’ll see you next time around!

Reptiles and amphibians are sometimes thought of as primitive, dull, and dimwitted. In fact, of course, they can be lethally fast, spectacularly beautiful, surprisingly affectionate, and very sophisticated. —David Attenborough

Animal Rescue of Fresno
4545 E Dakota Ave.
Fresno, CA 93726

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section and check back every month for another animal rescue adventure from ARF. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue. We also have a pet Facebook group for KRL and we would love to have you join!

Wendy Hunter has been volunteering with ARF since 2014. She grew up in Fresno and has been an Office Assistant with Fresno County for 7 years. She has been writing all of her life, though never professionally, and currently writes personalized poetry for birthdays, weddings, pet remembrances, etc.


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